5 Methods to treat whiteheads and blackheads

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Whiteheads and blackheads are both types of acne that occur when pores in the skin become clogged with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. Whiteheads appear as small, white or skin-coloured bumps on the surface of the skin, while blackheads appear as small, black or dark-coloured bumps.

What are whiteheads and blackheads?

whiteheads and blackheads

Whiteheads also known as closed comedones, are small, round, white or skin-coloured bumps that form when a hair follicle becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells and the opening of the pore is completely blocked.

Because the pore is closed, the trapped oil and dead skin cells do not oxidize, so whiteheads do not have a dark colour.

Blackheads, also known as open comedones, are similar to whiteheads but have a dark appearance. They form when a hair follicle becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells, and the pore remains open. The trapped oil and dead skin cells oxidize when exposed to air, causing the black colour.

Blackheads can be more noticeable than whiteheads, as the dark colour contrasts with the surrounding skin. Both whiteheads and blackheads can be treated with topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, and good skin hygiene practices, such as gentle cleansing and exfoliation.

How whiteheads and blackheads form

A whitehead forms when the hair follicle becomes completely blocked, trapping oil and bacteria under the surface of the skin. The trapped oil and bacteria cause a small, white or flesh-coloured bump to form on the skin.

A blackhead forms when the hair follicle is only partially blocked, allowing some of the trapped oil and bacteria to be exposed to air. The exposed oil and bacteria turn dark, giving the blackhead its characteristic appearance.

How to prevent whiteheads and blackheads

Here are some tips for preventing whiteheads and blackheads.

1. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water.

2. Use non-comedogenic and oil-free skincare and makeup products.

3. Exfoliate your skin once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.

4. Avoid touching your face with your hands, as this can transfer oil and bacteria.

5. Keep your hair off your face, as oil from your hair can transfer to your skin.

6. Use sunscreen with a non-greasy formula to prevent sun damage and further breakouts.

7. Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated.

8. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption, as these can lead to skin damage and breakouts.

Importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle in preventing acne

A healthy diet and lifestyle can play an essential role in preventing acne. Here’s how:

1. Balanced nutrition: Eating a balanced diet that includes whole foods, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can provide the nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy and clear.

2. Hydration: Drinking enough water helps keep your skin hydrated and can prevent clogged pores that lead to breakouts.

3. Exercise: Regular exercise helps reduce stress and improve blood circulation, promoting healthy skin.

4. Sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for skin health, as sleep allows the body to repair and regenerate damaged cells.

5. Stress management: Chronic stress can trigger hormonal changes in the body that can lead to acne. Finding ways to manage stress through meditation or yoga, can help reduce the risk of breakouts.

How to treat whiteheads and blackheads?

treat white head and black head

Here are some common treatment options for whiteheads and blackheads:

1. Over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments: These include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which can help exfoliate the skin, unclog pores and reduce inflammation. They are available in the form of cleansers, toners, spot treatments, and masks.

2. Prescription topical treatments: These include retinoids and vitamin A derivatives that help regulate skin cell turnover and prevent clogged pores. Topical antibiotics may also be prescribed to reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin.

3. Oral medications: Oral antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline can be prescribed for moderate to severe acne. Oral isotretinoin, also known as Accutane, is a powerful medication reserved for severe acne cases.

4. Chemical peels: A chemical peel is a treatment in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing the top layer to peel off. This can help reduce the appearance of black and whiteheads by unclogging pores and improving skin texture.

5. Extraction: This involves using a tool to remove whiteheads and blackheads from the skin manually. A dermatologist or esthetician typically performs it.

The best treatment for whiteheads and blackheads can depend on the severity of the acne and individual skin type. It is recommended to consult with a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment options.

Benefits and drawbacks of treatment option

Here are some benefits and drawbacks of common treatment options for whiteheads and blackheads:

Over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments:

· Widely available and affordable.

· Can be effective for mild to moderate acne.

· Can help improve skin texture and reduce inflammation.


· May not be effective for severe acne.

· Can cause dryness, redness, and irritation.

· May take several weeks to see results.

Prescription topical treatments:

· Can be effective for moderate to severe acne.

· Can help to regulate skin cell turnover and prevent clogged pores.

· May provide more rapid results than OTC treatments.


· May cause skin dryness, redness, and irritation.

· Can increase sensitivity to sunlight.

· May require a prescription and regular monitoring by a dermatologist.

Oral medications:

· Can be effective for moderate to severe acne.

· May provide more rapid and significant results than topical treatments.

· Can help reduce inflammation and bacterial growth.


· Can have potential side effects, such as gastrointestinal upset, photosensitivity, or liver damage.

· May require a prescription and regular monitoring by a healthcare professional.

· Should not be used by pregnant women.

Chemical peels:

· Can help to unclog pores and improve skin texture.

· Can be effective for mild to moderate acne.

· May improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


· May cause skin irritation, redness, and sensitivity.

· May require multiple treatments for optimal results.

· Should only be performed by a trained professional.


· Can provide rapid relief for individual whiteheads and blackheads.

· Can improve the appearance of the skin.


· May cause skin irritation and scarring if not performed correctly.

· May not address underlying causes of acne.

· May require regular follow-up treatments.

Importance of seeing a dermatologist

If acne is severe or does not respond to treatment, it is important to see a dermatologist. Here’s why:

1. Expert diagnosis: A dermatologist can accurately diagnose the type and severity of acne, as well as any underlying skin conditions that may be contributing to the problem.

2. Personalized treatment plan: A dermatologist can develop a personalized treatment plan based on your individual skin type, the severity of the acne, and any other medical conditions you may have.

3. Prescription medications: A dermatologist can prescribe stronger medications that are not available over the counter, such as topical or oral antibiotics, retinoids, or oral isotretinoin.

4. Prevent scarring: Severe acne can cause scarring, and a dermatologist can help prevent or minimize scarring by providing appropriate treatment.

5. Monitor progress: A dermatologist can monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed to ensure the best possible outcome.


In conclusion, white and blackheads are common types of acne that can be managed with a combination of good skincare practices and effective treatment options. It is important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, avoid picking or squeezing the skin, and use appropriate products and treatments for your skin type.

If you’re struggling with whiteheads and blackheads, it’s important to take steps to prevent and treat them. You can reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts by maintaining a consistent skincare routine, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding habits like picking or squeezing the skin. Taking action to prevent and treat whiteheads and blackheads can boost your confidence and improve the overall health of your skin.


What are whiteheads and blackheads?

Whiteheads and blackheads are two common types of acne. They both form when hair follicles in the skin become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

How to remove whiteheads?

1. Cleanse the affected area with a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser twice a day to remove excess oil and dirt from the skin.
2. Apply a warm compress to the affected area for 5-10 minutes to help open up the pores and soften the whitehead.
3. Use over-the-counter topical treatments containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids to unclog pores and reduce inflammation. Avoid harsh methods like picking or squeezing.

Can whiteheads and blackheads be removed permanently?

Whiteheads and blackheads can be treated and removed, but there is no permanent cure for these types of acne. They are caused by the accumulation of oil and dead skin cells in the pores, which can be managed through proper skin care and treatment.

Are whiteheads and blackheads the same as pimples?

Whiteheads and blackheads are types of acne, they are not the same as pimples, which is a more general term used to describe various types of acne lesions.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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