Scalp Acne Treatment: Topical Options and Prevention Tips

Scalp pimples may not be a problem for everybody. However, the can be as annoying and painful as face or back pimples. The problem is that scalp acne treatment can be trickier since the pimples are covered by hair.

The good news is that they are hidden, thus making them less unpleasant than the pimples on face. Treating scalp acne needs careful consideration. Using natural oils is not recommended, as they can worsen the pimples and lead to formation of new ones.

Using homemade remedies for scalp acne may not help much. Homemade remedies usually require you to apply paste onto the skin surface. They can be difficult to apply on your scalp. If not properly chosen and applied, the homemade remedies can even affect your hair health and growth.

Scalp Acne Treatment: What to Apply

Using topical products can be the right way to treat scalp acne. The following are some recommended products as scalp acne treatment options to try at home:

Benzoyl Peroxide

As with cat acne treatment, benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient used to treat scalp acne. It is widely available in the form of acne lotions or acne washes. Benzoyl peroxide is effective in killing bacteria that clog the scalp pores and form pimples. It is also useful in removing dead skin cells and excess oils from the scalps, thus minimizing the risk for acne formation.

It must be noted, however, that benzoyl peroxide is also associated with some possible adverse effects, such as bleached hair and clothing. Other possible side effects include redness, skin scaling, dry skin, and burning sensation. Therefore, make sure to use products with appropriate benzoyl peroxide concentration, usually varying from 2.5% to 10%.

Salicylic Acid

This is another popular ingredients for topical scalp acne treatment. It is widely used in facial washes and lotions. Salicylic acid works by preventing pore clogging and even unclogging the pores, shrinking the pimples, and preventing formation of new ones.

You can opt for over-the-counter topical treatment that contains from 0.5 percent to 5 percent of salicylic acid. Use of strong over-the-counter topical may lead to side effects, such as mild stinging sensation and skin irritation.


Antibiotics are popular ingredients used in how to treat scalp acne. They are the options for severe acne breakout. Antibiotics are effective in treating the existing pimples and prevention the formation of new ones.‚Äč

You may opt for topical antibiotics, such as clindamycin and erythromycin. As discussed in a previous post on antibiotics for acne treatment, use them along with benzoyl peroxide to minimize the risk for resistance.

Oral antibiotics can be the solution for moderate to severe acne breakout. They work by killing bacteria that cause acne and reducing inflammation resulting from acne. The most popular oral antibiotics for scalp acne are tetracyclines.

How to Treat Scalp Acne and Prevent It

Besides treating the scalp acne using the right product, prevention is another important point. The following are some tips on how to treat scalp acne and prevent its breakout:

  • Use shampoo every day. Washing your hair once in few days may not be effective if you have scalp acne. This is particularly the case when you can oily hair type. Daily shampooing can remove excess oils that may clog the scalp pore and lead to pimples.
  • Avoid using conditioner. Conditioner may lead to trapping of oil on the scalp, since it moisturizes your hair.
  • Avoid using hairstyling products. See whether this tip works for you. However, if you need to use them, make sure not apply them too close to the hairline. Use water-based products with non-comedogenic label.
  • Reduce the use of hair cap, hat, or helmet. This is important to let your scalp breathe.
  • If your hair is too thick or too long, consider cutting it.

Those are some important tips to promote scalp acne treatment. Make sure to maintain your hair cleanness and health properly, thus reducing the chance for bacterial infection and formation of pimples.

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