What Those Pimple-Like Bumps on Your Scalp Really Are

What Those Pimple-Like Bumps on Your Scalp Really Are

Zits are always unwelcome no matter where they pop up and are always annoying to deal with. We’re used to seeing them on our face and body but have you ever gotten them on your scalp? These types of zits are way more common than you think.

I asked the girls at kaia HQ if they had ever experienced scalp zits. Half of them admitted to getting them regularly but had never really looked into it. If there’s one good thing about scalp zits,  it’s that you don’t see them, which is probably why they don’t get talked about enough! But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them.


They’re More than Just Zits

Scalp zits are actually not zits, but an infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis.

Infection? Sounds really intense, but rest assured, dermatologists say they are very common and is something most of us may experience at some point in our lives.

Researchers from the National Center of Gerontology says it is very easy to misdiagnose folliculitis because it has very similar clinical symptoms to acne. In order to properly diagnose and treat, it’s important to know what they look like.


How Can You Tell If You Have Folliculitis?

These infections mimic acne but can become little pustules (small bumps that contain fluid or pus). If you feel a bump on your scalp, or have itchiness or soreness, part your hair away and try to get a good look at the area. If it’s on the back of your head, ask a loved one to help you take a look.  Look for small red acne-like bumps with a small ring of inflammation around the hair follicle. They can sometimes also look like a white-headed pimple around the hair follicle.


scalp zits treatment

Photo by Pixabay.


The Causes

According to a study conducted by the National Center of Gerontology, the most common cause of folliculitis is by staphylococcus aureus (S.a), a type of bacteria found on the scalp. Not only has staphylococcus aureus been proven to cause dandruff but it can also lead to infections when combined with oil on the scalp. A buildup of dead skin cells and excess sebum on the scalp can end up clogging the hair follicle and Staphylococcus bacteria thrives on that. The oilier your scalp is, the more bacteria there will be. Other causes of folliculitis can include viral, fungal, or yeast infections.


Here’s How to Avoid It

According to a medical journal by the University of Lübeck, lessening the load of staphylococci bacteria on the scalp is key to avoiding and treating folliculitis.

Controlling oil production on your scalp is also important in order to prevent the Staphylococcus bacteria from growing and causing infections.

Using an all-natural and aerosol-free dry shampoo overnight will help soak up excess oil on your scalp. However, avoid product build-up and clogging hair follicles by only using dry shampoo 1 to 2 times in between washes.


how to treat scalp pimples

Photo by Velizar Ivanov.


Here’s How to Treat It


1. Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

I know I say this often, but apple cider vinegar is a truly powerful natural ingredient that helps disinfect the scalp and restore healthy pH levels. Mix equal parts of water and ACV and massage through scalp then rinse.


2. Witch Hazel Toner

Spot treat using an astringent like witch hazel to help dry out the area using a cotton pad or cotton ball. Gently dab on the inflamed area and avoid rubbing the area.


3. Tea Tree Oil

has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help treat bacterial infections. Just add one drop of tea tree oil to your shampoo. Avoid using too much as it can cause further irritations.


4. Sea Salt Scrub

Gently exfoliating the scalp can reduce product buildup and dead skin cells. Try this easy DIY scalp scrub here.


5. Visit your doctor or dermatologist

If nothing seems to be working, you may need a prescription shampoo or a topical product.


Did you know about folliculitis? Have you experienced it before? Let us know your experience in the comments below.


Feature photo by Gabriela Pereira.

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How Co-Washing Saved My Bleach-Fried Hair

How Co-Washing Saved My Bleach-Fried Hair

heavy-metal-toxicity-detox-marissaI’m Marissa, the Wellness Manager at kaia naturals. Today I’m sharing with you my experience with co-washing and how I was able to train my hair to need less shampooing. I used to wash my hair every single day, but now I only wash it twice a week. Find out how I did it below.

Two summers ago, I bleached my hair using a box dye just before heading to Florida. I got distracted, left the bleach on a little too long, and my hair looked and felt like someone had put it the deep fryer – crispy and crunchy. Although I wouldn’t call this a blessing in disguise, frying my hair that summer would change how I would shower and wash my hair forever.

My hairdresser (who was appalled by the mess I made) told me the first step I had to do was stop shampooing every day, as that was stripping my hair even more. Motivated to nourish my hair back to a healthy state, I started researching how I could possibly go a day without washing my hair and not have greasy roots. I then discovered the “co-washing and dry shampoo method“.



Co-washing is when you skip the shampoo in your routine and only use conditioner or another moisturizing product so that you aren’t stripping your hair of its natural oils. This may sound odd, but here’s how it works. Scientifically speaking, like dissolves like, which means that oil will dissolve oil

The result? The oils/moisturizing agents in your conditioner will mildly dissolve and cleanse the oils on your hair, but will not strip the hair entirely of its natural oils like shampoo does. By skipping shampoo your hair will also, over time, stop overproducing oil and balance out its own oil production. Now just be cautious and avoid using conditioner near your roots as it could make your roots look really greasy. 

I found that the key to co-washing is rinsing your scalp with water VERY thoroughly. I get my fingers in there and will massage my scalp under running water until I feel like it’s squeaky clean. 

Photo by Amy Humphries




DAY 1: I would shampoo and condition like normal.


DAY 2: By the end of the day, I was itching to wash my hair again but with sheer determination I washed my hair using only conditioner (avoiding my roots so they didn’t become greasy).


DAY 3: This day was tough until I implemented dry shampoo, which was a total game changer. Instead of washing, I sprayed a natural dry shampoo into my roots before going to bed. This hair hack really works because when I wake up the next morning, the dry shampoo had enough time already to absorb the oil, sweat and odor from the previous day.

NOTE: Day 3 is the real hump you have to get through! Stay motivated and power through!


DAY 4: It was time to shampoo and condition again!  Whenever I have used dry shampoo, I like to use a scalp scrub to gently exfoliate my scalp and to avoid clogging my hair follicles.  


What I found after a few weeks of sticking to this routine was that my scalp became less greasy between every shampoo, and I couldn’t believe the time I was saving from not having to wash my hair every day. In just a few months after my bleaching mishap, my hair felt so much softer and even noticed my scalp was less dry and had less dandruff. The co-washing + dry shampoo method is a total life saver!

If you want to learn a few more tips on how to start washing your hair less, read more here.


The One Ingredient In Shampoo That Is Damaging Your Hair

The One Ingredient In Shampoo That Is Damaging Your Hair

This week, Mary decodes: Sulfates

Does your hair feel dry and straw-like, kind of like you put it in a deep fryer? It could be what’s in your shampoo. 

We all know that sudsy lather of shampoo that makes us feel like our shampoo is really working hard to leave our hair squeaky clean. What you may not know is that lather we’ve all grown to love is completely stripping our hair from its natural oils and nutrients.


ingredients in shampoo - photo by loreal paris - kaianaturals




Sulfates are harsh detergents made of sulfur-containing mineral salts. Here is why they work: Sulfates contain molecules that can attract oil and water – one side of the molecule attracts oil, while the other attracts water. This means that sulfates can loosen and lift oil and grime from your hair and dissolve it so it rinses out.



The problem is, sulfates are not selective in which oils they attract, meaning they will also attract, dissolve, and strip the good oils that our hair produces naturally to keep it in great condition.



The second problem is that this also refers to NATURAL sulfates! Although they are natural, they are still very damaging and strip oils as well. So even when using natural shampoo be sure to look for sulfate-free formulas.

This means you must get use to washing your hair without that lathering feeling sulfates give. This was one of the MOST difficult transitions I’ve had to make in my hair care regime. In the beginning you will miss the sudsy lather, until you notice the drastic changes in your hair health! After a few weeks of committing to a sulfate-free shampoo, my hair felt softer, more hydrated and my color lasted 3 times longer!


sulfates cause greasy hair - by zultan tombor - kaia naturals




To make matters worse, because sulfates strip the hair of its natural oils, your hair starts to think it must produce more oil to keep it from over drying. Within hours of washing your hair, with sudsy lather (although I know you love it), you start producing your own oil, which creates a vicious cycle which is hard to break. Click here for a guide on how and why you should wash your hair less.



The next time you’re out shopping for a new shampoo, take a look at the ingredients list.


Synthetic Sulfates to avoid:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
Sodium Lauroyl Isoethionate
Sodium Lauroyl Taurate
Sodium Cocoyl Isoethionate
Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isoethionate
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate
Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate


Natural Sulfates to avoid:

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Decyl Glucoside
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
Disodium Cocoamphodipropionate


sulfates in shampoo - by pantene - kaia naturals




Look for sulfate-free shampoo and use other ingredients to help clean your hair. There are natural cleansers that cleanse the hair, but don’t strip away our natural oils.


Some of these natural sulfate-free surfactants include:

Aloe Vera Gel (Aloe barbadensis leaf juice)
Avocado oil Persea gratissima
Coconut milk  (Cocos Nucifera Extract)
Green tea (Camellia Sinensis)
Lemon essential oil (Citrus Limonium (Lemon) Oil)

By switching to a sulfate free shampoo you will find less need to constantly wash your hair, as you won’t be stripping it of its natural oils. This especially helps fine hair, dry hair, and over processed hair. Also, using a nontoxic dry shampoo can help lengthen the times between washes. This will lead to much healthier hair in the long run!

What sulfate-free shampoos have you tried and worked for you? Comment below and share your recommendations!

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