Like the rest of your body, your scalp can develop certain conditions that may cause you worry or concern. If they don't cause pain, skin bumps on the back of your scalp are generally no cause for alarm and are usually caused by several common conditions. If you experience pain or other troublesome symptoms,do not attempt to self-diagnose your symptoms. Contact a doctor or a dermatologist immediately.
The most common causes of benign bumps on the back of your scalp are two skin conditions, known as folliculitis and seborrheic dermatitis. Folliculitis is caused by a bacterial infection of your hair follicles, resulting in bumps on your scalp, according to MayoClinic.com. Seborrheic dermatitis causes skin scaling resembling bumps on your scalp, resulting from a buildup of excess dead skin cells and scalp oil, according to MedlinePlus.
Folliculitis is caused by a bacterial infection that results from an irritation of your hair follicles, commonly caused by friction from clothing, tight hair bands or hats. As it is a contagious condition, it can also occur due to sharing hair brushes and combs with another person who has folliculitis, according to MayoClinic.com.
Unlike folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis is not caused by a bacterial infection. Instead, it is generally thought to be caused by an overproduction of scalp oil, known as sebum, and irritation from a common yeast that lives on your scalp, called malessizia. Genetic factors may be involved in sebhorrheic dermatitis, as it generally runs in families, according to MedlinePlus.
According to MayoClinic.com, folliculitis is usually treatable with oral antibiotics to combat the infection and topical creams containing anti-itch and anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ingredients. Seborrheic dermatitis is usually effectively treated with over-the-counter medicated shampoos or lotions containing active ingredients such as alicylic acid, coal tar, zinc, resorcin, ketoconazole or selenium, according to MedlinePlus.
Symptoms of both folliculitis and seborrheic dermatitis can be alleviated by applying lotions containing natural anti-itch ingredients such as oatmeal, according to MayoClinic.com. Avoid washing your hair and skin with harsh shampoos or with water that is too hot, as these factors can aggravate your condition.
Since folliculitis is a bacterial infection, the symptoms will go away once the infection clears up, although you may be at risk for recurring infections if you expose yourself to risk factors, such as shared towels or bathing in shared areas such as hot tubs, according to MayoClinic.com.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic yet controllable condition, according to MedlinePlus. You may experience flareups followed by periods of remission.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.