Are The Bumps On The Back Of Your Head Acne?
The back of the head is an unusual spot for acne. If it’s one or two isolated bumps, it may be ordinary acne, but a cluster is guaranteed to be something else.
Since these pimples aren't the same as face acne, topical acne products will not work. Acne creams will be ineffective at best, and can irritate the skin and make the bumps look even gnarlier.
Who Gets These Bumps?
These bumps are almost exclusively found on men with curly hair, and men with thick hair that grows quickly. Notice I said men? Why don’t women get these bumps?
Because women don’t typically get fades. That’s right, it’s not your hygiene, or plain old bad luck, it’s your haircut and the type of hair you have.
Bodybuilders are also in danger of acne keloidalis. Excess testosterone is well-known to exacerbate male pattern baldness, but what most people overlook is that it can cause the remaining hair to grow thicker and faster.
Why Does The Fade Haircut Cause Nasty Bumps?
Even though your barber may use clippers instead of a razor to do your fade, the result is the same. The hair comes off, along with some skin. The skin goes into overdrive to replace the layer it has lost, which is fine, but then when the hair grows back, it’s no match for the newer, tougher skin that’s now blocking its way to freedom.
Anytime you shave anywhere, you can get ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs start off barely-noticeable, but if left untreated can make their presence known. What’s worse, the back of your head is often irritated by hats and shirt collars. This allows bacteria to join the party. Due to you not having eyes back there, it’s easy to develop a pretty serious problem without even knowing about it.
How To Treat Folliculitis / Acne Keloidalis
Folliculitis are inflamed bumps after shaving. Acne Keloidalis is untreated or mistreated folliculitis that is now infected with bacteria and other fun things.
If your acne is already really bad, the first step is to not irritate it further. That means no more close shaves to the area. Make sure that your shirt collar doesn't rub up against the back of your neck. Avoid hats. When washing the area, be gentle. This is essentially an open wound on the back of your head. Use mild soap and don't scrub hard.
Next, get thee to a dermatologist. Acne creams for the face are way too harsh for the back of your head. You can't use them. Instead, you need acne medication. These are essentially antibiotics that are targeted for common skin bacteria. They'll kill the bacteria that is causing your ingrown hair bumps to become inflamed and gross. Once the bumps calm down, your body can heal itself.
It's important to not put this off. If left untreated, these bumps can scar up. They can even cause permanent hair loss in the back of the head.
An Alternative To The Fade Haircut
When Can I Go Back To Shaving My Head?
Unfortunately, some people are just prone to these things. It's possible that the fade haircut just isn't for you.
In order to make it less likely that you'll have a folliculitis flare-up, keep taking your acne medication. Your acne might look okay now, but that doesn't mean it can't come back. Avoid getting a skin fade, or if you must, only get one once a month, instead of once every two weeks. Avoid shirt collars and jacket collars that rub the back of your head.
Some people find they need to wash their head more, while others actually find it's better to wash less often. Listen to your skin.
In any case, don't wait for your significant other to make a snarky comment, and don't count on your barber to be straight with you. Check the back of your head to make sure everything is still peachy.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2020 Jo Gavilan