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How To Treat Scalp Acne:11 Natural Remedies to Keep Your Scalp Pimple-Free

How to Treat Scalp Acne (2)

I have had scalp acne couple of times and it’s not a pleasant thing to experience. It’s uncomfortable and you have no idea what is going on or how it looks.

The only good thing about scalp acne is that it is not visible. And for the same reason it may go unnoticed for several days until you run a comb through your hair and notice a tender spot.

The good news is that there are many natural remedies that can help get rid of the pimples.

And they are free from harsh chemicals and other unnatural ingredients that often do more harm than good to our hair and scalp. But first let’s see what causes scalp acne and how it forms.

What Causes Scalp Acne

  1. Eating Junk Food: Eating a poor nutrient deficient diet will increase this problem. Reduce your intake of fizzy drinks, fried foods, pizza, candies, biscuits, cakes, sugary sweets, and alcohol. These foods cause strain on your liver – which is the body’s cleaning organ.
  2. Constipation: This is one of the most common causes of acne in adults. According to health guru Hazel Courtney “once our system becomes overloaded it begins dumping toxins into the skin – hence why constipation and poor skin often go hand in hand”.
  3. Hormones: Many adolescents experience acne due to increase in hormone production. This leads to overproduction of sebum or skin’s natural oils which can cause clogged pores.
  4. Oily skin: People with oily skin are more prone to acne of all types.
  5. Hair products: Ingredients from conditioners to styling creams can form a layer on the scalp which can block pores.
  6. Smoking: Research suggests that smokers are more likely to have acne.
  7. Stress: This is the cause of all problems, including acne. High stress causes an inflammatory response in the body, which can cause the clogged pores to flare up.
  8. Medication: some medication, including like corticosteroid and anti-epilepsy drugs, can cause acne.

How pimples form?

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Scalp acne form in the same way as the acne on the face and back.

Our skin naturally produces an oily or waxy matter called sebum – which helps to keep our skin smooth and naturally moisturized. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands, which lie just under the skin surface.

Sebum makes its way to the skin’s surface through: 1) the hair follicles (as shown in the picture above) or 2) the pores found on hairless areas (such as face).

Some people produce more sebum than others.

As a rule, the more sebum your skin makes, the more greasy your skin will be, making you more prone to acne.

Mild to moderate acne

In people with normal skin, the skin cells that have died come up to the surface and exit the pore of the hair follicle. But, in people with acne excess sebum production causes the dead skin cells to stick together. This accumulated dead skin cell and oily sebum block the pore of the hair follicles, thus forming a pre-pimple, or a microcomedone.

As the microcomedone becomes larger, it becomes a comedone – a whitehead or a blackhead.

Some sebum may collect under blocked pores. You can see this as small spots called pimples or papules.

In many cases, acne does not progress beyond this mild stage.

So, at its most basic level, any pimple – including one that pops on your scalp – is caused when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin.

Moderate to Severe acne

Bacteria live on everyone’s skin and usually cause no harm. But the trapped sebum and blocked pores are perfect ground for certain bacteria to live and multiply. If a large number develop in the trapped sebum, our body’s immune system is kicked in and cause inflammation. When this happens the surrounding skin will become red and the spots become larger and filled with pus (pustules). And an ugly pimple is born.

11 Natural Remedies That Will Help Clear Up Scalp Pimple

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If you are prone to scalp acne, you should try to prevent the pimples from forming in the first place. This means getting rid of the dead skin and excess oil on a regular basis and avoiding unnecessary hair products. Choose a homemade shampoo – which is gentle on the scalp as well as eliminates excessive build-up that commonly leads to pimples. You can also try medicated shampoos that contain ingredients such as zinc, coal tar or salicylic acid.

For those of you who already have scalp acne, here are the best natural remedies to help you get rid of the scalp pimples.

1. Erase your Pimples with Fenugreek (Methi)

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Fenugreek is a common Indian spice, with amazing healing and beauty benefits.

Fenugreek has strong anti-inflammatory effect. Apply it on pimple and it will help dry it out the pimple and make it disappear like magic. It is also great for reducing the formation of blackheads. Fenugreek is also a great alternative to store bought conditioner, thanks to its high mucilage content – which provides slip like conditioner and makes detangling very easy. Regular use of this herb in a hair mask or deep conditioner will naturally soften your hair, increase manageability, and restore lustre and bounce.

You will need..

Mix all the three ingredients in a bowl, cover with a lid and set aside of 2 to 3 hours. During this time fenugreek seed powder will swell and the entire mixture will thicken up and become slightly slimy.

Apply to your scalp and hair and leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash as usual. As a bonus, you will get soft, shiny and beautiful hair.

For step by step instruction on this mask, click here.

2. Rinse your Scalp with Vinegar

Applying apple cider vinegar to pimples is one of the most popular home remedies out there. The magic ingredient in AVC is malic acid – it will get rid of unwanted skin and oil buildup that can clog up your pores and cause acne. The other advange of AVC is that it helps to restore our skin’s pH balance, which is needed to protect our skin from germs, bacteria and pollution.

You will need…

Simply mix vinegar, honey, and water, and massage the mixture into your scalp. Leave it on for 2 to 3 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly with water.

Note: If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to use a little more water (play around with the ratio and see what works best for you)

3. Cool down with Aloe Vera

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Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, highly recommends using aloe vera to treat acne. This because it contains strong anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial properties, plus other healing compounds which act upon acne and help to wipe the little buggers out. And while its healing the acne, the natural antioxidants and essential minerals in aloe vera nourish the scalp and hair follicles to promote healthy hair growth. Not just that, aloes soothing effects will relieve any redness and itchiness that you may have.

You will need..

Take one teaspoon aloe vera juice first thing in the morning. You can also apply aloe vera juice on the scalp, leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes, then wash out with plain water. Some people find aloe vera juice drying for the scalp. If you are one of them, consider adding equal quantities of argan or sunflower oil.

Note: It’s best to use fresh juice extracted from the aloe vera leaf. If buying from the store, look for ones that contain mostly aloe vera and least amount of additives – This is a good brand of aloe vera juice

Tip: Get an aloe vera plant – I have 4 pots in my house; it requires minimal care and is useful in so many conditions from minor burns to acne to acidity.

4. Treat your Scalp to Mint Leaves

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My mother-in-law swears by the medicinal properties of mint leaves to treat acne. This fragrant plant has everything it takes to heal the acne – anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antiseptic properties. Mint also contains large amounts menthol – well-known for its cooling properties. It will soothe your scalp and leave you smelling clean and fresh.

You will need…

  • A handful of fresh Mint leaves

Crush up the leaves thoroughly, you can use a blender or a mortar and pestle if you have one. Apply the juice and crushed leaves on your scalp and leave for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly with cold water.

To boost the healing properties of the mint, you can also add a small piece of cucumber and ½ tablespoon of honey.

5. Exfoliate with Lime Juice


This is the simplest way to treat your acne. Lime juice is naturally rich in alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) – which is often used in products to treat acne. AHA acts as an exfoliant and helps to unclog the hair follicles. Lime juice also works to restore scalp’s pH balance, and gives nice shine to your hair.

You will need..

  • Juice from 1/2 Lime
  • 1 cup water

You can prepare a scalp and hair rinse by mixing ½ lime juice and 1 cup water and use after you have washed your hair; apply the liquid on your scalp, massage gently for couple of minutes then rinse with clear water. Repeat once or twice a week.

Note: don’t overdo lime rinse as it can cause your scalp to become dry (and may be lighten your hair).

6. Use the Power of Papaya 

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Papaya is a delicious and effective treatment for scalp acne. The natural fruit acids in papaya break down the oily substance holding the dead skin cells to your skin, and allows them to be rinsed away. Papaya also contains an enzyme called papain, which reduces inflammation and prevents acne from getting bigger.

You will need..

  • 1/2 cup ripe Papaya
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Honey

Blend ½ cup ripe papaya, ¼ cup yogurt and 1 tablespoon honey to a smooth paste. Apply this mixture on your scalp and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with clear water.

7.  Enjoy Tomato Juice

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This fruit-cum-vegetable is not just great remedy for scalp acne; it will also help keep your face soft, glowing, and blemish-free.

Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C, which is especially useful because it promotes the growth of new healthy cells, keeping your skin in better condition overall. Tomato juice is also a natural astringent, which causes the pores to shrink and acne to dry out.

You will need..

  • 1 ripe Tomato

You can treat both your scalp and face with one tomato – use the seed pulp in the centre for your scalp and use the flesh to massage your face and neck. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Do this twice a week and you should begin to notice an improvement.

8. Heal with Cinnamon & Honey

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This is a traditional folk remedy to treat scalp acne. Honey is a natural antibiotic, plus it also provides your skin with nourishment and moisture. Like honey, cinnamon has anti-microbial properties, so it can stop bacteria getting out of hand.

You will need..

To make cinnamon and honey acne treatment, mix 2 tablespoons honey with ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder (you can also add 1 tablespoon argan oil). Apply this mixture on your scalp for half hour before rinsing it off with warm water.

9. Use the Magic of Neem Leaves 

With its incredible healing properties, neem can be very effective in treating scalp acne. It is also said to help with other skin conditions such as: hives & rashes, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, athlete’s foot, warts, and bug bites.

You can use neem in various forms:

  • Neem capsule to purify your system
  • Neem oil: use diluted with carrier oil such as grapeseed, sunflower or argan oil and use as spot treatment. You can also use it for scalp massage, leave it for an hour and wash as usual.
  • Neem leaves for hair rinse: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add a handful of neem leaves. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Then remove from the flame and leave it to cool down. Strain and use. After shampoo, massage the infusion on your scalp, then rinse it out with cool water.

10. Apply Nutmeg & Milk mask

The lactic acids from the milk, and the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects from the nutmeg make this a killer combo to treat acne. This mixture will also help those with sensitive scalp, because it’s very soothing and moisturizing.

You will need..

  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoon milk

Mix 1/4 tsp of grated nutmeg with 4 tablespoon of milk. Apply this mixture on your scalp and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse it out with warm water.

11. Scrub your scalp with Sugar & Honey

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Today, very few people would know that common sugar has great antiseptic and antibacterial properties. In olden times it was used to dress cuts and wounds. For your acne – scrub made out of sugar crystals and honey will gently exfoliate your scalp and help heal the pimples. The good thing about this scrub is that it melts quickly and it won’t hurt the skin.

You will need…

  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Honey

To make sugar scrub, mix together 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 tablespoon honey. You can also add some grapeseed or argan oil to this mix. Scrub gently in circular motions and let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Note: Eating too much sugar does exactly the opposite – it aggravates the acne. So reduce the amount of sugar you eat.

Do you get scalp acne? Have you tried any of the above tips? Share below!

You may also enjoy Top 20 Ways to get rid of the scalp acne for good

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