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How To Get Rid Of Pimples On The Scalp

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How To Get Rid Of Pimples On The Scalp June 11, 2018

As if having an itchy scalp wasn’t enough, you also come across a few stubborn and crusty pimples when you run your comb through your hair. And to add to your horror, you also see a series of prominent red bumps lining up your hairline. Such a scenario is not uncommon, especially if you have oily skin and scalp. Scalp acne might also pain, itch, crust, and ooze. So, what could you possibly do about it? Well, following a few simple home remedies and prevention tips will help you get rid of pimples on the scalp to a great extent. Keep reading to know more.

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What Causes Pimples On The Scalp?

The cause of all pimples is the same – clogged pores or hair follicles. This clogging usually occurs when dead skin cells, bacteria, or your skin’s sebum enter the pores.

The microorganisms responsible for causing inflammation and pimples are:

  • Staphylococcus epidermidis
  • Propionibacterium acnes ( acnes)
  • Fungus
  • Mites

Other factors that can cause the pores in your scalp to clog and form pimples include:

  • Product build-up from certain shampoos or other hair products
  • Not washing your hair regularly or poor scalp hygiene
  • Not washing or waiting too long to wash your hair after an intense workout
  • Wearing a hat, helmet, or other equipment that causes friction against your scalp

These are some of the major factors that cause pimples on your scalp.

Just like the acne on your face and other body parts, the pimples on your scalp are of different types. Listed below are some of the common types of scalp acne.

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Types Of Scalp Acne

The acne on the scalp mostly occurs near the hairline. Although it can occur on other areas of your scalp, the incidence is lesser as compared to the hairline (and also less prominent).

The acne on your scalp also varies in appearance. It may be:

  • Mild – blackheads and whiteheads
  • Moderate – papules and pustules that often occur on the skin’s surface
  • Severe – nodules and cysts that are often embedded within the skin

More severe cases of scalp acne, such as acne necrotica and dissecting cellulitis, may cause blackened crusts on your scalp that leave behind permanent scars.

Scalp acne may seem harmless initially, but it can actually result in serious consequences like severe pain, hair loss, and even balding. So, it is better not to delay treating the condition. The following is a list of safe and effective natural remedies to help you get rid of the pimples on your scalp.

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How To Get Rid Of Scalp Acne Naturally

  1. Tea Tree Oil
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar
  5. Neem Leaves
  6. Baking Soda
  7. Fenugreek
  8. Garlic
  9. Lemon Juice
  10. Jojoba Oil
  11. Vitamins
  12. Yogurt

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Home Remedies To Treat Scalp Acne

1. Tea Tree Oil

1. Tea Tree Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 6-7 drops of tea tree oil
  • A conditioner
What You Have To Do
  1. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo.
  2. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your regular conditioner and spread it evenly along your hair strands.
  3. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse it off.
  4. Alternatively, you can also mix tea tree oil with any carrier oil and massage it into your scalp before shampooing.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 3 to 4 times a week.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil possesses wonderful anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve acne. Its antimicrobial properties help in destroying the microbes that may be causing the acne (1).

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2. Coconut Oil

2. Coconut Oil Pinit

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You Will Need

Virgin coconut oil (as required)

What You Have To Do
  1. Take some virgin coconut oil in a bowl and apply it evenly to your scalp and hair strands.
  2. Leave it on for at least an hour and wash off with a mild shampoo.
  3. You can also add tea tree essential oil to the coconut oil for added benefits.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least 1 to 2 times a week.

Why This Works

Coconut oil exhibits anti-inflammatory, analgesic, as well as antimicrobial properties – all of which work against scalp acne (2), (3). They not only offer relief from acne symptoms but also speed up healing.

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3. Aloe Vera

3. Aloe Vera Pinit

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You Will Need

Freshly extracted aloe gel

What You Have To Do
  1. Take an aloe vera leaf and extract the gel.
  2. Apply it directly to the affected areas on the scalp.
  3. Leave it on for about 30 minutes before wiping it off.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily or every alternate day until the acne disappears.

Why This Works

Aloe vera is widely used for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties (4), (5). It is an effective anti-acne home remedy that helps in reducing acne and relieves inflammation.

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4. Apple Cider Vinegar

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • A few drops of tea tree oil (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. To one and a half cups of water, add half a cup of apple cider vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil.
  2. After you have washed your hair with a mild shampoo, use the apple cider vinegar mixture as the last rinse, concentrating on your scalp.
  3. Air dry your hair.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this every time you wash your hair, preferably 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

The acidic nature of apple cider vinegar restores the pH of your scalp. This, in turn, speeds up the healing of scalp acne. Apple cider vinegar also disinfects your scalp and prevents future breakouts with its antimicrobial properties (6), (7).

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5. Neem Leaves

5. Neem Leaves Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A handful of neem leaves
  • 2 cups of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a handful of neem leaves to two cups of water.
  2. Bring this mixture to a boil in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture and allow the water to cool.
  4. Use the neem infused water to give your hair a final rinse after you are done shampooing and conditioning it.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

Neem is a natural antiseptic that displays impressive antibacterial and antifungal activities. These actions help in combating the microbes causing the scalp acne (8).

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6. Baking Soda

6. Baking Soda Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of water.
  2. Mix well and apply it all over your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and then rinse it off.
  4. Follow up with a conditioner.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times every week.

Why This Works

Baking soda helps in absorbing the excess sebum from your scalp, thereby keeping your scalp pores clean (9). It also removes any product build-up in your hair or scalp that may be causing the acne.

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7. Fenugreek

7. Fenugreek Pinit

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You Will Need
  • ½ cup of fenugreek seeds
  • 2 cups of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix half a cup of fenugreek seeds and two cups of water.
  2. Leave this overnight.
  3. The next morning, strain the fenugreek mixture.
  4. Use the water to rinse your hair after a bath.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

Fenugreek seeds have anti-inflammatory properties (10). They help in treating the condition by reducing the inflammation and redness of the existing acne. The antimicrobial properties of fenugreek seeds help prevent future breakouts.

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8. Garlic

8. Garlic Pinit

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You Will Need

Freshly minced garlic

What You Have To Do
  1. Take some peeled garlic cloves and mince them.
  2. Apply the freshly minced garlic to the affected areas on your scalp and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Wash it off.
  4. You can also leave it on overnight.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

Garlic is known to exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities (11), (12). Hence, it can be used to get rid of the inflamed pimples on your scalp.

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9. Lemon Juice

9. Lemon Juice Pinit

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You Will Need
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Extract the juice of half a lemon and add a tablespoon of water to it.
  2. Mix well and apply this mixture all over your scalp.
  3. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes, after which you can wash it off.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

Lemon juice is bactericidal and anti-inflammatory, which make it one of the best remedies to treat scalp acne (13), (14). It can fight the microbes that have clogged your pores, thus reducing acne.

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10. Onion Juice

10. Onion Juice Pinit

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You Will Need

1 peeled onion

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a peeled onion and extract the juice.
  2. Rub the onion extract on your scalp, concentrating on the areas with the pimples.
  3. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Wash the juice off with a mild cleanser.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this every alternate day.

Why This Works

Onions are rich sources of compounds like selenium and sulfur. These compounds can fight infections that cause scalp acne with their antibacterial activities (15).

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11. Jojoba Oil

11. Jojoba Oil Pinit

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You Will Need

Jojoba oil (as required)

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply a little jojoba oil evenly to your scalp and hair.
  2. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes before washing it off with a mild cleanser.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times in a week.

Why This Works

Jojoba oil keeps your scalp moisturized and cleanses your skin pores. The antibacterial nature of jojoba oil combats the acne-causing microbes and prevents scalp breakouts (16), (17).

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12. Vitamins

12. Vitamins Pinit

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Vitamins A, C, and D are great to treat scalp acne. They not only enhance the health of your skin but also reduce inflammation within your body (18), (19), (20), (21). This, in turn, reduces scalp acne. These vitamins also exhibit antimicrobial properties that fight the microbial infections causing the acne.

You can get more of these vitamins by consuming foods like citrus fruits, spinach, kale, fish, almonds, milk, cheese, carrots, turnip, and avocados.

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13. Yogurt

13. Yogurt Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1-2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
  • Cotton balls
What You Have To Do
  1. Dip a cotton ball in plain yogurt.
  2. Apply it directly to the affected areas.
  3. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse your hair with a mild cleanser.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times a week.

Why This Works

Yogurt contains zinc, which makes it a great remedy for treating scalp acne. Zinc not only kills the acne-causing bacteria but also relieves the signs of inflammation (22), (23).

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Getting rid of the pimples on your scalp is not sufficient. Even though the above remedies will give you excellent results, there is always the risk of recurrence. So, make a few changes to your diet and lifestyle, and you can bid goodbye to your acne problems forever. Listed below are some tips that can help in preventing the recurrence of scalp acne.

Prevention Tips

  • Follow a healthy and well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your intake of carbohydrates.
  • Avoid using comedogenic products on your hair and scalp.
  • Wear loose-fitting headgear to allow the scalp to breathe.
  • Keep a check on your diet and note down the foods that cause acne flare-ups.
  • Wash your hair soon after an intense workout.
  • Keep your hair and scalp always clean.

Once you have followed these remedies and tips, just sit back and watch the pimples on your scalp vanish in no time.

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Got any more questions regarding scalp acne? Post them in the comments box below.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

How to reduce scalp irritation and itching?

To get rid of an itchy scalp, you can use anti-inflammatory oils like tea tree oil or coconut oil.

Does scalp acne cause hair loss?

If your scalp acne is a result of inflammation of your hair follicles, it can cause hair loss. In more severe cases, it can also leave bald spots on your scalp.

How long do pimples take to heal?

A pimple without a white bump in the center usually heals in 2 to 7 days, whereas, the pimples with a white spot in the center take about 1 to 1 ½ weeks to heal completely.

What are the best shampoos for acne on the scalp?

Shampoos that contain ingredients like zinc, tea tree oil, and salicylic acid work great for scalp acne.

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