Everyone gets a whitehead from time to time. Whether you suffer from frequent breakouts or you’re lucky enough just get the odd pimple, we’re sure you’ll want them gone as soon as possible. Since these spots are one of the most common types of acne, it’s a good idea to understand them so you can treat them properly when they do pop up. No pun intended.
Let’s take a look at the pesky whitehead, so you can manage your breakouts without making the situation worse. We’ll explore whitehead causes and treatment options, so you can get back to feeling your best in no time.
What is a whitehead?
The clue’s in the name when it comes to this very typical type of spot. Whiteheads, or ‘comedones’, are blocked pores or hair follicles with a white point in the middle. One of the mildest forms of acne, these spots are covered by a thin layer of skin, which traps oil and dead skin cells beneath the surface.
What causes whiteheads?
Whiteheads are caused in the same way as many other types of acne. When your skin overproduces oils, these mix with dead skin cells and can clog pores, creating a whitehead or blackhead to form.
You’re more likely to overproduce oils when your body goes through a hormonal change. This can mean puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or your monthly period.
What is the difference between a whitehead and a blackhead?
These common types of acne are mostly the same. The difference between a whitehead and a blackhead is that whiteheads have a thin layer of skin over the clogged pore, so what’s inside isn’t exposed to air. When there’s no layer of skin over a clogged pore, the skin cells and oils inside react with oxygen and turn black, or ‘oxidise’.
How to get rid of whiteheads
This is why you’re really here. Fortunately, whiteheads can be pretty easy to manage with a good skincare routine, although sometimes breakouts can be more stubborn. Here are some of the most effective ways to get rid of whiteheads.
- Wash your face twice a day using a cleanser with acne-fighting ingredients
- Avoid scrubbing and over-exfoliating, as this can irritate and make whiteheads worse
- Don’t squeeze or pick! This will irritate the skin and can lead to infection or scarring
- Treat yourself to a facial
- Be patient. Understanding your breakouts will take time
Choosing the right skincare to get rid of whiteheads
The most common skincare ingredient used to treat whiteheads is salicylic acid, which helps open up your pores. Look for a cleanser which contains this ingredient for your best chance of fighting whiteheads.
You’ve probably been hearing this your whole life, but it’s never a good idea to pop your whiteheads!
We know, a red, sore-to-the-touch whitehead is just begging for a squeeze. While popping acne can get rid of trapped oils and skin cells immediately, removing the ‘white’ from your whitehead, you’ll irritate your skin. You also risk pushing the clogs further down into your pores, which can result in a dreaded under-the-skin spot later.
Other types of acne are often mistaken for whiteheads, which can mean more problems if you’re a popper. If you squeeze or pick a spot that isn’t a whitehead, you risk inflammation and even bleeding. These symptoms of picking often take longer to heal than the original blemish would have. If you break the skin, the area can take a few weeks to heal completely.
It’s always best to leave a whitehead to go away by itself or use skincare and other gentle methods, like a hot compress, to hurry along the process.
Eating a good diet
Your regular diet plays a significant role in your skin’s overall health and condition. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and eat lots of colourful vegetables and fruit to help keep skin clear. If you’re worried about your skin, you might also like to reduce your intake of dairy, sugar, and simple carbohydrates to reduce acne.
For more skincare tips and lots of advice on fragrance, makeup, and haircare, keep exploring the Fragrance Direct blog!
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