Scalp Acne: How to get rid of it?


Scalp acne is one of those skin conditions that sneak up on you and develop without your knowledge. Unless you have short hair, this can become a fairly hidden condition until it reaches its advanced stages of development. However, clear indicators of scalp acne do exist in the form of itching, pain and leading to hair loss. The causes of scalp acne are similar to that of regular acne.

How Does Scalp Acne Occur?

There are pores on the skin known as sebaceous glands, which generally produce an oily substance called sebum. It gives the skin the oily sheen and a glow when healthy. However, such pores have chances of getting clogged when they produce excessive amounts of sebum, and infection at this point is the sole cause for acne of all forms.

Factors That Can Cause Scalp Acne

  • There are many possible triggers for this happening, and in the case of scalp acne, people with naturally oily hair are most prone to developing it. If the clogged pores in hair follicles aren’t clean, they can swell up due to infection and prove to be extremely painful and irritating. 
  • Hormones, in particular, are capable of being the reason for scalp acne, especially if you are an adolescent, pregnant or going through menopause.
  • Although we have no influence over hormonal changes, certain factors like emotional stress are still within our control (to an extent) and are also reasons for acne. 
  • The environmental conditions in which you reside can significantly affect the formation and recurrence of acne. For instance, hot and humid climates increase the chances of acne formation. 
  • Even pollution, which exposes you to more dirt and chemicals, can lead to scalp acne. 

Does Scalp Acne Cause Hair Loss?

Since such infections and acne happen due to clogged hair follicles, it is natural to experience hair loss with scalp acne. There are particular bacteria and microorganisms which exist on the scalp that are responsible for such infections. While propionibacterium acne (p acnes) exists mainly on the skin’s surface, Staphylococcus epidermidis and fungus are sometimes more specific to the scalp.

How to Get Rid of Scalp Acne?

Keep Your Scalp Clean

The easiest way to prevent scalp acne is to ensure that your scalp remains clean without any build-up, dirt and bacteria. Wash your hair regularly with shampoo that’s suitable for your hair type. It can effectively get rid of dirt and bacteria from the scalp and reduce the chances of infections occurring. However, avoid over washing because it can lead to dandruff, scaly scalp and scars. 

Keep Your Hands-off From Your Scalp

Avoid Scratching or picking the pimples on your scalp as it can cause skin irritation and further aggravate the condition. If it is super itchy, maybe a better option would be to press the area to get relief from the itch. 

Avoid Hair Products That Are Greasy & Oily

For those with scalp acne, it is best to stay away from oily and greasy hair products. Certain oils, deep conditioning and repair treatments can do more harm than good. Hence, avoid using them. Anything that adds extra oil to your already oily scalp is not a good idea. 


If you experience hair loss or notice other issues, you should consult a dermatologist as soon as possible. According to your condition, your doctor may recommend oral medications, isotretinoin, topical antibiotics, physical extractions, light therapy etc. 

Summing Up

Since sebum production and the build-up of bacteria are pretty unpredictable, it is tough to cure scalp acne once and for all. However, with precautions and proper care, it is possible to prevent the appearance of scalp acne. The reasons for the occurrence of pimples on your scalp can vary for each individual. If your acne doesn’t subside by itself, reach out to a dermatologist. 



1. Which is the best shampoo for scalp acne?

Several shampoos that are created explicitly for this issue are available these days, but it would be better to speak to a doctor before using any of these products. 

2. Is coconut oil good for scalp acne?

Ideally, coconut oil or any other oil aids in moisturising your scalp and hair. However, things can go haywire if you are already dealing with scalp acne. There are chances that it can worsen your condition. 

3. Can shampoo lead to breakouts?

Yes, using a shampoo that’s unsuitable for your hair type and condition can cause breakouts on your scalp. 

4. Does egg cause acne?

The evidence related to this is minimal and insufficient. We would need more research on this topic to make any claims. 





Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.