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Treating Scalp Acne with Glycolic Acid

AHA Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Facial acne outbreaks are a common occurrence for teens and adults, but now a spotlight is on a similarly ubiquitous  – but often hidden – form: scalp acne. While scalp acne can be  embarrassing, this skin issue can be easily, effectively, and affordably treated with glycolic acid-based scalp treatments and shampoos.

Scalp acne basics

Folliculitis is a skin condition where the hair follicle become clogged or inflamed – and scalp acne is simply another form of folliculitis. In cases of scalp folliculitis, the hair follicles on the head become inflamed and/or clogged from dead skin cells, natural oil, or bacteria. Once pores become inflamed or clogged, the hair follicle and pore becomes plugged, and this leads to the formation of a blemish.

Scalp acne blemishes are often small and itchy pimples, located along the hairline or even underneath the hair. Without treatment, the blemishes can become sore or burst open, due to the usage of brushes, combs, and rough physical exfoliating treatments.

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Similar to acne on the face or body, scalp acne falls into three categories, according to Healthline:

  • Mild, including blackheads and whiteheads
  • Moderate, including papules and pustules, which appear on the skin’s surface
  • Severe, includomg nodules and cysts, which are imbedded under the skin

The causes?

Scalp acne has a variety of causes, including not washing the hair frequently enough, or delaying showering after sweaty activities. Additionally, hats or scarves, or any items that cause friction on the head, can lead to scalp breakouts. Heavy or irritating hair products can also lead to buildup on the scalp and eventually clog pores, causing a blemish flareup. 

However, the most likely cause of breakouts on the head or hairline is a buildup of dead skin cells on the scalp, which leads to the formation of pimples. Luckily, chemical exfoliation with hero ingredient glycolic acid is a gentle and effective option for consumers to heal current scalp acne outbreaks and prevent blemishes in the future.

Solving scalp acne with glycolic acid

In order to both prevent and treat scalp acne outbreaks, exfoliation is key. Exfoliation prevents the buildup of dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil on the scalp, which keeps the head and hairline free of clogged pores and their subsequent whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, and cysts. And for superior scalp exfoliation, glycolic acid is the unparalleled ingredient to accomplish the task at hand, because this Alpha Hydroxy Acid is quick, effective, and gentle

“If acne bumps develop, look for products containing glycolic acid or even tea tree oil to apply directly to the offending bumps. This can assist in eliminating bacteria and speeding the process of eradicating the pimple,” said dermatologist Shari Hicks-Graham to Allure.

Glycolic acid is the unparalleled ingredient to accomplish the task at hand

Glycolic acid is excellent at combating scalp acne, because it is the skincare ingredient most able to quickly penetrate the walls of the clogged skin cell of a blemish. Thanks to its small molecule size, glycolic acid can easily permeate the walls of a blemish and rapidly dissolve the bonds holding the plugged skin cells together.

This has a one-two punch for the scalp acne sufferer. First, the blemish is quickly and effectively reduced down in size and inflammation. Secondly, since glycolic acid also drives new skin cells to the surface of the scalp, healing and recovery time of any sore, itchy, or burst blemishes is exponentially decreased.

Plus, regular scalp treatment with glycolic acid-based products ensures regular and prompt skin cell exfoliation on the head, preventing future problems over the long term. 

Providing help for a common problem

Many consumers are embarrassed by hairline and scalp acne, but this combination haircare and skincare problem afflicts millions around the globe. Fortunately, formulators can provide solutions, ranging from the very gentle to the more intensive, with glycolic acid-based shampoos and scalp treatments that promote scalp exfoliation, blot out blemishes, and prevent the scalp acne cycle from re-occuring in the future. 

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