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‘Scalp Acne’ is A Real Thing, So Here’s How To Know If You Have It
By Nikolina Ilic | Jun 24, 2021
As if acne on our faces wasn’t enough to worry about, enter ‘Scalp Acne’, a form of acne that appears – you guessed it – on your scalp. For anyone that might have suffered acne before this isn’t great news, but never fear because it can be treated. We consult Grow’s Hair Stylist Belinda Keeley from Chumba Concept Salon to find out exactly what Scalp Acne is, why it occurs and how to eliminate it.
What is scalp acne?
Scalp Acne is a term that refers to pimples that appear on the scalp, typically occurring when a pore or hair follicle gets clogged by dead skin cells, product build up or excess sebum. For people with long hair or a lot of hair it can be harder to spot, although for many people they still want to treat it.
Why does it occur?
Similar to acne on your face, scalp acne can appear for a variety of reasons ranging from hormonal imbalances, stress, foods and reactions to products used. Unfortunately things like hormonal imbalances can be tricky to manage, but managing things like diet and stress are possible!
There is one common culprit that can be managed quite easily – product build up. Many people don’t realise that the products they use can actually be the cause of Scalp Acne. Over time, products can build up on the scalp, whether it’s shampoo, conditioner, hair spray or other hair styling products, they can leave excess residue or a film on the scalp. This product build up can be a culprit for Scalp Acne because it can cause pores or hair follicles to become clogged.
Why does it seem like it’s happening more now?
Thanks to COVID-19, many people have experienced additional stress or changes in their haircare routine which unfortunately can cause Scalp Acne. If you imagine that the skin on your scalp is very similar to the skin on your face, then it becomes a little easier to understand. Anything that disrupts the skin, such as stress, can cause changes in the skin on your scalp.
It’s no surprise science has found that stress can be highly associated with acne, mixing up our skin’s nerve signals, causing hormonal imbalances and chemicals that increase oil production. Add to that, changes in people’s haircare routine as a result of being in lock down or working from home.
This means that many people are likely to wash and style their hair differently (or not at all). A working from home routine could mean that people are washing their hair less (or even more) and both these things can cause issues with the scalp. Washing their hair less can of cause sebum or dirt to build up on the scalp and washing the hair too much can cause excess sebum production.
How can we treat scalp acne?
Treating Scalp Acne successfully really depends on the cause however the best way to approach it is via elimination. Firstly, work out whether it could be the products you’re using, or product build up. Given that product build up is a common cause, invest in a scalp scrub.
Allowing for a deep exfoliation of the scalp, it will remove excess sebum, dead skin cells and product build up to allow our natural oils to keep the hair and scalp nourished and healthy. Grow’s Stimulating Scalp Scrub is a great option because it detoxes, refreshes and restores balance to the scalp, making way for fuller, shinier and healthier hair. What’s more, its formulation can help with hair thinning and shedding, by helping to unclog hair follicles.
Many people don’t realise that over time the build-up of products, residue and sebum can clog our hair follicles, which can lead to things like Scalp Acne or hair thinning. Healthy hair should always start with the scalp, so ensure your scalp scrub will work hard to lift away impurities and remove product build-up which can keep your hair follicles clear.
If you find that a scalp scrub doesn’t do the trick, try to look at other causes such as diet or hormones. Unfortunately, it can be a process of elimination to get to the root cause! If Scalp Acne is causing you excessive stress or anxiety, ensure that you seek the advice from an expert.
Nikolina is the web-obsessed Digital Editor at Men's and Women's Health, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she spends most of the time in the gym or with her husband and daughter. She was previously a Digital Editor at GQ and Vogue magazine.
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