It is very easy to prevent and get rid of the whiteheads.
Unfortunately, many are caught up in the myths and false information surrounding the comedones type of acne.
This type of acne is not a big issue, but many are unnecessarily vexed and worried over this skin problem that leads to personal depressions and low self-esteem. Most of the patients keep restlessly picking at the whiteheads that make it worse and also develop harsh acne scars and dark spots on the skin.
If your skin, especially the face, nose, and lips are under the attack of acne, don’t panic and fret. In this article, I am going to explain how you can get rid of acne with simple natural remedies.
What Are Whiteheads?
Whitehead is a type of acne that is also known as ‘closed comedones.’ It is usually formed when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria become trapped within the skin pores. Unlike a blackhead, a whitehead forms under the surface of a closed pore.[1,2]
Comparatively, women are more prone to comedones than men because of the hormonal changes more frequent in them.
Almost every individual, both female and male, is sure to have got whiteheads or blackheads, at least, few times in their life.
Unfortunately, in some young women and men, sporadic and severe attacks of whiteheads do occur; the recurrent eruption of many comedones on the skin takes a toll on their physical and emotional health. Worst of all, it also leads to the development of stubborn acne scars on the skins of some of the patients.
Whiteheads On Nose And Face
Whiteheads on the nose are quite painful for some. As nose being an extremely sensitive area of the body, any little acne eruption on it is quite distressing to the person. Whiteheads on face appear in maximum numbers on the cheek and temples.
The sebum (skin oil) secreted by the sebaceous gland is most active in the facial skin tissues. For this reason, facial skin is highly prone to develop acne related issues more than any other part of the body. In rare cases, some patients do develop comedones on the chest, arms, shoulders, and back of the body.[8,9]
What Causes Whiteheads?
Knowing the causes of acne helps to find solutions to your doubt on how to remove the whiteheads.
Some people have very active sebaceous glands that produce an excess amount of sebum that can block the tiny skin pores. The dead skin cells when combined with sebum, this mixture becomes a thick substance that easily blocks the pores on the skin.[15,16]
The acne-prone skin is also characterized by the stickier cells lining in the pores of the skin which can easily get clogged.
The skin debris (Keratin) combines with oil and dead skin cells to block the hair follicles to give rise to the occurrence of comedo (white or black bumps). The word “comedo’ (plural form ‘comedones’) in Latin means ‘appearing like a worm.’[19,20]
The clogging of the skin pores leads to an inflammatory condition; the inflamed papules and pustules (pimples) are called acne. As the inflammations in the skin pore progress, the dead skin cells and sebum are turned into pus that will be dispelled through small eruptions on the skin.[21,22]
The biggest cause of all types of acne is the hormonal changes happening in the body. Particularly in the youth, the skin pores develop an excess amount of sebum that causes whiteheads or other types of acne. The hormonal changes in the body are high at puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause stages.[25,26]
Another reason for the whiteheads is the genetically acquired conditions of the body. If there were persons in your family who faced bouts of comedones, your physical conditions too are prone to acne.[29,30]
It is also noticed that people belonging to some of the human races are more prone to acne than other races. For example, a majority of the Caucasians are sure to experience severe acne issues than people of other races.[31,32]
The whiteheads can also be caused by medications like certain psychiatric drugs and hormonal birth control pills.
How To Get Rid Of Whiteheads?
Many people, especially the youth, are deeply perturbed by the severe attacks of comedones and actively seeking a solution on how to get rid of whiteheads.
It is easy to get rid of whiteheads as they are comparatively a mild form of acne. But in some cases, it could develop into cystic acne that would require a lot of care and medication to heal.
All normal cases of whiteheads can be treated and cured with the help of ointments, and prescription medicines. There are also varieties of skin cleansing lotions that help in removing the excess oil present in the skin pores.
The physician would normally prescribe antibiotics (taken orally) to decrease the presence and growth of acne-causing bacteria (P. acnes) on your skin. Some of the common oral antibiotics are tetracycline, erythromycin and derivatives, and oral contraceptives (for a woman).[35,36]
The acne medications that contain benzoyl peroxide are one of the primarily recommended treatments for comedones.
Another effective medicine is the salicylic acid that directly helps in faster reduction and breakage of the whiteheads. Salicylic acid helps the skin to shed dead cells and by this, the clogged skin pores get opened. It also helps in dispelling the sebum (skin oil) clogging the skin pores.[40,41]
To clear the whiteheads and prevent their recurrence, topical retinoids got from Vitamin A is found to be quite effective. However, it does not suit some skins as it might cause skin irritation and rashes.
Before the application of the prescribed ointments, it is important to cleanse your skin with mild skin cleansers.
In addition to topical and oral medications, other solutions to whiteheads are laser treatment, surgical procedures, and chemical peels. These solutions normally need to be adopted when the oral and topical treatments fail to cure you of the whiteheads or acne.[43,44]
Whiteheads can be physically removed by the physician using a sterile extraction device to dislodge the material clogging the pores.
Microdermabrasion peel could be used for removing the dead skin cells to open up the clogged pores.
Regular Treatments For Whiteheads
|Removing Acne Causes||Treatments||Prescription Medicines|
|Unplugging skin pores and stopping them from getting plugged with oil|
Topical and oral antibiotic
Topical retinoid medicine
Isotretinoin, an oral retinoid.
Low-dose birth control pills that contain estrogen
|Reducing the amount of skin oil||Isotretinoin|
|Reducing the effects of hormones in producing acne||Avoiding certain foods and medicines, contraceptive pills for woman|
As you are trying to cure the whiteheads, you need to be patient and persistent with the prescribed medication as it might require up to eight weeks to experience the total effect of the medications.
What Needs To Be Avoided?
Some people have the misconception that washing your face frequently will help in getting rid of comedones. It is not true. Avoid washing very frequently, excessive rubbing and caressing of the affected areas, facial masks, and other hydrating facial cleaners as all these can aggravate the acne.
You should not be trying to get rid of the whiteheads by squeezing, picking, popping, or using an at-home extraction device. It may temporarily help in removing the pus, but it will create deep scar marks and could form a blister-like hard projection on the skin.
Cautions On Whiteheads Treatment
Use of all medications and ointments must be under the recommendation of a professionally qualified dermatologist.
The ointments or lotions used for treatment can cause skin rash, intense itching, redness, or blisters for some people; and in such cases immediately consult your dermatologist.
Be careful of the overdosage of the medicines as it can lead to the development of other skin disorders.
If you find the acne nodules or cysts occurring, you need to consult your physician to get the right remedy. As acne nodules and cysts are severe forms of whiteheads, if not treated well with care, they can cause deep scars on the skin.
Natural Remedies For Whiteheads
All most all of the mild cases of acne and whiteheads can be easily removed and prevented with the help of simple home remedies. You will not require the help of prescription medicines and costly treatments to get rid of whiteheads by following natural remedies for acne. Below given are five simple whiteheads or pimples’ home-remedies.
1. Lemon Juice
The application is a simple and straightforward procedure…with the help of cotton balls gently massage the lemon juice over your face. After 15 minutes of the application, wash the face with normal water. Do it regularly once a day, preferably before you retire to bed.
2. Facial Steam
You can get rid of the whiteheads by opening up the clogged skin pores and removing the dead skin tissues and dirt from the pores. For this, facial steam or sauna is a real solution. It also helps in adding glow and beauty to the facial skin.
The procedure is simple; allow your face to get soaked in steam arising from a jug of boiled water for 5 minutes and then pat dry your skin with a clean towel.
Another way to do the steaming is to soak a clean towel in warm water and place the semi-soaked warm towel on your face for a couple of minutes (repeat the same for three times in a sitting).
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can eliminate the bacteria causing the acne inflammation. This also works as an astringent in removing the sebum clogged in the skin pores.
Take one teaspoon apple side vinegar and dilute it into one cup of water and then massage your face with a cotton ball soaked in this solution for a couple of minutes and wash the face after 15 minutes with lukewarm water. If this process is done once daily for few weeks, the acne issues will disappear very soon.
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is commonly used for bleaching the skin as it can gently exfoliate the dead skin tissues and removed the dirt and oil from the skin pores. It is also good for maintaining the pH balance of the skin.
Make baking soda paste with water and apply it like a mask on your face and wash the face after 5 minutes. This procedure must be repeated three times a week for best results.
5. Tea Tree Oil
It is found that the anti-bacterial properties of tea tree oil work well in getting rid of the whiteheads. Once a day applies the tea tree oil onto the facial skin with the help of cotton ball. Within a month, the occurrence of whiteheads becomes rare on your face. Pure tea tree oil is harsh on the skin; it is better to use a lotion or liquid that contain up to 10% tea tree oil in it.[51,52]
There are also several other common natural remedies for acne that will work for whiteheads too.
How To Prevent Whiteheads?
The common adage says, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ By following simple preventive methods, you can be free of whiteheads.
- Make sure to cleanse your face twice a day and use only mild cleansing solutions (non-abrasive cleaner)
- Avoid using chemical rich skin-care products like astringents, masks, toners, and exfoliating soaps.
- Limit the usage of strong body sprays and alcohol based skin-care
- Always use only good quality cosmetics and sun-block lotions as the bad ones will clog the skin pores
- Avoid heavy foundation creams and cosmetics as they will clog the pores…and in case if you use them, make sure to remove them completely from your face before you sleep
- Use only oil-free makeup and skin-care creams
- Do not apply any oil for moisturizing your facial skin if you are prone to comedones
- Avoiding picking and popping the whiteheads as it will lead to increase whiteheads
- If you have oily skin, it is good to carry blotting papers with you to wipe the face with it in every few hours.
- Tanning the skin in sunlight will increase acne… stay away from direct sunlight if your skin is prone to acne
- It is good to continue with acne medication (especially the topical solutions) for a longer period even after you have initially got rid of them.
The Bottom Line
Application of spot treatments and prescription retinoid are said to be the best remedies for getting rid of whiteheads. Natural remedies are safe and effective for acne; however, they should be used regularly for a prolonged period.
In acne management, what matters most is the personal care and acne preventive steps to be followed.
You have to take good care of personal hygiene and oil balance in the skin. It is important to avoid certain foods and cosmetic products to stay free of whiteheads. All type of acne can be cured and controlled by following a healthy lifestyle combined with exercises, healthy diets, and sufficient sleep. (stanthony+)