You may be alarmed if you find small red bumps or pus-filled pimples on your child's scalp. There are a number of causes that can mimic acne pimples, and it is even possible that your child is starting to develop acne. If you are unsure about the cause for your child's scalp pimples, bring him to the doctor for a diagnosis.
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If your child has blisters or pimply bumps on her scalp that burst and form a yellowish crust, she may have impetigo. Impetigo is a bacterial infection that is easily spread from person to person. Your child can also spread the infection to different parts of her body by scratching at the crusty sores and then touching a small cut on another part of her body. According to MayoClinic.com, impetigo is most common in children between the ages of 2 and 6 and is easily treated with antibiotics.
Your child may have red patches or scaly bumps on his scalp that resemble pimples but may actually be seborrheic dermatitis. This is most likely if he had cradle cap as a baby or if seborrheic dermatitis runs in your family. Seborrheic dermatitis can be treated with dandruff shampoo. If his scalp doesn't show signs of improvement or if patches are painful or are producing pus, bring your child to the doctor. Infants don't need and should not be exposed to any special shampoos or medications. Regular baby shampoo and gentle brushing is enough to treat seborrheic dermatitis on an infant.
Depending on your child's age, the pimples on her scalp could very well be acne pimples. Adults tend to expect acne in teenagers, but preteen kids can also develop acne on their scalp, face, chest or back, according to Kids Health. If your child has pimples on her scalp but not on other parts of her body, they could be caused by hair-styling products such as hair gel, mousse or hair spray. Regular washing of her hair and using styling products that are labeled as noncomedogenic may help reduce pimples caused by acne.
Chicken pox blisters can be mistaken for pimples on your child's scalp. Check the rest of his body for any bumps, blisters or pimples, particularly his trunk, underarms and back. He may also run a fever and be unusually tired or complain of a sore throat. It is possible for your child to develop chicken pox even if he received the chicken pox vaccine as a baby, since it is only 70 to 85 percent effective.