What causes pimple like bumps on your scalp? A focus on bumps on scalp, itchy, lumps, large, small, cyst, painful as well as how to get rid of them

bumps on scalp

bumps on scalp

Bumps on Scalp Causes

Pimple-like bumps on head can be brought by several conditions, including the seborrheic dermatitis as well as the folliculitis. Although the illnesses have very different causes, both of them can be much bothersome and dangerous if left untreated. Pimple-like scalp bumps may be embarrassing as well as very difficult to hide, making it is much important to understand the causes and remedies.

Pimple-like bumps on scalp may be tender, scaly, inflamed and sometimes red in appearance. The bumps may also be crusty and can be filled with a pus-like material. They might also be surrounded by oily skin. In addition, the hair loss can happen in the area of the scalp around the bump.

Sometimes, such as when the bumps are the result of the seborrheic dermatitis, red bumps and the scaling can appear on other areas of the body like the ears, nose and eyelids.

Red, painful bumps on scalp can also appear for several other reasons. Skin conditions, infections and irritation can lead to hair follicle inflammation, causing pimple-like bumps or even the rashes and even hair loss in some other areas.

Understanding the possible reasons for the development might assist to guide treatment and responsiveness. Some other conditions may need immediate medical attention. If bumps persist and the pain becomes much bothersome, then you should contact a physician for an evaluation and treatment.

Tinea capitis, or ringworm of the scalp, leads to a round, red, scaly bumps on the surface of the scalp. This is because of the mold-like fungus tinea that infects the skin and then quickly progresses if not well controlled.

Bumps are normally painful with an incessant itchiness and can be filled with the pus, according to doctors. Ringworm of the scalp needs antifungal medication that is prescribed by a doctor. Multiple treatments are also common.

Folliculitis is the inflammation of one or many hair follicles anywhere on the skin. It starts when hair follicles are damaged due to the external irritation of the obstructed follicles. In general therefore, the area appears red, bumpy and even pimple-like, exhibiting pain and also itching.

Folliculitis decalvans is a condition that affects only the scalp and causes bumps on scalp where the hair never grows back. Staphylococcus aureus is the bacteria that is responsible for the condition and normally requires many antibiotic treatments so as to ward off the infection.

According to researchers, red, bumpy patches of skin that has soreness that can extend beyond the hair line shows a scalp psoriasis. Symptoms are very similar to sebhorreic dermatitis of the scalp where there is no pain but just itchiness as well as the bumps remaining confined by the hairline. The condition can range from a mild to severe with a very thick, crusted plaques that accompanies basic symptoms.

The researchers also says that scalp psoriasis might also become less responsive to the medications over time, so rotating or even combining of the treatments assists to fight the condition. Tar products and salicylic acid assist treat mild cases, whereas prescription of the topical or oral treatments needs evaluation by a health care professional.

Bumps on the scalp can be brought about by a skin condition known as seborrheic dermatitis. According to the doctors, the illness happens due to the yeast malassezia and an excess production of oil on the skin.

Triggers can include stress, infrequent bathing, alcohol that has lotions and obesity. Red bumps may also be due to the scalp infection known as folliculitis. This happens when the hair follicles are infected by the fungus, virus or even bacteria after becoming damaged.

Other scalp problems

Hair loss

Hair loss, including thinning as well as breaking, is the most common scalp problem. Most of the people lose about 100 hairs per day.

Hair gradually thins as people age, although not all people are affected to the same extent. Hereditary thinning or even balding is the most common reason for the thinning hair. You can also inherit this from the family.

Women that have this trait develop thinning hair, while men can become completely bald. The condition might start at any age.

Babies normally lose their fine baby hair that is then replaced by mature hair. Due to the changes in the hormones, women normally lose hair for about 6 months after childbirth or even after breast-feeding is completed.

Other possible causes for the excessive hair loss or breakage are:

  • Damage to the hair that results from hair care products, like dyes and permanents, and from hot rollers, or hair dryers.
  • Hair-pulling or even hair-twisting habits. Trichotillomania is a mental health problem where a person pulls out his or her own hair, normally from the head and eyebrows.
  • Side effects of the medicines or even the medical treatments, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
  • Recent surgery, or emotional stress. You can have a lot of hair loss from 4 weeks to 3 months after very severe physical or emotional stress. This type of hair loss normally stops within a few months.
  • Diseases, like lupus and hyperthyroidism.
  • Heavy metal poisoning, like thallium or arsenic poisoning.
  • Poor nutrition, more especially lack of protein or even the iron in the diet.
  • Damage to the hair shafts from burns or any other injuries.

Itching, flaking, or crusting of the scalp

Itching, flaking, or even crusting of the scalp may be brought about by:

  • Cradle cap, yellow crusting on a baby’s scalp. It is common in the babies and is not brought about by an illness. It does not imply that a baby is not being well cared for.
  • Dandruff is a shedding of the skin on the scalp that leaves the white flakes on the head, neck, and even the shoulders. It can also be a form of a skin condition known as eczema that leads to increased shedding of the normal scalp skin cells. Dandruff can also be brought about by a fungal infection. Hormonal or even seasonal changes can make the dandruff worse.
  • Head lice are the tiny wingless insects that leas to itching and also raw patches on the scalp. Head lice are the most common in school-age children.

Itchy Bumps on Scalp

painful pimples on scalp

painful pimples on scalp

  1. Unwashed Hair

When the hair (especially the oily hair) is not washed properly and frequently enough, skin cells can build up on the scalp and lead to bumps on scalp and dandruff. Prevention is thus by simply maintaining of a good hygiene and washing of the scalp hair at least once a week.

  1. Dry Scalp Skin

Dry scalp skin lacking the protective oil layer, is much vulnerable to the infections, and easily gets bumps on scalp. From the top of the head or even the hairline skin cells in the form of the white dust (dry dandruff) can shed. Common reasons for the dry flaky scalp are:

  • Frequent hair washing using hot water and also aggressive shampoos
  • Holding hair dryer that is close to the head
  • Cold windy weather in combination with the dry air from an indoor heating

Prevention is by using of the shampoos for dry hair.

  1. Stress

Stress is a very common cause of bumps on scalp. Neck is also normally affected.

  1. Neurogenic Excoriation

Scratching from the psychical reasons can lead to bumps on scalp (neurogenic excoriations).

  1. Dandruff, brought about by Fungi

Dandruff are whitish, greasy, few millimeters in size that are appearing in the hair and falling on shoulders. The bumps on scalp is very itchy and can also be reddened. The common cause for the fungus Malassezia furfur that normally lives on the scalp, but can overgrow on the greasy scalp, irritating it and leading to scaling.

Dandruff can be related to seborrheic dermatitis in which the irritated oil glands normally produce excessive amount of oil leading to an inflamed reddened scalp. Besides the scalp, the eyebrows or even the eyelids, skin on the sides of the nose and in the groin may be affected.

Lumps on Scalp

The symptoms of the lumps on scalp brought about by various reasons can be;

  • Usually lumps on scalp are very much round or oval in shape which are most of the time very harmless
  • There are lumps that may be painful and can be a reason to worry about.
  • Lumps on scalp that are due to Seborrheic keratoses are normally colorless or even dark brown in color and like any other lump, are very round or oval in shape. However, they can also change their color and shape or even become irregular in shape if irritated.
  • Lumps on skin brought about by the common warts occur in the form of hard clusters or bumps on the scalp.

Round, bumps on scalp that are mostly harmless and known as lumps can happen due to several conditions. So, determining the best possible treatment for the bumps on scalp depends basically on the underlying reason.

  1. Pilar Cysts: Pilar cysts are the cysts that emerge as a round lump on the scalp and are normally painless which may range from a pea size to a size of a small apple. These are normally harmless and are formed by a collection of oil as well as dead skin cells that are under the top layer of the scalp.

It is important to get rid of these cysts or the bumps on scalp as they can weaken the hair follicles and lead to falling of hair on a temporary basis. Such kind of cysts or the lumps on scalp are common in females and are also mostly hereditary.

  1. Moles: Moles are also called Nevi and like any other part, may also grow on the scalp. Lumps on the scalp or the moles might be removed by cosmetic procedures. They are very harmless and painless.

Large Bumps on Scalp

large bumps on scalp

large bumps on scalp

As the pre-pimple becomes larger in size and more visible, it becomes a comedone which is a whitehead or a blackhead. The comedone might become inflamed and red, and it may fill with pus, then, a zit is born.

Small Bumps on Scalp

Bumps on scalp acne is much less common than acne on the face or even the back, but it normally develops in the same way. Skin naturally produces a protective layer of oil called sebum. Sebum makes its way to the skin’s surface through the pores, and excess oil, or other substances can clog them. Bacteria also multiply in the trapped sebum, leading to a pre-pimple.

Any pimple including one that pops up on the scalp is brought about by some sort of blockage in the pore. It’s a little harder to say exactly what leads to the blockage. Hormones play a part, as does the quantity of oil the skin produces. People who have oily skin seem to be very prone to acne of all types.

Painful Bumps on Scalp

Scalp folliculitis is going to appear when the hair follicles get much engorged with pus and sebum, this will then create an ideal environment for the proliferation of the bacteria, they will then end up clogging the hair follicle and thus creating pus filled pimples.

Their color may be white or red.

If they are not much inflamed, the color is going to be white, however if they are inflamed, they are going to be very red and are also going to inflamed and the nearby skin areas.

Epidermal cysts can resemble in a very close way the scalp folliculitis in the fact that the sebum is going to get blocked in the hair follicles, but, the only difference is that with the epidermal cysts, the pimples tend to be very large and also much more painful.

You can also notice inflammation as well as the redness of the skin

Cyst on Scalp

A pilar cyst, also called a trichilemmal cyst, is a keratin-filled cyst that normally originates from the outer hair root sheath. Keratin is the protein that normally makes up hair and nails. Pilar cysts are most commonly found on the scalp and are very frequent in middle-aged females.

They usually run in the family, as they have an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance, the tendency to the cysts can be is passed on by a parent to their child, and the child has about 1 in 2 likelihood of inheriting it.

Pilar cysts may appear similar to the epidermoid cysts and are normally incorrectly termed sebaceous cysts. Pilar cysts looks like one or more firm, subcutaneous nodules measuring 0.5 to 5 cm in diameter. There is no central punctum, unlike an epidermoid cyst. Pilar cyst might be painful if inflamed.

It is not very necessary to get rid of the pilar cysts caused bumps on scalp, if they are not leading to any symptoms. But, incision and drainage under local anesthesia gives comfort, and elective excision before the rupture prevents scarring.

Surgical treatment then involves either of the following methods:

  • Enucleation of the cyst that is removal without cutting into it and then leaving surrounding skin intact
  • Incision followed by an expression of the contents and removal of the cyst wall – this is normally best achieved using of a surgical punch that has the cyst expressed through the hole

Acute inflammation after rupture is misdiagnosed as bacterial infection. Antibiotics are of very little value unless the actual infection is present.

Both epidermoid as well as the pilar cysts are very smooth round bumps on scalp where you can see and feel just under the skin surface. They are very common. Often they are too small (pea size) but sometimes they slowly get bigger over several months to become a few centimeters long in diameter. They also appear very similar to each other but can be distinguished from each other if the cells that form the cyst sac are looked at under a strong microscope.

Both epidermoid as well as the pilar cysts normally cause no symptoms. Occasionally:

  • They become much infected, when they can also become red, inflamed as well as painful. A course of antibiotics will normally clear an infection if it occurs.
  • The cyst can leak the toothpaste-like material on to the skin if the cyst is punctured.
  • A little horn can grow on the skin over the cyst.
  • A cyst can also form in an uncomfortable place like the genital skin or even beside a nail.

Red Bumps on Scalp

cyst on scalp

cyst on scalp

Some people who have lice never realize they’re infested. But, there are several telltale signs that the bugs are found on the scalp. These include:

  • A ticklish feeling on the scalp.
  • An itchy scalp (the result of an allergic reaction to the bug’s saliva).
  • Small red bumps on the scalp and shoulders.
  • The presence of lice on the scalp.
  • The presence of nits on shafts of hair.
  • Difficulty in sleeping, which can cause irritability.

Some people who have lice may also develop sores on the scalp. Such sores are likely the result of the bacteria from the person’s own body and thereby infecting an opening in the skin made by scratching,.

How to Get Rid of Bumps on Scalp

Both the seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis can be very dangerous if left untreated. Besides leading to embarrassment and problems with self-esteem, both of this conditions can cause serious fungal or even bacterial infections.

These infections might eventually travel to the bloodstream and the lymph nodes. With the folliculitis, painful boils may also develop under the skin’s surface, leading to the extreme pain and scarring. In addition to this, permanent hair loss can occur if the hair follicle becomes destroyed.

Seborrheic dermatitis may also benefit from over-the-counter shampoos that have medications like salicylic acid or zinc. In severe cases, a doctor may also prescribe corticosteroid or ketoconazole shampoos. Scalp bumps because of folliculitis can be remedied using topical or oral antibiotics.

These may also treat the infection and assist to reduce any itching or inflammation. Chronic or painful bumps that are boil-like may need surgical drainage so as to increase recovery time and relieve pain.

The doctors also suggests that a patient contact a doctor or even a dermatologist if scalp bumps are persistent or do not respond to any home treatments. It is also crucial that the sufferer treat the bumps carefully and very gently. In the case of an infection, then he should wash the scalp at least two times a day with an antibacterial soap.

Further references;

  1. Head Lice: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention:
  2. Pilar cyst:
  3. Epidermoid and Pilar Cysts (Sebaceous Cysts):
  4. How to get rid of sore and painful pimples on your scalp safely and efficiently:
  5. Causes of Scalp Pimples:
  6. What Causes Lumps on Scalp and Natural Remedies to Get Rid of It: