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Pimple-Like Bumps on the Scalp

by 
author image Rose Erickson
Rose Erickson has been a professional writer since 2010. She specializes in fitness, parenting, beauty, health, nutrition and saving money, and writes for several online publications including The Krazy Coupon Lady. She is also a novelist and a mother of three.
Pimple-Like Bumps on the Scalp
A bump on your scalp might be worth a trip to the dermatologist. Photo Credit: Tharakorn/iStock/GettyImages

As if bumps on your face weren't bad enough, now pimple-like bumps are showing up your scalp — what gives? These bumps on the head can be caused by several conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis.

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Although these illnesses have different causes, both of them can be bothersome and even dangerous if left untreated. Pimple-like scalp bumps can be embarrassing and difficult to hide, making it is important to understand their causes and remedies.

Read more: How to Stop My Itchy Scalp

Possibility #1: Folliculitis

Red bumps on your head could be due to a scalp infection called folliculitis. This occurs when the hair follicles become infected by a fungus, virus or bacteria after becoming damaged. This condition likely needs a dermatologists's help and can be remedied with topical or oral antibiotics.

These can treat the infection and help reduce any itching or inflammation. Chronic or painful bumps that are boil-like may require surgical drainage to increase recovery time and relieve pain. Without treatment, painful boils can develop beneath the skin’s surface, resulting in extreme pain and scarring. In addition, permanent hair loss can occur if the hair follicle becomes destroyed.

Possibility #2: Seborrheic Dermatitis

If the bumps are accompanied by red, itchy patches with dandruff, it could be caused by a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis. This issue occurs due to the yeast malassezia and an excess production of oil on the skin. T

riggers may include stress, infrequent bathing, alcohol-containing lotions and obesity. Seborrheic dermatitis can benefit from over-the-counter shampoos containing medications such as resorcin, selenium, salicylic acid, coal tar or zinc. In severe cases, a doctor can prescribe corticosteroid or ketoconazole shampoos.

Possibility #3: Cysts

A cyst can occur anywhere on your body, including on your scalp. They're larger than the pimple-like bumps caused by other conditions and are fluid-filled sacs, kind of like a blister. Generally speaking, they're benign and don't need to be treated, but if they get infected or irritated, see a dermatologist for treatment, which could include drainage.

Keep in Mind

No matter what the condition, treat the bumps carefully and gently. In the case of an infection, he should wash the scalp two times a day using an antibacterial soap. Shaving the scalp should be avoided as much as possible if suffering from bumps on the head.

Both seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis can be dangerous if left untreated. Besides causing embarrassment and problems with self-esteem, both conditions can lead to serious fungal or bacterial infections. These infections can eventually travel to the bloodstream and lymph nodes.

Read more: Remedies for Scalp Infection

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