Bumps on Scalp
The human scalp is prone to many conditions, and tiny red bumps are one of those. If you are struggling with these red, painful bumps on scalp that resembles acne breakout, it could be a common skin issue that needs treatment before it gets worse. This scalp issue or condition is called scalp folliculitis.
Scalp Folliculitis is a scalp condition that affects the hair follicles. It occurs due to an inflammatory disorder that is characterized by small and itchy pimples. The severity of these bumps and how prickly they are depends from person to person. Although these folliculitis bumps on scalp are not a threatening issue, yet they can pretty much get on your nerves as they can be painful at times.
This article will uncover the causes of these itching bumps on scalp, how to treat them, and when to see a doctor.
What Causes Bumps on Scalp?
Scalp Folliculitis is somewhat like blisters, and when it breaks open, it oozes pus that can turn crusty. When it gets in contact with the other areas on the scalp, this pus creates similar bumps throughout the scalp. So what causes these bumps on scalp? Here we share a few of the common causes of itchy bumps-
Folliculitis is a common inflammatory skin condition that damages the hair follicles. It is caused by fungal infection and can affect any part of the body that has hair. In the initial stages of folliculitis, red bumps similar to acne breakout appear, and over time, these bumps spread all over the scalp. The condition is contagious and, in adverse cases, can cause scarring or permanent hair loss. These bumps on scalp are also caused by shaving the head, wearing a sports helmet, or using too many hair care products.
An allergic reaction can also be responsible for bumps on scalp. These allergic reactions are caused by chemical hair products or some environmental factors such as dust mites or fungi, which again can cause bumps on the scalp. This scalp condition is called allergic contact dermatitis. When coming in contact with an irritating substance, itching or reddening of skin leads to allergic contact dermatitis.
Lice in hair is one of the most common reasons for an itching scalp. Lice are tiny insects that live on the head and grow by sucking on the blood. Their bites to suck blood leaves small red bumps on scalp, and sometimes crusted blood. Lice are contagious, and the presence of lice on the head also indicates bumps on the scalp. The bumps are aggravated with the lice eggs or moving lice all over the head. While you can treat lice at home, this issue may persist if proper care is not taken on time.
It is a common scalp disorder that creates reddish and scaly patches on the scalp. It can either appear as a single patch or several patches all over the scalp. At worst, it can also spread to the entire forehead, back of the neck, or behind the ears. However, scalp psoriasis is not contagious, but if you have a family history of the condition, you are more likely to have it. Although it doesn’t cause hair to fall directly, the bumps on scalp that occur due to its effects result in itching and hair fall.
Scalp acne is another kind of bumps on scalp or acne breakout that appears on the scalp like acne on any other place on the body. It can be caused due to the chemicals you have in your shampoo, the serum, or hair sprays. These bumps are red, tiny, at times inflamed. Scratching or itching of these bumps may also lead to bleeding of the bumps. One of the safest and effective things to do is switch your chemical hair products.
Atopic Dermatitis is a scalp condition which is also known as Atopic Eczema, is the red itchy skin on the head. One of the common symptoms of this scalp condition is dandruff, caused by a dry scalp resulting from a yeast overgrowth on the scalp. This scalp condition aggravates or starts from the chemicals present in your hair care products. Besides dandruff, another common symptom is the bumps on scalp that appear underneath your hair. Oily scalp is more prone to atopic dermatitis, so avoiding any oil-based hair products will help if you have an oily scalp.
Conditions That Can Cause Bumps on Scalp
There are so many reasons behind bumps on the scalp, and most of them are not severe. That means they are curable. But before you set out to find effective cures for this scalp condition. Often painful and itchy, these bumps are often associated with inflammation and other symptoms such as-
- Flaking or itching scalp
- The scalp is warm to touch
- Burning sensation on the scalp
The conditions that cause bumps on scalp depend mainly on medical and environmental factors. Let’s throw some light on some of these conditions-
Medical conditions of bumps on scalp
Skin affected by inflammation caused by skin conditions such as acne or eczema may result in causing bumps on the scalp. These bumps are red, itchy, and painful to deal with. One common characteristic of these bumps is that they are tender, and when they break, pus oozes out.
When the hair follicles are affected by certain bacteria or fungi, the follicles swell and inflame. This type of scalp condition is called folliculitis, and the bumps on the scalp created are called folliculitis bumps on the scalp. Different viruses can also cause this condition.
Environmental conditions of bumps on scalp
High pony or hairstyles that involve a lot of stretching and pulling of the hair and scalp may lead to tension on the scalp, which results in bumps on scalp.
Any minor injury or trauma that has resulted in any cut or hit on the scalp may result in a visible bump on scalp. It is one of the common conditions of developing bumps if medical or other factors are not present.
How to Treat Bumps on Scalp?
In most cases, these bumps are treatable and can be treated at home using some handy tips and treatments. You can try these pimples on scalp home remedies that have proven to be effective-
Discard chemical hair products
Too much washing of the hair and scalp with chemical-laden shampoos, serums, or hair care products leaves residues on the scalp known as scalp buildup, which gradually may end up forming crust and then bumps on the scalp. Try to discard or minimize the use of chemical hair products. Instead, switch to natural hair cleansers that are unscented and organic.
Treatment for head lice
Head lice are nasty, and you can remove them using a medicated shampoo. You can also comb your hair using a fine-toothed comb and remove the lice and their eggs from the hair.
With all those itching bumps on the scalp, you will experience an urge to scratch. However, scratching your scalp will only aggravate the issue and will lead to inflammation and even bleeding.
Avoid products with allergens
It is not just the shampoos and the serums that can cause bumps on your scalp. If you have sensitive skin and you are allergic to one or two of the ingredients in your personal care products like your cream or lotion, avoid using these products, and you should see a change. Instead, switch to natural options or products that are chemical-free.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective in healing several scalp conditions. Cook some oatmeal and apply gently on the affected area.
Take care of your hair
Keep your scalp clean and avoid creating too much tension or pull on the scalp. Let your hair loose and skip high pony or braids for some time. A regular and extended hairstyle can deeply affect the hairline and the scalp. When dry, rinse thoroughly with water. You should see results on everyday use.
Essential oils are widely used and are known for their therapeutic properties. They are proven to cure several scalp conditions. Grade essential oils such as clove oil, tea tree oil, lemon oil, or chamomile oil have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that can cure bumps on the scalp. Dilute a few drops of any of these oils with your favorite carrier oil and gently massage on the affected area.
However, you must understand how serious your issue is. If at any point you feel you should see a dermatologist, do not hesitate. It is always recommended that you seek expert advice before taking matters into your hands.
When to Consult a Doctor?
The home treatments should work. However, if you see no change in the scalp condition or bumps on the scalp, know that it is time to check with your doctor or dermatologist. Timely and appropriate medical treatment will help you recover soon. In most cases, after a thorough diagnosis, you will be given oral treatments and some shampoos or lotions to apply locally.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.