Home > Pimple causes > Pimples on Scalp Causes, Small, Red, Itchy, Painful, Under Hair, In Babies, Treatments and Preventions

Pimples on Scalp Causes, Small, Red, Itchy, Painful, Under Hair, In Babies, Treatments and Preventions

Pimples are skin disorders that affect the hair follicles and commonly appear on the face but can also be seen on scalp, chest, back, breast, and neck among other body parts. This condition is common during teenage years but can also occur in adulthood or later in your life.

Now, what causes pimples on scalp and how can they be identified? Who is vulnerable to scalp pimples and how can they be treated? Go through this articles for more information.

pimples on scalp
pimples on scalp

What causes pimples on scalp and their symptoms

The formation of pimples on head scalp is just a similar process to formation of pimples in other parts of the body.

Usually, sebaceous gland, which are situated deep into the skin, is connected to a hair follicle and secrets sebum. Sebum secreted by sebaceous glands flows through the follicles to reach the skin surface and hydrate the skin. These his is a normal process of ensuring your skin is supple, hydrated and functioning normally.

Now, how do pimples form? Well, pimples normally develop following combination of three factors and these are:

  • Overproduction of sebum by sebaceous glands
  • Pores getting clogged
  • Canonization of bacteria that may triggering inflammation hence the body immune system sends white blood cells to fight the bacteria

When hair follicle get blocked, they enlarge to form a small lump. When the lump rupture, the bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) will be allowed deep into the follicles. It will reproduce their rapidly leading to inflammation in the follicle.

painful bumps under the scalp skin
painful bumps under the scalp skin

Again, when the follicles are clogged near the surface, there may be development of whiteheads and blackheads while deeper blockage lead to pustules, nodules and cysts (under the skin pimples).

Next, we have to look at several factors that contribute to formation of scalp pimples. These factors influence the formation of pimples on scalp by either enhancing sebum production or clogging the hair follicles and hence attracting bacteria to cause inflammation. Below are the factors that contribute to the formation pimples on your scalp:

Overproduction of body oils (sebum)

Because body oils (sebum) plays a great role in formation of pimples, when their production are increased, the chances of pores being clogged is also high. There are several factors that can enhance over-production of body oils. Examples include hormones, genetics, certain medications and more.

Hormonal changes and scalp pimples

One of the major reason why you may suffer head pimples is the fluctuation of body hormones. This commonly occur during menopause, before and during periods or during pregnancy. As a result, your body will react by over producing sebum.

For adolescents, which is the most susceptible group, the development of pimples on various parts of their body is linked to the beginning of puberty. During this stage, the activities of the oils producing glands are increased leading to clogged pores and hence attracting bacterial infection. This will influence reproduction of pathogenic micro flora inside the follicles leading to inflammation

Greasy scalp and scalp acne

Medical experts and researchers have showed that oily hair or skin can greatly influence the formation of scalp pimples. When scalp stay oily, it will lead to plugged pores after some time. The condition can be more serious for those bearing excessively oily skin. If excess sebum is not treated or well cleaned, breakout on scalp may take course. This condition can also lead to bumps on scalp under hair.

Scalp Folliculitis

When you suffer inflamed pimples on scalp, bear in mind that, it could be a sign of scalp folliculitis, a condition caused when hair follicle is damaged by mites, bacteria or fungus invasion. This condition is more common among people having extra oily scalp.

Mild case of scalp folliculitis will banish of their own but severe cases such boils, scarring and follicle damages will require doctor`s intervention.

Pimples on head scalp after shaving

Shaving your head hair, can also lead to pimples like bumps on on your scalp. This may also trigger razor bumps especially when right and proper shaving techniques is not considered. Shaving the wrong direction, shaving using blunt or improper tools are just some of the reasons that may sprung pimples on the head. The poor techniques triggers ingrown hairs which can cause scalp zits

Eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis cause pimple scalp

Eczema and psoriasis are skin disorders that manifest themselves through inflamed pimples. Eczema in particular is associated with dry itchy skin on scalp due to dandruff. Eczema pimples are triggered by excessive sebum which encourages overgrowth of some skin fungus cells resulting to scalp pimples.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis can cause small pimples or bumps on scalp. The bumps may spread to others parts e.g. elbows, knees, back, bottoms and shoulder

Skin cancer

Skin cancer on scalp can have various symptoms varying among different persons. It can show up as black lesions or pink waxy bumps. Oozing scalp pimples could just be an indication of presence of cancers on your scalp.

Other factors that contributes to scalp pimples includes:

Pimples at the back of scalp
Pimples at the back of scalp
  • Stress and depression
  • Dairy products
  • Hot, humid conditions
  • Environmental factors, such as pollution can also influence pimples occurrence
  • Certain medication involving application of drugs such as corticosteroids, lithium, and estrogen or Treatments involving androgen
  • Friction or pressure, as a result of wearing caps and helmets.
  • Hair products such as hair care oils and gels have the potential to cause blocked pores
  • HIV and lupus can also trigger pimples on the back of the scalp
  • Hair braiding or extensions

Pimples on scalp have several manifestations or symptoms. Mild variations may just signalize another thigh altogether. Pimples on scalp have different shapes, colors, sizes and also different meaning a well as triggers.  So below are the variations or types and meaning of these head bumps or zits:

Small pimples on scalp

Small raised scalp bumps usually forms due to one or another of the factors mentioned above. The small pimples may be red, yellow or white accompanied by headache or pain.

Small bumps on your scalp can just disappear of their own but sometimes, the opposite may also happen. This could mean something serious such as cancer, baldness or hair loss. See your doctor immediately for prevalent small pimples on your scalp.

Itchy Red pimples on scalp

red and itchy scalp pimple
red and itchy scalp pimple

This may signalize the infestation of scalp lice. As they pierce your scalp to feed on your blood, the head scalp may develop itchy small and hard lumps on your scalp. Such bumps are not usually painful to touch.

Itchy pimples can also be influenced by stress, allergy response among other factors. They are usually presence without dandruff.

Sore or Painful pimples on scalp

Pimples on scalp that are inflamed can be very painful to touch. They include pustules, nodules and cysts. These types of pimples form deeper in the skin hence can be large and severe. Formation of such pimples on head begin with scratching or combing your hair. This will attract bacterial infection into the tissues triggering reddening, pain, soreness as well as scalp scab formation.

Such pimples can be filled with pus and turn into boils which can be life-threatening. “With time, they are likely to ooze a liquid, dry and form crusts or scabs that may bleed from time to time especially if you scratch them.” [treatcurefast.com]

Stopping activities such as rough combing, braiding or plating may help to limit the severity of these worrisome pimples.

Non-Itchy scalp bumps

There are also scalp pimples, which don’t itch. These form when the bacterial infection is not attracted to cause inflammation. Non-itchy pimples are blackheads and whitehead pimples. They are considered mild forms of acne but must be given keen examination.

Bumps on scalp under hair

Sometimes scalp bumps cannot be visible due to the fact that your thick hair may be concealing them. You may only feel them during shampooing, hair styling, when you comb or scratch your hair.

Some bumps do not only appear under the scalp hair but also occur below the scalp skin. There are several reasons behind this. Livingstrong.com states that, “Skin conditions that cause bumps on other areas of your body may also cause bumps to form on your scalp; however, certain conditions affect the scalp more than other locations”.

Commonly factor that can influence development of pimples under scalp hair are lice infestation as well as psoriasis. There are linked symptoms that may help your notice the presence of pimples under the scalp skin, i.e. they may feel hard and painful to touch. It would be therefore a good idea to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and therapies

Scalp pimples in toddlers, babies, Newborns

Almost ¼ of newborn suffers a skin disorder called baby acne. This is due to the presence of residual maternal hormones which was present during pregnancy and extended to the first stages of the baby`s life. Listed below are the reason that can trigger scalp pimples among toddlers:

  • Heat rash
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Eczema
  • Yeast infection

Whenever your baby fall a victim of baby acne on scalp, don’t treat the condition at home. Visit your doctor for effective diagnosis and treatment.

Warning: popping your baby`s scalp pimple or applying astringent or strong topical solutions to cure the disorder is dangerous. Your baby`s skin is still weak and may be very sensitive!

Pimples on scalp treatment and home remedies

If you suffer the previous discussed scalp pimples symptoms, then below are treatment that will help you get rid of such scalp bumps?

a)      Scalp pimples shampoo

Zit on scalp from ringworm
Zit on scalp from ringworm

Shampoos containing sulfide or salicylic acid can be very effective in getting rid of those itchy bumps on your scalp especially caused by ringworms. For effective result, combine medicated shampoo and anti-fungal medications as well as better hygiene practices. Do not share combs and brushes with other persons.

For bumps due to seborrhea dermatitis, tar based shampoos can be the right tool. Get your doctor to do shampoo prescription for you.

Best pimple shampoos

  • Menscience Daily Shampoo
  • Kiehl’s tea tree oil shampoo
  • Jason tea tree oil scalp normalizing shampoo

b)      Topical and Oral Antibiotics

In case of infections, your doctor may prescribe topical antibiotics to cure pimples caused by folliculitis. To stop itching, red bumps on scalp, use steroid based creams. Oral antibiotics can be appropriate for severe pimples but be aware, they have dreadful side effects. Don’t apply them without prescription.

c)      Isotretinoin

This kind of medication is employed for severe and persistent pimples or acnes. This is a strong medications that has very serious effects such as infertility. They are only applied where other treatment are barely effective.

Apart from the above treatments, you doctor may also prescribe anti-androgen agents, combined oral contraceptives, aczone as well as retinoids.

d)      Home remedies for scalp pimples

For less severe scalp pimples that may not require doctor`s intervention, you can employ natural home remedies. Below are some of the top-rated home remedies that will assist you get rid of scalp pimples:

tea tree oil for scalp pimples
tea tree oil for scalp pimples
  • Application of tea tree oil
  • Application cider vinegar
  • Application of Aloe vera
  • Application of coconut oils

How to prevent Pimples on Scalp

Some ways of getting rid of scalp pimples may seem to be more of behavioral changes than medical procedures. So under this section, we are going to highlight some of the behavioral changes that would help you to reduce or get rid of scalp pimples.

  • Regularly washing your head to avoid dead skin cells accumulation and building up of sebum in scalp hair
  • Do not strain your hair too much when wearing braids or extension
  • Restrain from putting on caps or helmets on your head but if it is a must, make sure you wash them regularly
  • Follow correct procedures when shaving your scalp hear
  • Avoid exposing yourself in sun for longer period
  • Avoid polluted environment
  • Take a bathe immediately after doing an exercise or anything that made you sweat
  • Watch also on your diet
  • Be close to your doctor and let him/her know the onset of any pimples symptom

In summary, pimples on the scalp are usually mild but can be very dreadful when allowed to thrive. So well should respond promptly to any symptom of scalp pimples. Note that, over the counter products or home remedies should only be applied for mild forms of pimples but still doctor`s intervention is required. For pimples triggered by certain diseases, the best remedy will be solving the linked diseases first.

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Our List of Reference
  1. Small Painful Pimples on Scalp, Hairline& How to Get Rid of Scalp Bumps, Pimples: http://www.treatcurefast.com/pimples/scalp-pimples/pimple-on-scalp-causes-small-painful-itchy-treat-get-rid-scalp-pimples/
  2. Itchy Bumps on Scalp, Small, Red, Painful Causes & Treatment: http://hair.knowfacts.org/itchy-scalp/itchy-bumps-on-scalp-small-red-painful-causes-treatment/
  3. Causes of Red, Painful Bumps on the Scalp: http://www.livestrong.com/article/189902-causes-of-red-painful-bumps-on-the-scalp/

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