Those painful bumps on your head are more than just pimples

As if cystic acne on your face, back, or chest weren’t bad enough, there’s still your scalp you have to worry about.

Ugh.

Yep, if you’re an oil-producing human-being with a head, chances are, you’ve experienced or will experience painful bumps on your scalp aka “scalp pimples.” These are bumps that seem to sprout overnight, are painful or itchy to the touch, and seem impossible to get rid of. Turns out, these aren’t pimples after all, rather something call folliculitis, a common skin condition in which hair follicles become inflamed. It’s caused by bacterial or fungal infections and can spread into bigger sores if untreated.

“The scalp is unique because its ‘pores’ are the openings of the hair follicle with thick, terminal hairs growing out of them,” explains Dr. Terrance Keaney, a dermatologist who also serves as Dove Men+Care’s skincare expert. “Given the presence of scalp hair, the scalp cannot get acne like blackheads but the hair follicles can get inflamed leading to scalp folliculitis or hair can get embedded into the scalp.”

But there are simple solutions for this – and you most likely won’t have to get a prescription (or see a derm, sorry, Dr. Keaney!) to treat your head bumps. Below, are great suggestions of what to use to soothe your skin and kick those bumps to the curb.

Try tea tree oil

This powerful essential oil is a natural antibacterial and will kill bacteria and fungus while healing the skin. In a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, tea tree oil and its Terpenin-4-ol compounds was said to increase the activity of white blood cells, which help to destroy viral or bacterial invaders. In another study, 5% tea tree oil was said to be just as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide for acne.

You can either get natural tea tree oil and rub it into your scalp, or try a shampoo that has some in it. Dr. Keaney recommends Dove Men+Care DermaCare Dandruff Defense 2-in-1 Shampoo +Conditioner. It’s infused with eucalyptus to soothe with tea tree extracts to defend against bacteria. 

BUY HERE, $4.89

Add some salicylic acid

Your hair builds gunk overtime – and that’s pretty normal. Not only does it have to shed dead skin cells (aka dandruff), excess products, and natural oil, it’s constantly trying to breathe from all that hair. That’s why it’s good to clear it out sometimes. A shampoo from Neutrogena called T/Sal Therapeutic Shampoo-Scalp Build-Up Control will do just that, while soothing the scalp and treating it at the same time. Yep, this is a multi-hyphenate. With 3% salicylic acid, to boot, it will help relieve itchy, flaking skin and get rid of your bumps in no time.

BUY HERE, $19

Apple cider vinegar

We’ve never tried this, but it’s been written about extensively on how it heals the scalp just by balancing out your pH. We cannot stress enough about how pH is essential to the health of your skin. Too acidic or alkaline and it’ll go out of wack. Using an apple cider vinegar, then, balances it out while also naturally disinfecting the area. Mix with water and gently massage into your hair.

BUY HERE, $7.92

Plucking your nose hairs with your fingers can cause death.

There’s a certain population of guys out there who take care of their nose hairs with their two fingers.

They yank, they pull, their eyes water, but there’s immediate satisfaction. And then there’s a few who let it grow until it’s long enough to French braid. For the rest of us humans, nose hair growth becomes something to fear, as it’s not only embarrassing but signals poor hygiene. However you may look at it, a certain outgrowth of nose hairs hanging from one’s nostril is really unattractive. Those small sheers of spiked hairs that prick from the gaping hole is distracting.

SEE ALSO: Every product I’m obsessed with for spring

So why do you have thick growth of nose hairs all of a sudden? It has all to do with your hormones. During childhood, your nose or ear hairs are called “vellus hairs” and are unnoticeable and thin. Once you get a little older, your hormones awaken them to grow faster, thicker and darker to better trap bacteria, viruses and fungi from getting into your system. The growth also pricks and pokes you, making for an itchy experience.

Before you go to your bathroom and decide to pluck those hairs with your thumb and pointy finger, beware. Doing so could actually cause death. Say what? Turns out that plucking them the old fashioned way could lead to infection that can make its way to your brain. Breaking your skin with your filthy hands that have been all over can cause an overgrowth of bacteria that can spread and become sepsis. In the rare occasion, it can cause some serious damage.

Okay, so we just took a dark turn. What can you do instead? Below, we’ve rounded out the best tools to chop your nose hairs in a sanitary and even more efficient manner. Here are the best we’ve come across.

nose hair

(Photo courtesy Instagram.com/gret_chen_chen)

Rounded Scissors

If you’re old school and want to trim your nose hairs yourself, try getting a pair of rounded scissors. It’s very important to buy a pair of rounded sheers, as it’s your nose and any wrong move could lead to puncturing yourself. Rounded sheers prevents any accidents. With these scissors, simply insert into each nostril from a 45-degree angle and slowly trim your hairs. You’ll want to start slow but once you get the hang of it, you can start going at it. After, take a piece of tissue and insert into your nostrils to ensure you get rid of any residue or leftover hairs.

We recommend getting scissors that are stainless steel. Many are nickel-plated, like this one from Tweezerman, but it’ll rust with water. That means that yes, the moisture from your very nostrils can cause rust as well.

We like this one from LIVINGO on Amazon. It’s only $10, is stainless steel, rounded sheers and an amazing price.

BUY LIVINGO HERE, $9.99

Electric devices

If you’re lazy and in need of a trimmer that’s easy to use and also quick, try these three electric nose hair trimmers. We’ve found that each is pretty effective – and affordable (seriously, no need to spend a fortune on things like nose hair trimmers, lol). Here’s what’s best, below.

Best design

This battery powered device means that you don’t need any extra charging cord. It’s a little extra in that it comes with 6 pieces, but the others are for eyebrows and your ears as well. For under $13, this is a steal.

BUY PHILIPS NORELCO, HERE, $12.95

Best ‘no fuss’ trimmer

So this nose hair trimmer may resemble uh, a device used more for sexy times, but it gets the job done. This no-fuss trimmer may not be the most sleekly designed pieces we’ve found, but for $10, it’s completely worth it. The best part is the ease of cleaning as you can simply screw off the top and safely rise with water.

BUY AMAGARM, HERE, $9.95

Best travel device

This “no pull” trimmer comes in a diamond blade and ensures that you get a precision cut every time. From Conair Man, the brand best known for flatirons and blowdryers, this small contraption is great for on-the-go use. Also battery powered, it can be used for your ears, facial hair, and more.

BUY Conair Man, HERE, $19.95

I’ve been using this brush in the shower and my hair is now insanely healthy.

“When’s the last time you brushed your hair?”

So asked a Korean hairstylist – sternly – when I went to get my hair permed last month. Do your fingers count? I replied, to her tsk tsking and a shake of her head in disapproval.

Brushing your hair is what you’d associate with long hair or rituals before bed. Images of a young child reading a book while their mother lovingly brushes their virgin hair back come to mind. Brushing one’s hair isn’t anything new of course – it’s one that comes with centuries of tradition. The Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all had their own versions, made from steel, animal hair or wood. And in 1777 that a man named William Kent went on to patent brushes himself, creating the world’s first-ever commercial product. It’s what apparently put a brush in every person’s home, creating a brushing revolution.

As it turns out, brushing isn’t only for untangling your hair or styling it. To get a healthy scalp and/or shiny hair, you need to stimulate for circulation and good blood flow. Not only does brushing evenly distribute sebum to create shinier hair, it helps with removing dead skin cells – all which if clogged, could prevent growth. Brushing is apparently so important, one expert once told Allure that doing so daily is like working out your scalp and taking it to the gym.

I took it upon myself to start brushing my scalp after Umma A Good Hair Day In Seoul sent me one. It’s called the White Rabbit Volumizing Air Brush, a light, millennial pink brush. The White Rabbit is waterproof, plastic and can be pumped with air that goes in and out. Immediately while combing through my hair I realized just how good it felt to have the prongs gently massaging my scalp. But the real hack Umma gave me was brushing your hair in the shower. This allows your scalp to be stimulated but for it to aid in helping products get to the roots of your strands as well as to cleanse all the gunk that perhaps your fingers can’t get to.

At first, it was a little awkward – I mean, brushing your hair under water takes serious multi-tasking abilities – but when you get that cadence down of brushing, gasping for air, and being still enough not to topple over, all is well and good. Brushing inside my shower allowed my shampoo and conditioner (and all others treatments) to feel as if they seeped into my scalp while being evenly distributed. I hadn’t realized just how ineffective my own fingers could be in washing, conditioning and applying treatment especially since my hair is so thick.

The end of the month came and I was wowed when my scalp felt less oily, produced much less dandruff and my hair was completely, utterly, well, silky smooth. It’s insane how the simple act of brushing your locks can transform its health, length and sheen. Here’s to singing – and brushing – more in the shower.

These are the Best Hair Products of 2018: Lightning Awards ⚡️

Hair is as beautifully diverse as you.

Whether it’s thick and stick straight, kinky and curly, wavy and super soft, big and voluminous, hair is the unsung hero to your entire vibe. And that’s why we take hair so seriously at Very Good Light. This year, we’ve added many diverse categories to serve most, if not all of our readers. We hope that this very methodical list full of creams, pomades, hair gels, oils and masks, will truly represent most of you guys. It’s a list we stand behind and know you will, too.

BEST SHAMPOO – Oribe Serene Scalp Shampoo

Sure, this shampoo is technically formulated for dandruff, but it has benefits for everyone. After all, a healthy scalp means healthy hair, right? The formula has salicylic acid (yes the same kind as in your acne cleanser) so it gently cleans your hair but also helps preserve the skin underneath. That’s something we could all use.

BUY HERE $44

BEST CONDITIONER – Verb Ghost Conditioner

The hero ingredient in this conditioner is Moringa Oil, which hydrates and smoothes your strands but doesn’t weigh them down. For a formula this moisturizing, it’s not heavy which makes it ideal for even fine or thin hair. Added UV protection from Sunflower Seed Oil and strengthening from Quinoa protein only add to it’s appeal for every body.

BUY HERE $15.99

BEST HAIR MASK – Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Hair Cap System

A hair mask that requires the use of a plastic shower cap seems so extra, but this is by far the most effective mask I tried. If you have dry or colored hair, the repairing properties of the mask can’t be argued with (thanks to the argan oil, panthenol and biotin in the formula). You can leave it on for at least fifteen minutes, but the full hour left my hair feeling like it had never even heard the word “dry.”

BUY HERE $36

BEST HAIR CREME – Baxter of California Grooming Cream

Picking a grooming cream is a little like being Goldilocks: too much hold, not enough hold. This version is just right. Not only does it smooth and hydrate your hair, but there is enough hold to keep your style locked in but natural-looking. It’s the best way I’ve found to get that perfect balance between polished and woke-up-like-this.

BUY HERE $20

BEST WET POMADE – Rudy’s Shine Pomade

It’s hard to argue with the appeal of a classic shiny look and the most important part of that is a shiny pomade. This version works for a corporate playboy or a rebellious greaser look, but bucks tradition by giving you shine with none of the shellacked feeling you get from the old guard.

BUY HERE $18

BEST MATTE POMADE – Ouai Matte Pomade

Matte pomades tend to make already dry hair feel even dryer, but not this one. It has enough oil that it’s not only easy to put on without forming clumps, but it won’t leave your hair rough. You get a natural look with a matte finish and just enough hold. It even has a faint scent of roses which is surprisingly nice in a hair product.

BUY HERE $24

BEST CLAY POMADE – Arrojo Clay

Have you ever spent what felt like an hour trying to warm up hair clay in your hands so you could actually get it into your hair? I have, but I won’t ever need to again. This clay comes in a tube so it’s ready to put in straight from the container, but gives you just as much texture and hold as the traditional kind, great for getting a piecey look.

BUY HERE $25

BEST CREAM POMADE – Fatboy Sea Salt Pomade

Cream pomades tend to fall flat and weigh down fine hair. The sea salt in this formula solves that problem by adding texture and volume the same way your hair always looks better after a day at the beach. I would have never thought to add salt to a cream pomade, but I’m sure glad someone else did.

BUY HERE $21

BEST HAIR GEL – Kiehl’s Clean Styling Gel

I know gel gets a bad rep, but it’s mostly because it’s so easy to use too much of it (hello, crunchy curls). This version is light and clean, meaning if you want that gelled look you can get it, but it’s not the default. It’s especially effective on wet hair, which helps hold your style without crispiness.

BUY HERE $18

BEST HAIRSPRAY – L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray

If you’ve ever been on a photo shoot or backstage of a fashion show, chances are the hairstylist is using this hair spray. There’s a reason it’s been the professional go-to for decades – it just can’t be beat. It delivers exceptional hold without any of the crunchiness or stickiness of other versions and lasts all day until you brush it out (easily).

BUY HERE $11.96

BEST SALT SPRAY – Byrd Texturizing Surfspray

Why do surfers have such enviable hair? It’s the salt. A sea salt spray can deliver that same textured look without the surfboard, especially on fine or thin hair. While some can leave your hair feeling rough and dry, this formula has coconut oil to keep your strand moisturized (which also helps with the summery scent).

BUY HERE $15.99

BEST MOUSSE – Bumble & Bumble Thickening Full Form Soft Mousse

Forget the crunchy, heavy mousse that your grandmother used to lock in her curls. This new modern formula is velvety smooth and adds volume and curl without weighing down your hair or giving you helmet head. My curls held their shape hours after I used it but still felt smooth and moisturized.

BUY HERE $31

BEST DRY SHAMPOO – R+Co Spiritualized Dry Shampoo Mist

The problem with dry shampoos is that even if they soak up oil and clean well without water, they can leave your hair feeling (and worse, looking) powdery. This magical version doesn’t use aerosol and instead comes in the form of a mist, so it doesn’t have that same overly-powdery feeling. It’s also easier to target problem areas like your hairline and natural part, where you want the oil-absorbing qualities without risking the rest of your style.

BUY HERE $28

BEST HAIR OIL – Naturelab Perfect Shine Oil Mist

You don’t have to have dry hair to reap the benefits from hair oil. Good oils can not only smooth and shine, but help control overly aggressive oil glands. But it’s easy to go overboard. Not with this formula though, since the mist makes it easy to get full coverage with just a few spritzes without weighing down your locks.

BUY HERE $15.20

BEST HAIR DRYER – Paul Mitchell Neuro Halo Touchscreen Dryer

Sure, it looks like something out of a science fiction movie, but it’s actually one of the most advanced hair dryers ever. It uses turmaline ions to smooth hair, has a touchscreen to easily change between the multiple speed and heat settings and had one of the quietest motors I tried. On top of all that, it was one of the few that came with a diffuser in the box, which makes it suited for all hair types straight away.

BUY HERE $255

BEST RINSE – dpHue Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Overwashing fine or color treated hair can do more damage than good, so using a hair rinse can improve the health of your hair while still giving it a cleaning. The apple cider vinegar in this formula gives it its distinct scent (which goes away with a rinse) but also it’s oil-neutralizing and cleansing properties.

BUY HERE $57

BEST CO-WASH – Hairstory New Wash

Co-washing seems counterintuitive (washing with a conditioner?) but the benefits if your hair are prone to dryness or frizz can be huge. It’s especially good for curls and this is the best one I tried for mine. It cleans just enough and never leaves my hair feeling stripped or “too clean,” instead it retains its moisture and natural oils.

BUY HERE $47

BEST SCALP SCRUB – Christophe Robin Cleansing Thickening Paste

For the same reason you use a mud mask on your face, this scalp cleansing paste uses rassoul clay to draw damaging impurities out of your scalp. A healthy scalp means healthy hair and this scrub can help control excess oil, curb dandruff and volumize fine or thinning hair.

BUY HERE $53

BEST COLOR TREATMENT – Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy Treatment

Taking care of damaged hair takes more than just the deep conditioner you get at the salon. Using this two-part weekly treatment not only helps strengthen and repair damaged strands, but also seal in the color so it won’t fade as fast. Think of it as a protecting your investment.

BUY HERE $42

BEST LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER – Kevin Murphy Leave-in Repair

If you are prone to dry or over-styled damaged hair, leave-in conditioner is a must. Using this gorgeous smelling formula on damp hair helps retain moisture and add shine without adding weight. It does double duty as a protectant against heat too, so use it before you blow dry to keep your hair looking its best.

BUY HERE $33.49

BEST CO-WASH FOR NATURAL HAIR – Hair Food

If you didn’t know that shampoo can strip natural hair of moisture, now you do. That means a good co-wash should always be lining your shower shelf. Hairfood is our tried-and-true winner that detangles, moisturizes and leaves hair noticeably softer after each wash.

BUY HERE, $9.99

BEST NO-‘POO SHAMPOO FOR NATURAL HAIR – Curls

Curls: Naturally, natural hair needs a good thorough washing every so often to get rid of product buildup, oil, etc. and a good moisturizing shampoo is key. Curls has hit it out of the park with its activated charcoal Hair Bath that smells great, feels fab and lathers into a perfect cloud of clean leaving fragile natural hair soft, not squeaky.

BUY HERE, $15

BEST EDGE CONTROL FOR NATURAL HAIR – Creme of Nature

Hell hath no fury like untamed edges. Fortunately, this actual gem is out there to help us slick back and tamp down in all weather, all seasons and for all occasions. We don’t throw this around lightly, but Creme of Nature is, perhaps, the G.O.A.T.!

BUY HERE, 

BEST HAIR MASK FOR NATURAL HAIR – Bumble and Bumble

Wash day got a shake up when we discovered this genius little jar of wonder that helps prep moisture-seeking natural hair for the weekly deluge. Slather it on from root to tips about 15 minutes before your shower and then let it work its magic before rinsing out. Pretty sure we’ll never wash our hair again without hitting that B & b balm first.

BUY HERE, $43

BEST STYLING MOUSSE FOR NATURAL HAIR – Cantu

Cantu: We bow down at the altar of this ultra-moisturizing, grease-free, sweet-scented mousse that’s become a must-have for our flexi sets, twistouts and 2nd (well, let’s be honest, 3rd, 4th and 5th) day curl refresher routines. It’s the kind of drugstore favorite we’re willing to call/beg the manufacturer for if they ever make the cruel mistake of discontinuing. (Please don’t!)

BUY HERE, $5.89

BEST ANTI-FRIZZ HAIRSPRAY FOR NATURAL HAIR – Living Proof

Environmental moisture + natural hair = Actual nightmare. Jennifer Aniston fave Living Proof is a surprise champ – and it gets the job done. A few sprays help tame any existing frizz while also creating a shield that protects in even the most oppressively disgusting weather.

BUY HERE, $23

BEST HAIRSPRAY FOR NATURAL HAIR – Drybar

 “Money Maker” is simply the G.O.A.T. when it comes to hairspray that doesn’t flake, crunch or leave annoying residue behind. It provides crazy hold — whether you’re natural or blown out — that’s soft to the touch and features Drybar’s signature scent. Total 100 from top to bottom. No contest. Doubt it? @ me.

BUY HERE, $26

Is it time to wash your hair?

How many times have you gone to a professional hairdresser and had them tell you your hair is WAY too clean?

I, for one, have run into so many issues of professionals telling me that my hair needed to have leftover product, extra oils and be super dirty so that I can get my best hair possible. Of course, I’ve been adhering to their advice and try not to wash my hair so often. But in the summer months, I can’t help but realize how sweat and oil mixed together makes my scalp really itch. Like, ~really~ itch, to the point where I feel having good hair isn’t worth the annoyance of having to scratch my head every two seconds.

SEE ALSO: This is the one hair step you’re not doing

Itching is really normal because there’s so much going on under your hair, says Dr. Terrence Keaney, a dermatologist and men’s skin expert with Dove Men+Care. “The scalp is a unique surface,” he tells Very Good Light. “It protects your head from UV rays and sun from your hair but also, because it has so much hair, it’s the oiliest part of your body.” It does so, he says, to keep it supple and hydrated. But unlike your face, where skin cells turn over quickly, the oil actually traps dead skin cells and worse, provides a food source for bacteria and yeast to grow.

Say what?!

If this sounds like a horror movie of some sludge-like creature taking over your body, it’s because it is. Not washing your hair often enough will allow “certain bacteria and yeast to overgrow,” Dr. Keaney repeats to me over the phone. That can lead to things like flakiness, which we know as dandruff.

Dandruff is the dry, white flakes of skin that come from your head. The common misconception is that we produce dandruff because or actual scalp is dry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. “The quite the opposite,” Dr. Keaney says. “It’s the least dry part of your body. That’s the yeast component I’m talking about.” Skin cells grow and die too quickly from an unhealthy head leads to dandruff, which is why Dr. Keaney says there needs to be more shampoo-ing during the week.

(Fact: There could be an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria on your scalp. now. eeps! Photo by Carolyn Teston/Very Good Light)

Over 51% of men have dandruff, Dr. Keaney says, and a big contributor is that guys just aren’t shampooing enough. I, for one, have been guilty of that. More than anything else, it’s more of a vanity-type thing for me. Shampooing, I feel, strips my head of its natural oils and overdries it, leaving me with hair that seems dead and difficult to style.

“The problem is your hair doesn’t feel great when it feels dry,” he agree with me (for once!). “That’s what people complain about. We’re talking scalp health and hydration. You’re right when you say your scalp can get super dry with cleansing. But that’s when you learn what works for you, whether it’s cleansing daily or a few times a week.”

I suppose the doctor has a point. Just as we’d wash our faces twice a day, it does make sense that we’d also cleanse our faces. After all, scalp skin and face skin are right next to each other.

“It’s funny you want to talk face and body washes for cleansing but you don’t talk about the oiliest part, where you should clean it more than any other skin surface,” he tells me. “Thing get built up in the scalp.” Especially because hormonally, testosterone accelerates sebum and oil especially in men. Other than yeast eating your head, under-cleansing can lead to scalp acne, aka acne keloidalis nuchae. Fortunately, for most guys, your hair hides the scalp blemishes. Simply cleansing your hair more often can cure this, he says.

For those of you who are into the no ‘pooing, or for those who don’t wash your hair altogether, the news above may be difficult to swallow. Same for those who shampoo every day, leaving your scalp super dry. But scalp health is just as important as your face or any other part of your body, so we should definitely be treating it with as much love. From what Dr. Keaney says, I’ve deduced that you simply have to do what’s best for you. If your scalp has a lot of buildup from your products or natural oils, try shampooing it and scrubbing your scalp. If it’s too dry because of over-washing, give it a rest. Ultimately, it’s all about balance. That’s something that I’m definitely going to keep in mind for the fall seasons ahead.