This week, Mary decodes: Scalp pimples.
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.
PHOTO BY ODION KUTSAEV.
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.
PHOTO BY KELLY SIKKEMA.
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.
PHOTO BY PATRICK MALLERET.
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