acne (or some other irritation) on the scalp?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 12/11/2009 4:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry this post is a little gross, but I want to be descriptive to see if anyone else experiences the same issue.
Ever since my diagnosis with CD (2003) I have had consistent acne on my scalp.  Or what appears to be acne.  These zits seem to arise very fast and are often filled with a clear liquid (or clear fluid with a slight yellow tint).  They can range from small pimples (bb size) to large (quarter-size).  Sometimes they are filled with a more whitish pimple-like puss.  The distinctive feature however seems to be the speed with which they come on.  I may notice a tiny one on the back of my head, and if I scratch at it, it can swell to a massive (again, quarter-size) lump within a matter of minutes.  Sometimes they are not popable, sometimes they are. 
Finally, I will note, they seem to be better when my gut is in a flare, and worse when it is not!  so strange.
1) what the hell is this?
2) what can I do about it?
Obviously I know I should see a dermatologist.  I am looking to hear what others have done (if there are others) who have experienced something similar.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 6131
   Posted 12/11/2009 4:49 PM (GMT -7)   
same thing dude.. for about 2 years now.. seems to coincide with my fevers and other problems.. and the hurt too! i did see a dermatologist about them early on.. gave me some "special" lotion to put on them.. did not work , so i doubt they were what he thought. so i just suffer and scratch.. feels good to scratch! ...

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 253
   Posted 12/11/2009 5:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm not sure what that could be! Could it be because of any medications you're on?
female 19, diagnosed crohns december 2008
erythema nodosum
currently taking 40mg prednisone, then imuran or remicade when i taper
feeling scare about side effects but will be happy to feel better :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 12/11/2009 7:19 PM (GMT -7)   
check out hiddradinisis supertiva?
Folliculis, en and pg?
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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 12/11/2009 8:20 PM (GMT -7)   
try switching shampoos and conditioners see a dermatologist and/or aesthetician for a recommendation i have irritation on my scalp but i think its just from coloring my hair and of course i look at things from a cosmetologists view ha ha
"I feel infinite." -the perks of being a wallflower

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 12/11/2009 11:34 PM (GMT -7)   
It does sound like part of the "follicular occlusion tetrad" which is doctor-speak for four related acne-like problems related to hair follicles - basically variants on hidradenitis suppurativa, like MMMNAVY said. See:

Somewhere else in my reading, I recall seeing a reference to histamine in follicles stimulating sebaceous secretions. It is probably these secretions blocking the follicle that causes the problem. So the test of this idea would be to try some antihistamines to see if that helps the problem. Run this by a dermatologist and see what they have to say about the idea. They may have a suitable topical antihistamine for the purpose.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 12/12/2009 9:28 AM (GMT -7)   
What type of shampoo are you using? I have found that if I use the expensive salon type shampoos/conditioners (Paul Mitchell etc) I get really bad acne on my scalp. I now only use Pantene products and no longer have that issue. Just a thought!
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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 12/12/2009 4:15 PM (GMT -7)   
when I googled images of folliculitis. HS and PG, I got back images that were DEFINITELY NOT what I have going on. I can absolutely rule out the PG and HS just by looking at it. In additition HS affects areas near the apocrine glands, not the case here.

I suppose it could be folliculitis, however, again the images were way too extreme to compare to what I have (but then again, of course the worst cases are going to be the ones photographed and posted).

As for shampoos, nothing seems to make it go away completely but a couple seem to make it particularly worse. Any of the fructis shampoos are the worst (I think thats what they are called - they are in the green bottle and smell like fruit). Pantene Pro-V also seems to make it worse. T-gel and T-sal both do not particularly help (other than being something other than the first two I mentioned!) Head and shoulders has probably been the best so far.
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