Red Bumps on Head & How to Get Rid of Small Itchy Red Bumps on Head
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Red Bumps on Head & How to Get Rid of Small Itchy Red Bumps on Head

Several skin conditions may be to blame for red bumps on head. Minor adjustments to your hair care regime may help and so can over-the-counter treatments even though some cases warrant a visit to a dermatologist.

Small Red Bumps on Head That Are Not Itchy

Scalp acne is often to blame for red bumps on the head that don’t itch. Although less common than facial acne, scalp acne occurs in the same way; when excess sebum and dead skin cells clog the pores in the scalp.

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When that happens, bacteria multiply in the sebum trapped underneath leading to the formation of a microcomedone. As its size increase, the microcomedone becomes a comedone, usually a whitehead or a blackhead.

The comedone may then become inflamed and turn red and in some cases it can even be filled with pus.

People with oily skin are more prone to scalp acne – and facial acne for that matter.

Some hair products may also contain ingredients that clog scalp pores leading to an acne outbreak that then manifests itself as red non-itchy bumps.


–          Remove any unnecessary styling product from your hair care regimen, more so the varieties that are excessively oily

–          Wash your hair regularly with gentle shampoo to remove excess oil

–          A shampoo containing salicylic acid also helps keep the pores unclogged

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–          Rinse the scalp with tea tree oil

–          Mix fenugreek leaves – available in most health food store – with water and then apply the paste on the scalp for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.

Itchy Red Bumps on Head

Scalp bumps are typically red and may be tender, scaly, inflamed and itchy. In some instances they are surrounded by oily skin and may be accompanied by hair loss in the affected areas of scalp.

Some of the typical causes of itchy red bumps on the head are:

Folliculitis: This is an inflammation of hair follicles that occurs as a result of a bacterial infection. You will know that you are dealing with folliculitis if the inflammation seems to be confined mainly to the base of hair strands.

Self-care measures  

The Mayo clinic recommends applying warm compresses on the bumps to soothe the irritation. This entails soaking a washcloth in warm water, wringing it to get rid of excess water and finally placing it on the affected area of scalp until it becomes cool. This helps to relieve the irritation by encouraging the bumps to drain.

Use a new washcloth every time to avoid spreading the infection.

The bumps also respond well to treatment with topical antibiotics such as Neosporin or oral antibiotics. This helps to treat the infection and lessen the inflammation.

In addition you will want to keep the scalp clean and stay away from hair styling products with alcohol as this are usually harsh and may worsen the symptoms. Instead, wash the scalp with mild soap and then pat it dry with a clean towel.

You may then want to apply an oatmeal lotion or hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itching associated with scalp folliculitis.

Boil-like bumps may necessitate surgical drainage and so can bumps that persist for too long Talk to your doctor or dermatologist for appropriate advice.

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Seborrheic dermatitis: Seborrheic dermatitis can also cause itchy, red bumps on the head. A combination of yeast (malassezia) and excess oil on the skin is usually to blame for this condition as the MedlinePlus website points out.

The condition can be triggered by factors such as stress, fatigue, obesity, poor hygiene i.e. infrequent washing of the head, autoimmune diseases, weather variations, and use of alcohol-containing products. The red bumps due to seborrheic dermatitis may sometimes spread to other areas of skin such as the ears, eyelids and nose.


Using over-the-counter anti-fungal shampoos with ingredients such as selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, resorcin, and zinc is usually recommended for treatment of red bumps due to seborrheic dermatitis. These are available in most drugstores.

Severe cases may require a prescription of corticosteroid cream or ketoconazole shampoos. Your dermatologist may also prescribe some oral antifungal medications.

Head lice: Another likely culprit for those ugly red bumps on your scalp is a head lice infestation. Head lice are small insects that typically live on the scalp but may as well be found in eyelashes and eyebrows.

They are usually spread through contact with another person who have them or by sharing household items such as towels, brushes, combs etc with such people.

Head lice cause intense itching and red bumps on scalp and are notable for tiny white specks (eggs) at the bottom of individual hair strands that are hard to come out.

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Treatment and self-care measures

–          Use over-the-counter shampoo and lotion products with 1% permethrin

–          Wash all beddings and clothes thoroughly with how water and detergent

–          If these measures fail, seek medical attention. Your doctor may give you stronger medications

Red Bumps on Head of Penis

Red bumps on head of penis? Then you may be dealing with one of the following conditions:

Angiokertomas: This condition is characterized by small red (or purple) bumps that have a thick surface similar to that of a wart. Although it is more common in older men, the condition can also affect younger men.

Treatment is usually not required for angiokertomas.

Cyst: A cyst can also be to blame for that red bump on your penis. It can grow in size and change color over time depending on whether it is filled with a solid substance, air, or a liquid. Although cysts are not infectious and treatment is typically not required, you can choose to have them removed.

Red Bumps with White Head

What about these red bumps with white head, you ask? Well, those are most likely regular papules (pimples) due to mild acne. Papules are red (or pink) bumps that have a soft white surface that is full of fluid and oil.

According to Paula Begoun, the author of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me, papules occur when a clogged skin pore rupture and white fluid finds its way to the surface of the skin.

She recommends using over-the-counter products with benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid for treatment of such bumps. Warm compresses can also help and so can washing the scalp with antibacterial soap.

Red Bumps on Head That Hurt

As for red bumps on head that hurt, folliculitis is most likely to blame. The pain is usually the result of inflammation of hair follicles.

Try using warm compresses (dabbing the scalp with washcloth dampened with warm water) and applying an antibiotic cream such as Polysporin. If that fails, talk to your doctor. S/he might give you stronger prescription medication.

Make sure that you follow the instructions provided carefully as failure to follow your doctors’ directions can lead to serious side-effects.

How to Get Rid of Red Bumps on Head

“I have just noticed some red bumps on my head (inside hair) that are very itchy. What is the best way to get rid of them?”

That is a question sent to us by one of our readers in the comment section of another related article.

Well, the appropriate way to get rid of red bumps on the head depends on the underlying cause. If the bumps seem to be at the base of inflamed hair follicles, then you could be dealing with scalp folliculitis. Your best bet is to use warm compresses and dab some antibiotic cream. To relieve itching, you may want to apply some hydrocortisone cream.

As for scalp acne, wash the scalp regularly with a gentle shampoo, preferably one containing salicylic acid or wash the scalp with tea tree oil every now and then.

Seborheic acid is best treated with anti-fungal creams that are available in most drugstores but if this doesn’t help, see your dermatologist.

We have discussed all these options in more details in previous sections of this article.

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