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How To Prevent Scalp Acne

October 02, 2020

Taking your hair care into your own hands for the past year or more has probably gotten you pretty acquainted with your scalp. You’re likely noticing things that you didn’t before. And if small red bumps on your scalp is one of those things, you might be suffering from scalp acne? Acne in any form isn’t the most enjoyable skin concern to have to deal with, and scalp acne is no exception. While your hair may help cover the blemishes, you don’t want to be stuck with these breakouts forever. Fortunately, managing those pimples on your scalp all comes down to using the right hair care products, like a scalp acne shampoo. Ahead, get the 4-1-1 on what might be causing your scalp acne and potential treatments for it.


Before we get into scalp acne treatment options, it’s a good idea to know what causes scalp acne in the first place. Just as with acne on your face and other areas of your body, pimples on your scalp can have more than one cause. Here are a few common triggers.

1. Hormones

As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, according to the Mayo Clinic, during the teenage years, skin produces more oil, including on the scalp. This is a result of hormone changes due to puberty. The excess oil production in combination with dead skin cells and bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, can clog hair follicles and could result in acne, including scalp acne. And if you still have those overactive hormones beyond your teen years, you could still be suffering from those same effects, causing unwanted, pesky scalp pimples.

2. Oily hair 

The shine on your complexion and hair could be the culprit. Oily hair and skin, whether a result of hormone changes or not, could lead to scalp acne. The Mayo Clinic also states that acne occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells—including scalp acne. Those with oily hair may be more prone to scalp acne as a result.

3. Hair products 

If you’ve yet to consider that your hair products could be to blame for your scalp acne, it’s time you do so. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) explains that hair care products that contain oil may clog your pores, which could in turn lead to breakouts.


Now that you’re aware of some common causes of acne on your scalp, you’re probably curious about how you can help tackle it. Below are five tips that can help.


The Mayo Clinic recommends using an over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoo as a first step to tackling excess oil on the scalp. This type of shampoo is typically formulated with active ingredients like pyrithione zinc, salicylic acid, or selenium sulfide, per the Mayo Clinic. They suggest using one every other day or even daily, according to the product directions, to help tackle oil on the scalp, which could be a culprit behind scalp acne.

Consider swapping your regular shampoo for the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Scalp Care + Detox Shampoo, which helps manage scalp buildup and dandruff. Pair it with the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Scalp Care + Detox Conditioner


Over time, styling products and your hair care favorites can build up on your scalp—nobody’s perfect. The trick is to remove that buildup before it becomes an issue. Add the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Scalp Care + Detox Scrub to your wash day routine as a pre-poo treatment. Formulated with apricot seeds and menthol, it gently scrubs away impurities, flakes, product buildup, dirt and excess oils. Massage it into the scalp for a relaxing self-care moment when you wash your hair.


You love how your favorite serum makes your hair look, but you have to consider whether it may be doing your scalp a disservice. Like we mentioned, oily hair products can lead to a buildup of oils on the scalp, which in turn could contribute to scalp breakouts. The AAD recommends stopping the use of products with oil or pomades, which can clog pores, if you’re noticing pimples emerging on your scalp.


By now, you understand that scalp buildup can lead to pimples. The same way you wouldn’t let sweat sit on your face after an intense workout, don’t let it sit on your scalp either. Instead, either wash your hair as soon as possible or apply a dry shampoo to help absorb oil. The L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Air Volume Dry Shampoo will refresh your mane without leaving behind white residue.


If over-the-counter products don’t work, the Mayo Clinic suggests booking an appointment with your dermatologist or primary care provider. They will be able to determine if other products, like prescription shampoos or a prescription-strength topical antibiotic, are needed. You also want to rule out the possibility of folliculitis or another skin condition that could worsen or cause serious discomfort if left untreated. 

Photo Credit: Chaunte Vaughn

Next: What Acne Between Eyebrows Really Means

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