Acne is a medical condition that affects people of all ages and it is particularly troublesome during adolescence, when hormone levels are increasing. Acne can appear on the face, chest, back and scalp. Although there is no definitive cure for acne, if you have scalp acne there are some steps you can take at home to prevent or minimize outbreaks.
If you currently have or are prone to developing scalp acne, clean those areas of your scalp that tend to break out with a mild cleanser once per day, particularly if you have oily hair. You may be tempted to scrub these spots, but the National Institutes of Health notes that hard scrubbing can actually worsen acne. A wiser choice is to use your fingers to gently soap the area and rinse with warm or cool water.
Noncomedogenic Hair Products
Acne on the scalp is often caused by hair products that contain ingredients that block hair follicles, which leads to pimples and pustules. According to the AcneNet website, ceasing use of these hair products will usually lead to the acne clearing up on its own. Switch to hair care and styling products that are labeled as noncomedogenic, which means they won't block pores, to prevent future outbreaks of scalp acne.
Protect From the Sun
Wear a hat or scarf when outside on a sunny day to protect your scalp from the sun, which can further irritate and prolong an acne outbreak on your scalp. According to AcneNet, there is no scientific evidence that shows that sun exposure or tanning gets rid of acne and it may even worsen acne because of increased sweating or oil production on the scalp.
According to MedlinePlus, a website maintained by the National Institutes of Health, zinc has been shown in some studies to be effective in the treatment of acne, although it is noted that further study is required to determine whether or not this is scientifically accurate. Doses vary from 45mg to 220mg, three times daily for 12 weeks.
Tea Tree Oil
Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson of the MayoClinic.com notes that some people have had success with using tea tree oil as a treatment for acne. However, he goes on to caution that it may cause contact dermatitis and may also cause breast development in boys. If you choose to use tea tree oil as a treatment for your scalp acne, pay close attention to any side effects, and discontinue use and consult a doctor if you notice irritation.
You may prefer to try some anecdotal remedies to see if they work for your scalp acne. Keep in mind that none of these methods have scientific data to back them up but are instead based on word of mouth and personal testimony. According to Grannymed.com, you can prepare a scalp and hair rinse made of 1/2 lemon juice and 1/2 rose water to use after you've washed your hair; let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes then rinse with clear water. Proponents of this treatment claim the lemon juice acts as an antibacterial agent while the rose water soothes inflammation. Another folk remedy to try is crushed peppermint leaves, applied directly to pimples or pustules for five minutes. Like rose water, people who trust this method as an acne treatment believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of peppermint help soothe and diminish the appearance of acne.