I have heard many women ask questions about whiteheads and why they seem to be more stubborn than blackheads or even pimples.
No, whiteheads are not that stubborn.
More importantly, they can be gotten rid of, just like every other form of acne. And today, we will be exploring the different ways to do that.
But first, let me explain what whiteheads are and why they are on your skin in the first place.
What are whiteheads?
Whiteheads are a very mild form of acne. They appear as tiny, white bumps on your skin’s surface. Though they are similar to blackheads, both of them are totally different. While blackheads are open comedones, whiteheads are closed within your skin pores.
Let me explain,
You know how you can easily let the fluid out of your blackheads when you squeeze (by the way, squeezing only worsens acne)? You can’t do that to whiteheads, because the openings they have are so tiny, that they can only be seen through a microscope.
And that is the only reason they do not turn black. Since the pores are closed, the oil is not exposed to air and doesn’t become oxidized.
What causes whiteheads?
When you notice whiteheads, what should first come to your mind is clogged skin pores.
Whiteheads form when your skin pores get clogged with excess oil, dirt, bacteria or dead skin cells.
There are different factors that can cause clogged pores which, in turn, leads to whiteheads
One is hormonal changes within your body during puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycle or even menopause. During these events, your progesterone levels increase. And this makes your glands produce more oil.
Whiteheads can also be hereditary.
Sometimes your genes can determine how your body, including your skin, reacts to hormonal changes.
They also play a great role in determining how strong your body’s inflammatory response is to bacteria on your skin. If you have a stronger inflammatory reaction, then you might be prone to having severe forms of acne.
Whiteheads can also be caused by stress and unhealthy habits like smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, the use of comedogenic products, and so on.
Do whiteheads appear only on the face?
The answer is no!
They can pop up on any part of your body, especially your back, shoulder, arms, and chest. When they appear on your face, it is usually on your T-zone — the oiliest parts of your face.
What should I expect if I have whiteheads?
Apart from the fact that they wreck your look, whiteheads just mostly sit idly on your skin. They are not painful. They also are not inflammatory too…so they do not swell, itch or become red.
Whiteheads can however worsen if you do not treat them well.
Now to the main gist of the day…
How do I treat whiteheads?
Keep your hands off
I can’t emphasize this enough. It is normal that when we first notice a whitehead or any other form of acne, we want to pinch, squeeze or simply touch it.
When you pop it, your skin can get irritated or infected, and this can lead to permanent scarring or dark spots on your skin.
If you must extract the whiteheads, then it has to be done by a dermatologist.
Use anti-acne products
There are various skincare products that can be used to treat whiteheads.
You can use a product with salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid exfoliates your skin. It removes dead skin cells from your skin’s surface and unclogs your skin pores.
It can also reduce the rate of oil production and dry up excess oil. It removes any form of discolouration that might occur due to a flare-up.
You can find salicylic acid in moisturizers, toners and other anti-acne creams or gels.
You can also use skincare products that contain retinoid.
Retinoid contains Vitamin A. It is an anti-aging agent and is very effective for unclogging skin pores. You should however use sunscreen alongside your retinoid treatment because it can make your skin sensitive to the sun.
Watch out for these ingredients when buying your anti-acne product. Make sure you do not use these ingredients together or at once. The combination of these ingredients can make your skin become very dry.
Some women think that the harder they exfoliate, the faster they get rid of acne. This is totally wrong. It does the opposite.
Scrubbing your skin hard can make your skin become sensitive, increase the whiteheads and cause the occurrence of frequent breakouts in the future.
Agreed, exfoliation unclogs your skin pores but you have to exfoliate gently.
If you are unsure what kind of exfoliant to get, then you need to read this article immediately => The Proper Way to Exfoliate to Avoid Irritations
Lifestyle changes to prevent flareups
- Wash your face in the evenings when you are done with the day’s activities, or after you do a strenuous activity. This reduces the chances of your skin pores getting clogged.
- Wash your hair frequently, especially if you have long hair. The oil from your hair can clog the skin pores on your face.
- Never wear makeup to bed. Remove makeup with a cleanser or a mild soap.
- Only use skincare or makeup products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic. They do not clog your skin pores.
- Make sure that anything that regularly comes in contact with your face is clean. This includes your pillowcase, smartphone, sunglasses, and so on.
- Wash your makeup brushes regularly. They can transfer dirt and bacteria to your face.
- Apply a face mask at least twice a week to exfoliate and detoxify your skin.
Whiteheads are fairly easy to treat. They do not cause much fuss because they do not get inflamed. They can stay that way as long as you do not touch them. Without complications, whiteheads are bound to disappear within a short while.
Make sure you follow the tips I gave and do not do anything that can cause a flare-up. Soon, the whiteheads on your skin will be history.
Do you have any experience with whiteheads? Kindly share with us in the comments.