What Is Acne Shampoo?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2019
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Acne shampoo is a hair cleanser designed to treat scalp pimples. It contains primarily organic and natural ingredients that restore the pH balance of the scalp without causing excessive dryness. This product is designed to cleanse deep to the root of each hair follicle to remove bacterial growth and any buildup of oil. It can be purchased from some specialty beauty salons, and through Internet ordering.

Scalp pimples can be caused by a pH imbalance in the scalp — when the pH of the hair and scalp are high, they tend to cause a build up of bacteria. Some bacteria is naturally occurring on the surface of the skin and in hair, however, an imbalance in the environment of the hair can cause this potentially harmless organism to overproduce and infect hair follicles.

An infected hair follicle is one in which bacteria has begun to build around the root follicle of a hair, often referred to as folliculitis. This condition can be initially difficult to see and diagnose. The growth of the bacteria happens beneath the surface of the scalp. It can cause an itching sensation in the sufferer, and lead to dry, flaky patches of scalp, as well as swollen areas around individual hair follicles.


When left untreated, this bacterial growth can lead to a complete plug of the hair follicle. Sebum is an oil which is naturally found in hair and gives it a lustrous shine and supple feel. When scalp pimples begin to form, sebum builds up at the root of a hair shaft, unable to exit the scalp due to the overabundance of bacteria. Open sores can result when this oil and bacteria are not cleansed from the hair follicle. Acne shampoo seeks to cleans these follicles, without drying the hair and removing the normal levels of sebum necessary to maintaining its health.

Acne shampoo contains a variety of ingredients designed to restore the pH balance of the scalp and kill the overgrowth of bacteria. Common ingredients in this type of product include zinc, fenugreek, burdock root, and tea tree oil which penetrate the outer layer of the scalp and soak deep into the roots of the hair. They eliminate bacterial growth over time, and cleanse the follicle to prevent new growth.

Individuals who suffer from scalp pimples can benefit from using acne shampoo regularly. An additional conditioning product may be necessary for new users to combat the severity of an untreated outbreak. Once the initial pimples, swelling, and flaking has subsided, users can stop using the leave-in conditioner and treat hair with daily washes.


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Post 2

@spotiche5- I think the answer to your question depends on how bad your friend's scalp acne is, and whether or not she has tried this type of shampoo in the past.

If your friend has been using different types of acne shampoo and none have helped, she needs to talk to her doctor about a prescription shampoo. Since this formula often contains medications and are stronger than over-the-counter acne shampoos, it is likely to give her better results. Your friend should also consider using prescription-strength acne shampoo if she has a severe case of acne on her scalp, because it may not respond to a milder shampoo.

On the other hand, if your friend just has mild scalp acne and hasn't tried an acne shampoo before, I think that an over-the-counter shampoo for acne should work fine. At least by trying one first, she will save money and a trip to the doctor if it works for her.

Post 1

Is the best type of acne shampoo available over the counter, or do prescription varieties work better? I have a friend who is trying to find one that works well, but she doesn't want to go to the doctor.

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