Just like a blackhead, whiteheads are closed hair follicles with bacteria, cells, and oil clogged in them.
Except that instead of appearing black they are characterized by a white surface.
This article will discuss some remedies for getting rid of them.
Whiteheads are considered mild acne that comes in the form of tiny white bumps on the surface of the skin.
This form of acne can occur on any part of the body that has pores, but most commonly on the face, chest, arms, back, and neck.
Our skin contains pores, and inside those pores are glands called sebaceous glands. These glands produce oil referred to as sebum, which aids in naturally moisturizing the skin.
However, overproduction of the sebum can result in pore clogging.
Whiteheads develop once your pores get clogged with dead skin cells, sebum, sweat, and/or dirt. The outer layer of the skin contains bacteria that grow within clogged pores.
The existence of bacteria in the epidermis often causes an enlarged follicle, which can lead to redness and inflammation.
If this bacteria is trapped within the surface of the skin, it will become a white head. The following treatments are effective ways to treat and eliminate your whiteheads.
It is important to note that some of these ingredients and actives have the tendency to make the skin sensitive.
So it is imperative to only try the treatments out during night time and always wear sunscreen in the morning, even when you’re indoors.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
Do not let the word “acid” intimidate you, the alpha hydroxy acid actually works wonders on the skin.
Alpha hydroxy acid, also known simply as AHA, is a natural acid that can be an effective exfoliant.
The alpha hydroxy acid works by shedding the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, which helps reduce the chances of clogged pores.
AHA based exfoliants are the most common, and arguably the most effective, treatment for whiteheads.
Keep in mind that this treatment is not always well-accepted by the skin, especially to especially if your skin is oily, if you have acne, or if you’re suffering sun damage.
Having said that, use AHA products that contain, at most, 10% of alpha hydroxy acids. If you’re using an AHA chemical exfoliant, choose a product that does not go over the pH level of 5.
Since this is an active ingredient, you may experience purging for the first few weeks of usage. In this case, your acne will become worse before it becomes better.
But fret not, because, after 4-6 weeks, your skin will most definitely become decongested and clear up.
Retinoid creams and vitamin A
Vitamin A is a very strong and essential antioxidant that has multiple benefits on the skin. It contains nourishing and protective properties that promote healthy production of skin cells.
This antioxidant encourages regular skin growth, reduces redness and inflammation, and makes the skin firm and radiant.
Your use of Vitamin A can either be topical or oral or both. There are plenty of Vitamin A products that come in the form of facial creams and serums.
You can also find pure Vitamin A oil available on the market. Or you can choose to go to retinoid creams.
Retinoid creams also contain vitamin A, oftentimes much more concentrated and stronger.
Strong retinoid creams must be used with caution. As always, do a patch test on your forearm first before directly applying on the face.
Mild retinoid creams may be more tolerable but only use it at night. Do not immediately apply the product to your whole face.
Instead, slowly introduce the product to your skin. You can mix it with your daily night moisturizer at first until your skin gets used to it.
Retinoids can make your skin sensitive, so don’t use it during the day and always apply sunscreen in the morning.
Benzoyl peroxide has anti-bacterial and protective properties that aid in protecting the skin from infection, reducing inflammation and can also prevent sebum overproduction.
This ingredient is often found in toners, facial creams/moisturizers, and spot treatments.
It is important to note that this can dry the skin, so immediately follow it with a moisturizer.
Only use products that contain 2% of benzoyl peroxide and use it no more than once a day, to avoid dryness and irritation.
Salicylic acid is a variant of beta hydroxy acid or BHA. Unlike AHA, BHA directly targets blackheads.
However, salicylic acid is also an astringent that can regulate sebum production and deep-cleanse the pores.
This acid is capable of pushing the dirt and impurities that plug the pores towards the surface of the skin. It is also an effective exfoliant.
Some people may find some salicylic acid products too strong. If so, dilute it with your daily moisturizer.
Use this treatment once a day and gradually increase the amount of usage as your skin gets used to it.
Witch hazel is a very common and popular ingredient in skin care products. It claims to help treat and prevent whiteheads.
It can help tighten and deep-cleanse pores, which can help prevent oil and dirt buildup.
Witch hazel, like other similar astringents, can also reduce inflammation and regulate sebum production. This ingredient is often found in toners.
It may be drying to certain skin types, so follow it up with your favorite moisturizer mixed with your favorite essential oil.
Honey contains antibacterial properties that can help soothe the skin and protect it from infections.
Simply apply the honey to affected areas and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
You can repeat this method up to twice a day. If irritation or allergy occurs, stop this treatment method right away.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can effectively kill deep-rooted bacteria. Pure tea tree oil may be too thick for the skin to absorb, so dilute it first with water or your favorite toner.
Tea tree oil is typically found in skin care products such as cleansers, toners, and essences. It is ideal to use a tea tree essence because it is thinner in consistency.
Tea tree oil is known to be a very effective spot treatment for all forms of acne.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can help reduce inflammation and treat whiteheads with regular use. Mix two tablespoons of the product with 8 ounces of lukewarm water.
Stir the mixture and apply on the affected areas, leave it on for 15-20 minutes and rinse with warm water. To some skin types, apple cider vinegar works great.
However, this ingredient can be too drying and may not be suitable for oily skin types. Follow with your favorite moisturizer.
For more tips on how to take care of your skin and avoid whiteheads, blackheads or acne breakouts, check the articles listed below.