How to get rid of whiteheads

how to get rid of whiteheads

We've all experienced this: you randomly see your face in the mirror and discover a huge deposit of whitish substances on your face. You probably have a lot of concerns concerning the origins of those white hair-like things known as whiteheads. This article explains what causes whiteheads and how to get rid of them safely. Before we dive in, what are whiteheads?

What are whiteheads?

Whiteheads are referred to as a buildup of oil, dead skin, and bacteria in your skin pores. This blemish is quite common, affecting millions of people worldwide, and thankfully, it is easy to manage and treat. Whiteheads occur when the hair follicles beneath the skin get filled with bacteria. Since air has yet to enter the infected hair follicles, it does not undergo the same chemical reaction that produces blackheads.

whiteheads on nose

What do whiteheads look like?

If you suffer from whiteheads and need answers to questions like “What do whiteheads look like?” Medically, whiteheads are called closed comedones, and they appear as small spots and bumps. On people with lighter skin, whiteheads on forehead or whiteheads on cheeks have a white, round center with a reddish halo, while they may appear darker on dark-skinned people. Unlike other acne types, whiteheads do not cause scarring or hyperpigmentation. In certain people, prominent whiteheads can cause a wrinkle-like appearance.

Whiteheads vs. Blackheads

Blackheads and whiteheads are both non-inflammatory acne, yet they are different when compared side by side. The major difference between whiteheads vs blackheads is their color and appearance. Blackheads are called open pores, while whiteheads are known as closed pores.

When it comes to pore differences, blackheads have been exposed to air, which oxidizes melanin to turn the clogged pores and dead skin black. Dirt is also present in whiteheads, but because the hair follicle has not been exposed to air, it retains its white hue.

Pustules vs. Whiteheads

Pustules and whiteheads are two tiny, white skin lumps that are frequently confused. The presence of bacteria that cause acne is a crucial distinction between pustules vs whiteheads. While whiteheads on forehead and whiteheads on the cheeks appear merely as visible white bumps, pustules cause redness, tenderness, irritation, and sometimes pus.

What causes whiteheads?

To determine the cause of whiteheads, it's critical to recognize that a variety of factors might contribute to whitehead development, such as the following:


Whiteheads and hormonal abnormalities can be brought on by specific types of drugs. These medications range from pregnancy pills to birth control pills, corticosteroids, and certain anticonvulsants. They increase or decrease the level of estrogen or testosterone, which can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum than usual.


The sebaceous glands become sensitive to the stress hormone cortisol, which is secreted by the body in response to stress. Stress causes the sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum than normal, which can block pores and result in whiteheads on chin.


People with oily or combination skin will tend to experience whiteheads, irrespective of their skincare regimen. If your parents produce more sebum on their nose or T-zone areas, you may experience similar symptoms and also experience more whiteheads on face.

Lifestyle Choice

Adopting unhealthy behaviors, like smoking, drinking alcohol, or ingesting a lot of junk food, can exacerbate skin disorders and increase sebum production. Numerous researches have found a link between acne looks and unhealthy living choices.

How long do whiteheads last?

For many treating whiteheads, one persistent question that we often encounter is, “How long do whiteheads last?” With proper skin treatment, most whiteheads eventually go away; however, this is not the case for all whiteheads, as some take a longer time to disappear. It can take 1 week to even 1 month to treat whiteheads around mouth or whiteheads on the face in general.

how do i remove whiteheads

Treatment for whiteheads

A recurring need among skincare enthusiasts is: how do I remove whiteheads? Whiteheads can be quite a menace without treatment and can worsen to pustules if proper care is not applied. You can choose to follow a DIY treatment for whiteheads, opt for OTC skincare products, or professional consultation if you want to know how to get rid of whiteheads on nose:

Witch hazel

Witch hazel is an easy-to-reach product that can reduce the appearance of whiteheads significantly. This compound works as an additive that shrinks the skin cells and drys excess sebum. In addition, witch hazel possesses antibacterial properties that can kill acne-causing bacteria and prevent the formation of pustules.

How-to: Wash your face with a mold moisturizer like Dermaclara Claraprep Face Cleanser, pat your face dry, and apply witch hazel with a cotton swab for some minutes. Rinse and moisturize your skin.

Salicylic acid

Another powerful astringent for clearing whiteheads on nose is salicylic acid. Similar to witch hazel, salicylic acid draws out excess sebum and pushes clogged particles out of the pores to help clear them.


Topical retinoids are effective whiteheads removal products that contain antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and promote cell regeneration. Retionoids must be applied with caution, as the misuse of concentrated retinoids can cause scarring. Dermatologists often recommend retinols, a weakened version of retinoids, and a great comedone extractor for whiteheads to prevent skin irritation.

Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)

You can also use alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) to get rid of whiteheads, as they are great exfoliants found in many OTC treatments. These skin compounds are potent if you want to know how to remove whiteheads permanently, as they sludge dead skin and remove excess keratin residues that clog the skin pores and cause whiteheads. Compounds containing lactic acid, glycolic acid, or any other alpha-hydroxy acids will exfoliate the skin and remove whiteheads easily, although this depends on the concentration of these compounds in the OTC treatment.

what causes whiteheads

How to prevent whiteheads

There are numerous effective tips you can apply if you choose to learn how to prevent whiteheads. You might begin by using a skincare regimen that emphasizes hydration and exfoliation. Do not pop your whiteheads and do not touch your skin excessively. Make the right lifestyle decisions and invest in oil-free, noncomedogenic skin care products to avoid clogging your pores.

get rid of whiteheads

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