Does dandruff trigger breakouts on the scalp? And does the length of your hair play a role in the formation of acne on your face? How must you rid your oily scalp of dandruff? In this guide, we’ve roped in Dr. Sravya Tipirneni, MD DVL AMPH, to answer these perplexing questions - from deep-diving into the condition to rounding up some of the most effective remedies to counter dandruff, acne, and scalp-related issues, this guide has it all!



Does dandruff trigger acne?

Does dandruff trigger acne?

It’s possible that the condition is triggering acne on your skin - this includes breakouts on your scalp, face, back, and scalp. Because dandruff clogs your pores - and acne is caused by clogged pores resulting from a build-up of oils and dead skin cells - it can lead to the development of breakouts on your skin. According to Dr. Tipirneni, the condition is identified as ‘malassezia folliculitis’, saying that dandruff is associated with a yeast called ‘malassezia’. This infection presents itself like acne, and it’s commonly seen in teenagers as well as individuals who sweat excessively. And it grows more on the scalp as well as adjoining regions like the upper-back, upper-chest, scalp, and forehead. On the scalp, it presents itself as itchy pustules or pus-filled pimples. 



How do you get rid of pimples caused by dandruff?

How do you get rid of pimples caused by dandruff?

There are a few ways you can remedy these breakouts. Dr. Tipirneni says antifungal shampoos, tablets, and sprays can reduce eruptions on the skin caused by dandruff. Here are 5 other suggestions you might benefit from:

Buy an anti-dandruff shampoo

An anti-dandruff shampoo is laden with ingredients that can treat the condition from the root. Work the formula into your routine once or twice a week - or as suggested by the product. 

We swear by the Dove Dandruff Care Shampoo for Dry Itchy & Flaky Scalp. Unlike other formulas, it gets rid of dandruff without leaving your hair dry. It’s infused with two powerful formulas —  ZPTO (gets rid of flakes from the first wash itself) and Micro Moisture Serum (lends superior moisturisation). Tough on dandruff, gentle on your hair. 

Tie your hair

Make sure that your hair isn't in constant contact with your face. The dandruff from your hair, coupled with sweat, dirt, and external pollutants, can clog the pores on your skin, and irritate your face. And this can lead to the formation of pimples. 

Apply lime 

Lime is known to possess antibacterial properties that cleanse the scalp. Just apply a little bit of juice to the scalp for 20-30 minutes. And wash it off with lukewarm water after. Once your dandruff starts clearing, you'll notice that your skin has started clearing as well. Applying aloe vera or apple cider vinegar can help too.

Brush your hair

We tend to forget to brush our hair regularly - even though it doesn't take longer than a minute to rid our hair of tangles. Brushing can slough off any dead cells on the scalp, and increase circulation (which is vital for the health of your scalp). Make sure you brush your hair at least twice a day.

Apply conditioner correctly 

When you're conditioning your hair, ensure that you're sticking to the mid-lengths to the tips of your hair. Conditioners aren't meant for the scalp. The residue of the conditioner can make the scalp oily, and this can worsen the dandruff.


How can I get rid of dandruff on an oily scalp?

How can I get rid of dandruff on an oily scalp?

Also known as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff caused by an oily scalp is a result of your body producing too many skin cells in one part of the scalp along with excessive natural oils. These factors lead to flaking, and cause itchiness as well as tenderness. In extreme cases, this condition can lead to loss of hair; but there are a lot of ways you can alleviate the condition, here are a few:

A scalp scrub

Exfoliation isn’t limited to the face. You must employ a scalp scrub into your routine to rid your scalp of excess build-up of oils as well as cells, and maintain healthy levels of moisture at the same time. This practice might help encourage more circulation in the area - which is crucial to maintain the health of your scalp. 

Switch shampoos 

Make sure you’re using a shampoo free of fragrances, chemicals, and lathering agents - one formulated for sensitive skin. It’s also advisable to switch to an anti-fungal formula. And a shampoo that contains oils like rosemary, lavender, lemon, and tea tree to stop microbe growth, and control the overproduction of sebum. Look out for inflammation-reducing oils like aloe and jojoba as well. 

Healthy diet

Just like your body reacts poorly to an unhealthy diet - breakouts triggered by greasy foods for instance - your scalp might have a reaction to your dietary choices as well. Steer clear of sugar as well as unhealthy fats along with foods containing higher levels of glucose. This can remedy inflammation. You must consume a higher proportion of healthy fats in the form of omega 3, omega 6 or omega 9 to reduce itching, burning, and inflammation associated with the condition.

Styling products

You don’t want to undo the healing of your scalp by introducing styling products to your hair. Think of your scalp as an open wound. Now imagine throwing in an alcohol-based or chemical-based formula into the mix. Not a good idea. If a product doesn’t have healing properties, tuck it away into your cabinet for now. 

Scalp treatments

Look for treatments containing antifungal and anti-microbial properties to soothe inflammation, and massage them into your scalp once or twice a day to clear the scalp and reduce itchiness. 


Can we use any packs to reduce pimples on the face?

Can we use any packs to reduce pimples on the face?

Dr. Tipirneni doesn’t recommend applying face-packs on the skin for this condition; but if you want to rid your face of general pimples, these are three homemade packs we swear by:

Almond powder, gram flour, and turmeric 

This is for acne on the forehead. Mix equal ratios of almond powder with gram flour, and throw in a pinch of turmeric, and apply the concoction to your forehead. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and rinse it. 

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is known to soothe the skin, and reduce inflammation. Just scoop a dollop of freshly-extracted gel, and massage it onto the affected area. Let it sit on the skin for fifteen minutes before washing it off. You can also apply it before sleeping, and leave it on overnight.

Garlic and honey 

Garlic’s antimicrobial properties can reduce the size of pimples, and honey can clear the skin. Just mix one teaspoon of garlic paste with one teaspoon of honey, and apply it to the affected area. Let it stay for ten minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.




1) Is oiling good for an oily scalp?

It’s said that oiling an already-oily scalp can cause trapping of more dust than usual. And this leads to itching, infections, and loss of hair; but it depends on the kind of oil you’re applying to your scalp. Dr. Tipirneni suggests not oiling your hair at all, “An oily scalp is a playground for fungus to multiply. If you want to, you can condition just the lengths of your hair with these oils.

If you want to oil your hair anyway, you must look out for essential or all-natural oils as opposed to silicone-laden, store-bought ones. Oils containing silicones try to add gloss to your hair. They do this by coating your hair. Because of this, it becomes difficult for any shampoo to clean your scalp. In lots of cases, the overproduction of oil in your scalp can result from dandruff, flakes, and bacteria. Ensure you’re investing in an antibacterial oil, and look for lighter oils. Remember not to oil your hair too frequently either. Try introducing an oil to your routine once every few weeks, and work your way up from there. We’d suggest opting for rosemary oil or ylang ylang oil to control the oiliness of your scalp. Mix 5 drops of ylang ylang oil with 3 tablespoons of olive oil before massaging it into the scalp, and one part of the rosemary oil with three parts of a carrier oil. Even lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus oil are a few options you can choose from.

2) Does scalp acne cause hair loss?

This condition is characterised by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules, nodules and cysts rooted under the scalp - and it can appear throughout the lengths of your hair or along your hairline. Whether acne on the scalp triggers any loss of hair depends on the severity of the condition. If you notice the development of nodules and cysts, know that your acne is severe. You can experience symptoms like pain, loss of hair, and baldness. 

3) Does long hair affect acne?

It’s not unheard of. It’s a fact that bangs, as a hairstyle, trigger breakouts on the forehead. The natural oils from the hair can irritate your skin, and lead to breakouts in the area. You must pin your hair every now and then to let your forehead breathe. If your hair is constantly in your face, it can worsen your acne. The buildup of bacteria, dirt, grime, products, and pollution in your strands can result in breakouts on the skin in case of contact - especially on the back, if your hair is long. According to Dr. Tipirneni, longer hair tends to be oiled frequently - and washed infrequently. If you’re sleeping overnight with oiled-up hair, the oil can seep into the crevices of the skin, and trigger acne on the forehead, neck, and back.  

4) Is my shampoo causing acne?

It’s very probable that your shampoo is triggering acne on the scalp. Some shampoos contain pore-clogging oils like argan oil, olive oil, and coconut oil that can irritate a sensitive scalp. If you’re noticing acne on the hairline, forehead, back and shoulders, it’s an indication that the condition is being triggered by your shampoo. This is called ‘pomade acne’. It can appear as itchy inflamed spots or blackheads and whiteheads. Make sure you’re using a shampoo free of fragrances, chemicals, and gluten - one formulated for sensitive skin. It’s also advisable to switch to an anti-fungal formula. To prevent any flare-up on the face, exfoliate and cleanse your skin right after you’re done showering.