What causes scalp acne and how to treat it

How to treat an oily scalp to prevent forehead acne

Is it me or the older you get, the more you discover the different ways that your skin can be oh-so-insufferable? For most people, their 20s were a time of clear, glowing skin. They had bright eyes, an insane tolerance for late nights and binge drinking, and the cutest toxic relationships. In your 30s, everything feels great yet frightening at the same time. Your romantic life may devolve to a swipe left on the latest dating app. Heck, you may discover that the college degree(s) you invested in has nothing to do with your life path. And worst of all, you may experience raging adult acne for the first time in your life! 

Adult acne is not the occasional hormonal breakout that you get each month that your period rolls around.

No, that’s pretty normal for women of all ages that see their period. It's more like (pre)adolescent acne, except you feel like it will never go away. It comes in all forms and places - from your chin to your cheeks, to your back, to your forehead. This form of acne is pervasive, embarrassing, and the reason that we need a gentle skincare brand like Masktini

Of the areas that you can experience adult acne, the forehead has to be the worst, right?! Unlike your cheeks, your forehead is the first thing that most people see. Acne face mapping, an ancient Ayurvedic technique, links the location of your acne to what’s happening inside of your body. For example, if you tend to break out on your cheeks a lot, that may mean that your sugar consumption is high. If you want less cheek acne, limit your sugar intake and watch your breakouts clear up. Breakouts on the chin are oftentimes hormonal and appear during your time of the month. Forehead breakouts are a bit harder to pin down. On one hand, they are a sign of stress, sleep deprivation, and digestive or liver problems. But, they could be a result of the hair products that you use, as well as scalp issues that you may have. 

So, you heard about face acne, chest acne, and even back acne. Yet, you may not have heard about scalp acne! Yes, that is a thing, too, and that is one of the skin issues that we will discuss today. Like regular acne, scalp acne is the result of many skin conditions. The most common skin condition that leads to scalp acne is seborrheic dermatitis. This results in scaly patches and inflamed skin on the scalp, and its common symptoms include: 

  • Dandruff
  • Skin rashes
  • Inflammation 

Of these three symptoms, the one that can affect your skin’s health most is dandruff. As with dry skin, your sebaceous (oil) glands tend to overproduce oil to get rid of the dryness. As your scalp oil glands work overtime to combat dryness caused by dandruff, this oil spreads beyond your scalp and onto your face. This is where forehead acne happens. Although dandruff is difficult to treat - it feels like it never goes away - there are solutions! 


3 easy ways that you can treat dandruff


1. Treat your scalp as you would your face

When you have oily skin, you do everything you can to prevent your skin from becoming too oily. Your scalp should not be an exception. There are many anti-acne and anti-dandruff treatments on the market. Check with your dermatologist, then invest in one that works! Use it as recommended or as often as needed to keep that oil in check. A dandruff treatment that you may want to consider is Kelual DS Treatment Shampoo. It contains several patented ingredients proven to eliminate dandruff and soothe your scalp. 

2. Use skin care products that contain AHAs

If you linked your forehead acne to dandruff, it may be time to start using skincare products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids. The best AHAs for acne are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid acts as a skin exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and acne-causing bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide is an antimicrobial that targets acne-causing bacteria as well. As these two AHAs work together, they remove excess oil from the skin, too. Less oil means a lesser chance of forehead acne. It’s a win-win. 

3. Avoid using excessive amounts of oil-based hair products

Like your face, your hair attracts dirt and builds up oil throughout the day. If you struggle with dandruff, this can be debilitating. Rather than piling on hair products each day, leave your scalp alone. The dryness caused by dandruff will stimulate your sebaceous glands into overdrive, anyway. So why bother? Opt for alcohol and water-based hair products instead. They should strip your hair of excess oils and prevent forehead acne long-term. 

As mentioned earlier, dandruff can be difficult to treat, but it's not impossible! Like any skincare routine, you have to be patient as you await the results you desire. It is always best to give any new skincare product at least 28-30 days to see if it works as you need it to. If it causes skin irritation, you should stop using it right away. In the meantime, leave a comment below with your skin product recommendations for treating dandruff. We would love to hear from you. Until next time!

Meet The Author

Otishka Ferguson

I am a women's fashion and beauty writer who survived 14 straight months of cystic breakouts and now has smooth, clear skin again. So obviously this makes me a skincare expert.

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