Pimples on the Head, Symptoms, and Treatment

Pimples on the head can be an uncomfortable and embarrassing condition. Here’s some information on types, who it affects, causes, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment options.

Types of Pimples on the Head

There are several types of pimples that can appear on the head, including:

  1. Whiteheads: Whiteheads are small, round bumps that have a white or yellowish center. They occur when pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
  2. Blackheads: Blackheads are similar to whiteheads but have a black or dark appearance. They form when the pore is open and the clog oxidizes, causing it to darken.
  3. Papules: Papules are small, red bumps that are tender to the touch. They occur when bacteria and oil build up in the hair follicle, causing inflammation.
  4. Pustules: Pustules are similar to papules, but they contain pus. They are often larger and more painful than papules.
  5. Cysts: Cysts are large, painful bumps that contain pus and can be deep beneath the skin. They are often caused by an infection in the hair follicle.
  6. Nodules: Nodules are hard, painful lumps that form deep beneath the skin. They are often caused by a severe infection and can take a long time to heal.

It is essential to identify the type of pimple you have on your head to determine the appropriate treatment. In some cases, medical treatment may be necessary to prevent scarring or further infection. Consulting a dermatologist is recommended if the pimples are severe or do not respond to home remedies.

Who does it affect?

Anyone can develop pimples on the head, but certain factors may increase the risk, including:

  1. Hormonal changes: Adolescents, pregnant women, and women during their menstrual cycle are more likely to develop acne on the scalp.
  2. Hair Products: Use of oily or greasy hair products, such as hair gels, sprays, and oils, can contribute to clogged pores and the development of scalp acne.
  3. Poor Hygiene: Inadequate washing of the scalp can lead to the buildup of oil, sweat, and bacteria, increasing the risk of folliculitis and other scalp conditions.
  4. Medical Conditions: People with weakened immune systems or certain medical conditions, such as HIV or diabetes, may be more susceptible to scalp infections.


The causes of pimples on the head can vary depending on the type of pimple. Some common causes include:

  1. Excess Oil Production: When the sebaceous glands on the scalp produce too much oil, it can clog hair follicles and lead to acne.
  2. Bacterial Infection: Bacteria can infect hair follicles, causing inflammation and the formation of pustules.
  3. Fungal Infection: Fungal infections, such as ringworm, can also cause small red bumps or pustules on the scalp.
  4. Allergies: Allergic reactions to hair products or other substances can cause inflammation and lead to the formation of pimples.

Tips for preventing pimple on the scalp

Here are some tips for preventing pimples on the scalp:

  1. Keep your scalp clean: Wash your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo to remove oil and dirt buildup. Make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly to prevent shampoo and conditioner residue from clogging your pores.
  2. Avoid using harsh hair products: Some hair products can irritate the scalp and lead to pimples. Look for products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free.”
  3. Use a gentle exfoliator: An exfoliating shampoo or scalp scrub can help remove dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores. Be gentle when using an exfoliator to avoid irritating your scalp.
  4. Avoid touching your scalp: Touching your scalp with dirty hands can transfer bacteria and dirt to your pores, which can cause pimples. Avoid scratching or picking at your scalp.
  5. Wear loose hairstyles: Tight hairstyles can pull on the hair follicles, leading to irritation and inflammation. Opt for looser hairstyles, such as braids or a loose ponytail.
  6. Manage stress: Stress can trigger hormonal changes that can lead to acne. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga to manage stress levels.
  7. Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help promote healthy skin. Avoid consuming excessive amounts of processed foods and sugary drinks.

By following these tips, you can help prevent pimples from forming on your scalp and maintain healthy skin.

Is it safe to pop a pimple on your scalp?

It is generally not recommended to pop a pimple on your scalp as it can lead to infection and scarring. Pimples occur when oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells clog the hair follicles on the scalp. When you pop a pimple, you can introduce more bacteria into the area and increase the risk of infection. Additionally, squeezing or picking at the pimple can cause it to become inflamed and more painful.

If you feel the need to address the pimple, it is recommended to apply a warm compress to the affected area. This can help to reduce inflammation and encourage the pimple to come to a head naturally. You can also try using a gentle exfoliating shampoo or scalp scrub to help unclog the hair follicles.

pimples on the headSymptoms:

The symptoms of pimples on the head can vary depending on the type of pimple. Common symptoms include:

  1. Small red bumps or pustules on the scalp
  2. Itching and irritation
  3. Pain or tenderness
  4. Flaking or scaling of the scalp


A doctor or dermatologist can diagnose pimples on the head by examining the affected area and taking a medical history. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be necessary to rule out other conditions.


Treatment for pimples on the head depends on the underlying cause. Some common treatment options include:

  1. Topical Medications: Over-the-counter or prescription-strength topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, can be used to treat scalp acne.
  2. Antibiotics: Oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed to treat bacterial or fungal infections.
  3. Antifungal Medications: If a fungal infection is the cause of the pimples, antifungal medications may be prescribed.
  4. Steroid Creams: If the pimples are caused by seborrheic dermatitis, a steroid cream may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and itching.
  5. Improving Hygiene: Good hygiene practices, such as washing the scalp regularly and avoiding oily hair products, can help prevent the formation of pimples.


In conclusion, pimples on the head can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but they are treatable. If you have persistent or severe symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor or dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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