5 Natural Scalp Acne Treatment Methods That Will Clear Your Skin Without Ruining Your Hair

Oils are arguably our hair's best friend, especially if you've got naturally kinky strands. Not only do they restore moisture, reverse damage, and protect us from free radicals, they also plant nutrients in an area of our body that's often lacking in the nutrition to stay healthy and acne free: Our scalp. Since most of our scalps are completely covered in hair, it's no wonder we aren't spoiling our scalps the same way we spoil our faces. Most of us can escape or easily treat things like dandruff, dry, or irritated scalps, but treating scalp acne can be a brutal task. OTC acne medications can work, but many contain benzoyl peroxide, which can bleach and dry out hair in some cases, according to sources like Livestrong.

If your hair is naturally dry, applying heavy butters or oils is one of the only options to maintain moisture — but it can have some less-than-desirable side effects. One of my pals has been plagued with scalp acne since she went natural. Another friend swears his reason behind skipping conditioning in his hair regimen isn't laziness at all, but rather the fact that his scalp always seems to break out. The skin on our scalp is very similar to the rest of our bod and sebum, the defense mechanism our skin produces naturally, will make its way out of our pores and anything from dead skin to bacteria can get in the way making pimples an inevitable occurrence. Fortunately, nature has everything you need to fight re-occurring scalp acne. 

Ideally, treating scalp acne shouldn't affect your hair. I mean, come on, you want a reward after conquering any beauty problem, not a punishment of brittle, dull locks right? Right. That's why natural remedies can really work in your favor for this beauty crisis. Here are some natural remedies for treating scalp acne that will help you maintain a healthy scalp and strands with limited irritation for a fraction of the cost of OTC treatments.

1. Tomato Juice

Tomatoes are an excellent way to establish a healthy pH for our skin and hair, plus they're packed with salicylic acid. That's what makes tomatoes one of the best natural remedies for acne. According to How Stuff Works, topical treatments high in salicylic acid  are especially effective in treating scalp acne. Give your hair a quick tomato juice rinse to stimulate hair growth, add shine, and of course, relieve those pesky scalp pimples.

2. Garlic

While we're on the subject of salicylic acid... garlic has plenty of it, not to mention a crazy amount of antioxidants, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Focus on the healthy aspects of garlic and less on the potent smell, because it can easily be rinsed out. Rinse your locks with a garlic tea, using four peeled cloves of garlic and approximately three cups of boiled water.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Trader Joes Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, $12, Amazon

I've used apple cider vinegar as a restorative hair rinse many times, but I never considered that it was working overtime keeping my scalp as healthy as my 'fro. With an innate ability to restore pH levels and all those antioxidants, ACV is def one of the easiest and more popular ways to treat scalp acne naturally. Not only will a simple rinse of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water give your hair a healthy boost, you'll also give your scalp astringent properties that can alleviate painful blemishes.

4. Tea Tree Oil

The Vitamin Shoppe 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil, $17, Amazon

Obviously, you can't really discuss any type of natural acne treatment without mentioning tea tree oil. This powerful essential oil has some serious anti-inflammatory properties. Purchasing shampoos with tea tree oil in it is a great way to prevent for pimples on your scalp. If you're looking to get rid of a blemish covered in hair, apply ice on the site for about 7 minutes (or as long as it takes for the ice to completely melt) and then apply tea tree oil to continue keeping the inflammation down. This is a great method for one-off pimples on the scalp.

5. Jasmine Essential Oil

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Jasmine essential oil is a great way to combat outbreaks anywhere your the body, but since benzoic acid is present and it naturally removes dead skin cells (a common cause of breakouts on the scalp) it's perfect for treating scalp acne. For treatment, dilute jasmine essential oil with grape seed oil and massage directly onto your scalp. Grape seed oil shouldn't clog your pores and many claim that the oil has actually helped clear their acne as well. According to Livestrong, grape seed oil contains vitamin E and linoleic acid which are excellent treatments for blemishes.

 Image: Philip Dehm, liz west/Flickr; Giphy; Kristin Collins Jackson; Eugenio Marongiu/Fotolia

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