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Help! I Have a Pimple on My Scalp—Now What?

Flaky scalp and dandruff remedies you’re probably well-versed in, but when it comes to a scalp pimple, the solution may not be as straightforward as a Google search. Interestingly enough, the kinds of oils you use could be the culprit for scalp acne. Here to lay down the facts about scalp pimples is board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare Dr. Purvisha Patel. Ahead, Dr. Patel shares her tips for avoiding scalp acne and how to treat scalp pimples. She even details how to remove scalp pimples, so scroll below for her expert advice!

Woman brushing away blonde hair to hide a pimple on her scalp
(via Unsplash)

What Causes Pimples on the Scalp?

Follicle infections, or scalp pimples, are caused by four things: follicular occlusion, oil production or adding edible oils, bacteria or fungal growth, and inflammation. As mammals, we are covered with hair follicles. Hair follicle infections can occur anywhere on the body. They tend to get worse on the scalp because we cannot see them and they are covered with hair. People who have curly, long, or frizzy hair that use edible oils for haircare get these more as bacteria and fungus grow more in warm, hot environments.

What Should You Avoid Doing?

If massaging pops the pimple, then the bacteria/fungus can spread to adjacent follicles so avoid the area of the scalp pimple. You can still use styling products at the root, but do not use edible products. Coconuts, olives, argan, and the like feed the problem. Dry shampoo is fine, but wash at least every two to three days until the area is better. Brush around the area, not directly over it, to avoid spreading bacteria.

How to Treat Scalp Pimples

Drying the area with an astringent can help decrease the oil component. Antibiotic ointment also helps decrease infection. Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide cream can help as well as tea tree oil. See a dermatologist who is an MD trichologist if the scalp blemish gets worse after 48 hours—if there is a lot of pain, if there is drainage, or if you have a fever.

If you want a healthy scalp, eat THESE seven snacks!

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