Bumps on Scalp – Scalp bumps or scalp acne are like acne on other body areas. There may be raised bumps in the form of blackheads and whiteheads that may get irritated, causing itching and soreness in the area. They occur due to the accumulated hair products on the scalp when rinsing is not done properly. Excessive sweating, mainly while wearing a hoodie or head cap, and regular workouts also lead to bumps on the head or scalp.

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Symptoms and Causes 

There are various causes of scalp acne or bumps on the head like:


A common hair follicle infection causes round, raised, itchy, and inflamed bumps on the head. The major cause of infection is bacteria that enter the damaged hair follicles in underlying conditions:

  • 1. Waxing, shaving, and plucking
  • 2. Wearing tight headwear (hoodie, hats, or caps)
  • 3. Weight gain (or obesity)
  • 4. Spending more time in the unhygienic hot tub
  • 5. A side effect of certain medications

Folliculitis can be dealt with by application of a warm compress for 20 minutes at least 3-4 times a day. The warm compress may help relieve pain in the region of bumps and heal the skin. If the condition gets worse and does not heal in time, then it is essential to consult a dermatologist.

Head lice

Bumps on the head indicate the presence of lice parasites on your scalp; they irritate. It is important to get rid of lice before they cause more irritation by closely examining them and getting their removal treatment.

Various medicated shampoos are available to treat the head lice, the head should be combed, and bugs should be removed thoroughly along with their eggs.

Atopic dermatitis

Dermatitis is a skin irritation that may occur due to various skin problems. Atopic dermatitis or eczema may be caused by allergens or environmental factors like dry and cold weather or pollen, pet fur, dust mites, etc. 

Seborrheic dermatitis

Dermatitis causes the color change of the scalp skin, with swelling, redness, and greasiness. There are medicated shampoos, creams, and ointments to help treat scalp eczema. 

Pilar cysts

The type of cyst with fluid and keratin develops on the scalp inside the hair follicles. They go away with time, but swelling can be reduced by applying a warm press. In case of infection inside the cyst, a doctor consultation should be taken. Antibiotics help with the infected cysts, and in some cases, surgical removal is also recommended. 


Raised bumps may also have hives or rashes. They occur due to allergic reactions in different parts of the body, especially the scalp. Their treatment includes corticosteroids or antihistamines as prescribed by the doctor.

Skin cancer

Mutation of skin cells or melanocytes causes abnormal growth of melanin-producing skin cells, which is called skin cancer. Melanoma on the scalp may occur as lumps due to a mutation in different types of cells like squamous cells, basal cells, or Merkel cells leading to different kinds of carcinoma. The lumps formed due to cell carcinoma differ in color, texture, and appearance. 

  • 1. Lumps formed from Squamous cell carcinoma are flesh-colored with thick, scaling, and ulcer skin.
  • 2. Lumps formed on the head as a result of cancerous basal cells are smooth and pearly in appearance.
  • 3. Lumps formed due to cancerous Merkel cells appear red or violet colored, with raised appearance. 

Lumps formed on the scalp because of skin cancer may alter the appearance, color, and size. They need appropriate diagnosis and treatment by a dermatologist immediately.

Scalp psoriasis

Thick patches of skin having a white or silvery appearance are scalp psoriasis. Their treatment requires topical ointments, medicated shampoos, and combination strategies. 

Key takeaway

Head bumps or lumps on the scalp may occur as a result of various health issues like acne, folliculitis, eczema, pilar cysts, psoriasis, hives, and skin cancer. Some scalp bumps can be treated with medicated shampoos, topical ointments, and other antimicrobial medications, but some require urgent dermatologist consultation and surgery. 

How can we manage Scalp Folliculitis?

To manage scalp folliculitis:

  • 1. Warm compress
  • 2. Antibacterial soap
  • 3. Anti-dandruff hair shampoo
  • 4. Cortisone cream
  • 5. Antibiotic ointment
  • 6. Lukewarm water
  • 7. Washing

Scalp Acne

Scalp acne is the breakouts or pimples on the hairline or scalp and can become a complicated health condition. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can stress cause pimples on the scalp?

Stress and lack of sleep cause pimples on the scalp due to increased cortisol hormone levels. In response to increased levels of the hormone cortisol, oil production increases, which causes scalp acne.

Can scalp pimples cause problems of hair loss?

Increased severity of scalp acne may lead to pain and hair fall because of nodule formation and permanent dark crusts on hair roots.

  • 1. How to get rid of scalp pimples naturally?
  • 2. Tomato juice
  • 3. Tea tree hair oil (anti-inflammatory properties)
  • 4. Apple cider vinegar
  • 5. Jasmine essential hair oil
  • 6. Garlic

What causes pus pimples on the scalp?

Pus pimples occur mainly due to bacterial infection, usually Staphylococcus. 

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