Zits on your Scalp: Ouch, Yuck, and What To Do About It

First thing’s first:  I will tell you that I have suffered from cystic pimples, on my scalp, on and off for the past twenty years.  This problem was the very worst when I was in high school, when, I kid you not, I started getting perms so I wouldn’t have to brush my hair, because the cystic acne on my scalp was so frigging bad, it hurt to touch my head.

Here are some things that did NOT work, in case you are curious:

— Popping the zits on your scalp.  DO NOT DO THIS.   These pimples hardly ever have a “head” in them that you can pop and just make the zit go away.  That is rarely how scalp acne works, sadly.    Usually what you’re dealing with there is a whole inflammatory reaction.

— Washing my hair a bunch of times with the hope that the soap is going to dry up the acne.   This just dried out my hair.

Here’s what did work:

— Washing my hair with tar-based soap.  Nope, not kidding.   This is the one I used.

Yes, it smells like tar.   I can’t help you with that.   I would basically wash my scalp with this shampoo, then wash the rest of my hair with normal Pantene.   Also, if you use hair conditioner, DO NOT LET IT TOUCH YOUR SCALP.  I’m serious about this.  Nothing will trigger a scalp acne flare up like slathering it with conditioner.

— Changing my diet.   I personally figured out (much later in my life) that acne cysts are basically an inflammatory reaction to foods I was eating.  If you are interested in this, I would really recommend reading this book for an acne diet/ list of foods you should not be eating.

Anyhow, hope this is helpful.  I totally feel your pain with this problem (literally).


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