Feel healthy and beautiful in your own skin

Skin of Color – Scalp and Facial Conditions

Pomade Acne

To help improve the manageability of scalp hair, some people apply pomade or hair oil. If pomade or hair oil spreads onto the forehead, it can block pores and cause pimples. Some people call this “pomade acne.” If this happens, you may want to stop using the product or try applying the pomade further away from your hairline. Applying pomade one inch from the frontal scalp hairline may prevent pomade acne. If a head scarf is worn while sleeping, make sure it is not touching the forehead, as this can spread oils onto the skin and can worsen acne on the forehead. Here at Advanced Dermatology and Laser Institute of Seattle, we can treat acne caused by excess oil.


Using pomade or hair oil can also worsen seborrhea, a skin condition that causes scaly, itchy patches of skin. You may think of this condition as dandruff. Seborrhea usually begins on the scalp as an itchy, oily, waxy patch with flakes. It can spread to the face and beyond. Washing the hair with a medicated shampoo at least twice a week helps tremendously.


Pomades can also cause a bacterial infection of the scalp called folliculitis. Signs of folliculitis are pus, bumps, and irritated skin on the scalp. If this occurs, stop using the pomade and see a dermatologist.

Tinea Capitis (Scalp Ringworm)

Despite the name, worms do not cause this condition. It is actually a skin infection caused by a fungus. This disease may cause bald itchy patches or flaking similar to dandruff on the scalp. Children are most likely to have scalp ringworm. This condition is seen more often in children and can spread to others living in the same household or to classmates at school.

Sharing combs, brushes, hats, and other clothing can spread the disease. Household members of playmates may also carry the disease, and this can result in the ringworm returning. Consider having other household members checked if they show signs of infection.

Dr. Greene may prescribe an oral antifungal pill or liquid for several months, in addition to medicated lotions and shampoos. With treatment, the hair usually comes back in time.

Skin Problems from Shaving or Plucking

Some African Americans may have coarse, curly hair. After shaving, the shortened hairs often curve into the skin. When this happens, the following skin conditions can develop:

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (Razor Bumps)

After men shave, the shortened hairs can curve in, irritate the skin, and cause razor bumps. This is most common in men of African descent with curly hair. Women also may develop these bumps especially those who tweeze or pluck hairs from their face. Laser treatments with the Excel V and Permanent Hair Reduction with the Cynosure Icon are very helpful in improving this condition.

Acne Keloidalis

Small firm bumps that may enlarge into large scars called keloids develop in men who shave their scalp or cut their hair very short in the nape of their neck. Women can also get acne keloidalis, but it happens much less frequently. Without treatment, this skin condition can cause hair loss. Schedule a consultation today to discuss treatment options.

To prevent new bumps, you may need to change how you remove unwanted hair. Some men choose to let the hair grow or to shave less often. Schedule a consultation with our expert clinical team to discuss treatment options, including tips for shaving that can be used to reduce skin irritation, laser hair removal, and a prescription cream that can slow the growth of facial hair.