Most hair follicles in the body contain sebaceous glands, which produce oil to keep the skin soft. Normally, the oil released by the sebaceous glands travels to the surface of the skin. When the hair follicle becomes blocked, the oil can't move freely to the surface. The plugged hair follicle can become infected with bacteria, which causes the area to become red and swollen.
Serious acne cases
In more serious cases of acne, the infection can spread out to the surrounding skin. Cysts and postules, which are red bumps that have a white or yellow head, can affect any part of the scalp. The fact that the person has hair on his or her head means that it may be easier to hide the fact that the individual has scalp acne.
The products that a person uses on his or her hair can also lead to scalp acne breakouts. A number of items used to style and manage hair contain oil, and using them only compounds the problem of an overabundance of sebum on the skin and a buildup of oil on the scalp.
You might not know you have it
Since the scalp acne can be disguised by the hair, it is possible to have this skin condition and be unaware of it. The skin on the scalp may appear uneven or have red bumps on it. If the condition becomes more serious and escalates to inflamed scalp acne, the affected areas will be painful to the touch. If left untreated, inflamed acne can lead to scarring and bald patches on the scalp.
A mild case of scalp acne will probably resolve on its own. You can help the process along by washing your hair regularly with a mild shampoo. Resist the urge to scrub the scalp hard or to pick at any pimples or blackheads that you find along the hairline. Doing this can irritate the skin further and lead to scarring.
How to treat it
A common treatment for acne is to use a product containing benzoyl peroxide. The issue with using products containing this ingredient for treating scalp acne is that it can bleach hair that it comes into contact with. A better choice for people who have concerns about acne breakouts on their scalp is to get some professional help.
Anyone who is concerned about his or her scalp acne should make an appointment for a consultation with a dermatologist. The doctor can evaluate the skin condition and suggest an appropriate treatment plan for dealing with it. Severe cases of scalp acne may need to be treated with an oral or a topical antibiotic. For less severe scalp acne, the dermatologist can suggest an appropriate remedy as well. Other resources