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Small itchy bumps on scalp, Causes and How to Get Rid of Scalp acne

Painful itchy blisters or small bumps may develop on your scalp. It is a menace to both male and female either young or old. It may take time to notice bumps on scalp or any other infection, as scalp is covered with hair. However painful, itchy and irritating bumps may be frustrating when shampooing, styling and scratching your scalp.

At times they may be embarrassing, especially the reddish bumps on hairline or those that force you to scratch one’s head. As the dead cells build up and oil accumulate on your scalp, then bacteria thrive in environment forming bumps or pimples.

Scalp pimples may occur due to folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis, HIV and other diseases like diabetes, eczema and cancer.

What causes bumps on scalp?

Why do I have sores on my head? Various conditions can make pimple like bumps to appear on your scalp. Generally, you may notice it during shampooing, styling or when scratching your scalp especially for painless ones.

1. Clogged pores

The main causes of bumps are skin cell build up on the skin pores which may be later inhabited by fungus, staphylococcus epidermidis or P. acne (Propionibacterium acnes).

2. Dermatitis

Dermatitis is characterized by itchy inflammation and pus filled blisters. These blisters may ooze out fluid, dry or crust over o the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis can be dangerous when left untreated. It can lead to fungal and bacterial infections that may end up in your blood stream and lymph nodes.

Painful sore and hair loss

Contact dermatitis may also form bumps on your scalp as an allergic reaction to something that touches your scalp like hair products or even shampoos.

It mainly causes itchy, red patches or scaly skin and when severe it becomes an oozing sores. If you have started using a new products and bumps appears switch to a different hair brand or product and carry a skin test.

3. Folliculitis

This is a medical condition that lead to infection and inflammation of the hair follicle. Its characterized by red, itchy painful bumps on the skin or scalp. In many scenario s it may lead to hair fall and the hair may or may not grow back

Scalp bumps may also be a symptom of infected hair follicle by bacteria, fungus or even virus after it has been damaged. Folliculitis can be dangerous, seek medical help. Folliculitis can cause scaring, extremely painful boil and permanent hair loss if left untreated since they may damage hair follicle.

4. Psoriasis

Red itchy bumps may appear due to scalp psoriasis. The symptoms may resemble with that of epidermal cyst. Mostly, it affects the areas along the hairline and can range from mild to severe infection. According to Livestrong, Presence of small red bumps that scales may be an indicator of psoriasis.

WebMD says psoriasis can affect any part of the body like elbows and knees beside your scalp. Due to itchiness and irresistible scratching they may cause bleeding and scabbing. Salicylic acid and special shampoos may help to control psoriasis, consult your doctor.

5. Cancer

Like any other part of the body, cancerous growth of cell may lead to scalp bumps or acne. In many cases cancer affects the part of the scalp not covered with hair. Skin cancer destroys normal skin cells and tissues and may metastasize or spread to other parts of the body

6. Bug bite and stings

Lice and bed bugs bites may have led to formation of bumps on scalp. Lice and bed bug infestation may be responsible for your scalp bumps.

Body lice infestation triggers allergic reaction to body lice forming red bumps on skin. In such a case over the counter topical medication may be prescribed by your doctor.

7. Ringworm

Ringworm is not a real worm but a fungal infection that look circular or round patches. The edges are usually red and raised, and its center part clean. Ringworm bumps may spread if left untreated.

It has different names depending on where it is on the body. It’s also known as athlete’s foot, jock itchy and when on your head called tinea capitis. Tinea capitis may be painful pus filled bumps and majorly affects kid although it may also be affect adults.

8. Hives

Hives occur due to allergic reactions. These bumps may look like shingles although they may be large and extremely itchy.

9. Cysts

Cysts grow slowly underneath the scalp layer of the skin. These kind of bumps may be itchy and very painful at times. It may be filled with white oily semi solid substance that may require surgical removal with its content.

Scalp cysts are common marble or grape sized fluid filled sacs that are easy to identify. Most of these bumps are genetic, benign while others have no cause to worry.

10. Lichen planus

Lichen planus although uncommon may be the cause of bumps on your scalp. This condition appears when you are stressed, tired or in case of exposure to chemicals or medicines.

The itchy blisters that may have white lines over the rash may develop especially within two weeks to months after infection and spread over to other area causing painful blisters.

11. Dandruffs

Dandruffs may cause white flakes on your head and shoulders.

This may be dues to skin eczema a normal shedding of scalp skin or due to fungal infection. Hormonal changes may worsen dandruffs on your scalp.

12. Hodgkin’s disease

The diseases cause painless swelling of the lymph nodes accompanied by fever, night sweat and itchy skin. In other cases, one may feel fatigue, unexplained persistent cough and weight loss.

Itchy, hair loss, under hair, home remedies, no pain, treatment, under hair that itch, with pus/ blood/clear fluid / liquid, contagious, causes headache, won’t go away.

13. After hair transplant

Scalp bumps ca be a temporal side effects of hair transplant on your head. This occur due to inflamed hair follicle, duct or if you haven’t been washing hair regularly.

However, at times these pimples may be pus or fluid filled. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid may help relive such bumps on your scalp.

If you have undergone hair transplant or considering cosmetic hair transplant you require to consult your cosmetologist since it cause a lot of stress on your hair follicle.

Take caution since some anti acne creams may interfere with the effectiveness of hair transplant. Your doctor should warn your of pimples before the hair transplant.

14. After exercise

According to American Academy of Dermatologist, wearing hats, helmets and work out can easily lead to scalp bumps break out. Cleanse your scalp quickly and wear clean hats and helmets to prevent acne pimples break out on your head.

15. Hormonal changes

Pregnancy is a very blessed state of existence for every woman. However, it may be accompanied with sudden burst of skin and hair problems. Pregnant women usually suffer from scalp acne and massive hair loss. The common form of scalp bumps during pregnancy is referred as scalp folliculitis.

During pregnancy women are advised to have proper skin care and balanced diet. Bumps during this period may get worse and intense due to hormonal changes. You should pay attention to proper medication and food. Hormonal fluctuations before periods at menopause may also lead to formation of scalp bumps.

Other possible causes

Other possible trigger of scalp bumps includes;

  • Infrequent bathing.
  • Stress.
  • Obesity.
  • Lotions with alcohol ingredients.
  • Heat rash may also cause appearance of red bumps on your scalp.
  • Cradles cap may also lead to formation of oily, yellow crusting on baby scalp. This does not mean the baby is not being taken care of nor an indication of any infection.


Tender, scaly, itchy-red inflamed bumps that may be crusty and fluid or pus filled may affect your scalp. At times they may be surrounded by greasy oily skin or may be accompanied by hair loss.

The following homemade remedies and treatments may be used to get rid of scalp bumps.

Home remedies

1. Tea tree oil

Teat tree oil has antibacterial properties that may kill infection causing bacteria in your skin. It also contains anti-inflammatory amazing properties. You can also use shampoos that contain this essential oil as a major ingredient to maintain clean, healthy and pimples free scalp.

2. jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is known to mimic natural sebum there by rehydrating the skin and assist to cure bumps fast.

3. Rosemary oil

Rosemary oil has antibacterial and soothing properties that makes it effective in treating scalp rashes and sore bumps.

4. Neem oil

Neem oil has soothing and antibacterial properties that help cure acne on scalp. Its recommended for white bumps that may appear on you scalp.

  • Take few neem leaves and add some water
  • Boil the mixture for about half an hour.
  • Grind the leaves to make fine paste.
  • Apply them on the affected part of the scalp.
  • Leave it for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with clan towel.

5. lavender oil

Lavender oil can help reduce itching and inflammation on your skin.

6. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are known for maintaining healthy pH levels of your skin and hairs. They contain salicylic acid, a good remedy for pimples treatment. It’s may make your skin shine, stimulate hair growth and provide relief for acne pimples.

7. ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)

ACV in your home has unlimited benefits. It has antioxidants properties and help balance and maintain the skin pH levels of your scalp. It can boost your skin and hair healthy as well as get rid of itchy rashes.

  • Add some ACV to water.
  • Rinse your hair with the solution.
  • Pat dry with a clean towel.

8. Garlic

Garlic a good source of salicylic acid, with good antifungal, anti-oxidant and antiviral properties. Rinsing your hair and scalp with garlic water solution can benefit your and help prevent scalp bumps.

  • Add 3-4 peeled garlic cloves in to 3 cup of boiled water.
  • Rinse your hair and scalp with the solution.
  • Rinse it off.

9. Turmeric and coconut oil

You can add turmeric in your diet. Alternatively, you can mix it with coconut oil and apply the mixture on your scalp or affected region


  1. Over the counter shampoos with medications like salicylic acid, zinc, resorcin, selenium or coal tar may be used
  2. Topical and oral antibiotics may be applied in cases of folliculitis caused scalp bumps.
  3. For chronic scalp bumps surgical drainage may be appropriate to relieve pain and prompt recovery time. Sebaceous cyst may also require surgical removal.

The do’s

  1. Use antibacterial soap for bathing.
  2. Use over the counter shampoos that contains tar, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, zinc pyrithione, ciclopirox and ketoconazole.
  3. Keep your scalp well moisturized. After shampooing, massage your scalp with small amount of oil and leave it for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing off.
  4. Drink plenty of water, it helps in detoxifying your body thus preventing bumps outbreak.
  5. Have balanced or healthy diet rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins. This will help boost your immune system essential to fight acne or bumps causing bacteria’s and virus.
  6. If the bumps itch so much apply tooth paste to relive your pain.

The don’ts

  1. Avoid shaving the scalp as much as possible.
  2. Avoid wearing tight capes or hats that will trap sweat that may cause further infections.
  3. Stop using greasy and oily hair products.
  4. Avoid or cut down sugar intake especially during pregnancy. Avoid use of drugs without consulting your doctor during pregnancy.
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