Pimples on scalp

Pimples on scalp are often a form of acne. Acne is a skin condition that often occurs on the shoulders, arms, neck and also on the face. It is caused by excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous gland in the hair follicle. In this article you will read about pimples on scalp, acne, other scalp conditions and treatment for scalp conditions.

What is scalp acne?

Scalp acne is a condition that can lead to pimples and breakouts that develop on the scalp or hairline. When hair follicles become clogged by a buildup of dead skin cells or excess sebum than there is a chance that inflammation appears in the hair follicle. Inflammation on the scalp is a condition that can hurt or itch and is something that we recommend you to try and prevent.

Pores on your scalp can get clogged if you do not wash your hair frequently or when you wear headgear that causes friction on the scalp. Some shampoos, conditioners or hairsprays can also cause the acne in your hair. This are often shampoos which contain: petroleum, silicones, jojoba oil and shea butter. 

Acne that is caused by chemical products we call acne cosmetica. This refers to acne that appears after using products that come in contact with the hair or skin. 

 How to treat your scalp acne

When you suffer from scalp acne you need a treatment that is topical and helps to get rid of the acne as fast as possible. 

An effective ingredient to get rid of the acne is Ketoconazol. This is an ingredient that is used against seborrheic dermatitis, because it combats the growth of yeast cells responsible for seborrheic dermatitis. But it also is effective against baldness in the form of androgenetic alopecia, in other words male-pattern baldness. This is due to the fact that it combats the negative effects of DHT.

Unfortunately, there are also negative consequences of using ketoconazole shampoo. 

Cons of ketoconazol shampoo

Ketoconazol shampoo is since 2011 not longer a cosmetic product but it is an medical product. The reason that certain side-effects can occur include:

  • Irritation of the skin, burning sensation, redness and dry skin
  • Acne, taste disorders, irritated and watery eyes.
  • Oily, dry or brittle hair and hair loss.
  • Headache

Other option for ketoconazol shampoo

Piroctone olamine is an ingredient that has the same effects as ketoconazol. There has been done a study with 150 people to see the difference between ketoconazol and also piroctone olamine. 



Piroctone Olamine

Decrease in the severity of hair loss




Hairs in anagen phase, which is the growth phase




Effect on the hair diameter increase



This study shows that Piroctone olamine has similar effects as ketoconazole. There are more hairs in the anagen phase (growth phase) with piroctone olamine, which means more hairs will stay longer and it gives more people thicker hair. Ketoconazole scores a bit better on the hair loss severity, but if you compare it with the possible side effects we recommend you to use piroctone olamine shampoos.

 The cause of scalp acne

Scalp acne spots can develop on the back of the head and may feel itchy or sore. A person may develop pimples along the hair line or have painfull bumps under the skin. A list of factors that can cause scalp acne include:

  • dead skin cells or oil clogging the follicles.
  • a buildup of products, such as hair gels and leave-in treatments
  • not washing the hair thoroughly enough
  • waiting to long to wash your hair after an workout
  • sweating while covering the head.

Symptoms of scalp acne

The AAD states that people with scalp acne may notice that they have:

  • tiny bumps along the hairline, also on the forehead, on the back of the head
  • whiteheads on the scalp or also on the hairline
  • packed bumps
  • bumps on the scalp that are painful

Piroctone olamine shampoo

The Neofollics Exfoliating Shampoo is the most effective shampoo for the improvement of your scalp. When you suffer from scalp acne due to seborrheic dermatitis this shampoo can effectively reduce your inflammation. It also combats dandruff, itching and flakes and may help against other scalp conditions such as Psoriasis and lichen planopilarus. The shampoo gently exfoliates the scalp and also removes the impurities on the scalp. The shampoo contains a broad spectrum of anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbal activity.

Results of using the shampoo for 4 weeks you can find below:

Before and after Results against scalp acne


The flakes and red inflammatory scalp are gone after 28 days of using the shampoo. The scalp is healthy again.

Before and after Results against scalp acne due to Neofollics

In the before picture this woman suffers from an sensitive scalp and seborrheic dermatitis. The scalp has become calmer after 28 days and the hair density is increased.


Pimples on the scalp are due to scalp acne. This is possible to treat with Neofollics products that have similar effects as ketoconazol shampoo. A product that Neofollics uses is Piroctone Olamine that has less side-effects and scores better than Ketoconazol.

Receive Personalised Hair Advice

Would you like to know which treatment is best for your hair situation? Receive Personalized Hair Advice now by filling in our online tool in 2 minutes.

We help you to start a treatment with only the best, proven effective products, in combination with personalised advice.

Personalised Hair Advice