Whiteheads are a mild form of acne that appear as small, round, white bumps on the skin’s surface. This type of acne occurs when a pore becomes clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, and debris. If this clogged pore is covered with a thin layer of skin, it appears white on its surface. Whiteheads commonly appear on the face, shoulders, neck, chest, and back.
Most cases of acne come about during puberty, when hormonal changes cause an increase in the production of sebum. When a young person begins puberty, the brain releases a GnRH hormone, which in turn signals the pituitary gland to release two additional hormones known as androgens. These hormones tell the oil glands found beneath the skin to produce more oil, also known as sebum. As excess sebum fills up the pores, the skin is unable to completely expel dead skin cells and bacteria, and this can result in blocked follicles that become acne blemishes, including whiteheads.
Whiteheads and blackheads are both considered mild forms of acne, and both fall under the umbrella of the term comedones. There’s one key difference between these two blemishes; if the top of the pore is a closed, it is considered a whitehead. If it’s open and exposed to the air, it’s considered a blackhead. Whiteheads sit on the surface of the skin and are considered closed comedones. Whiteheads are pores that are filled with sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria (the same substances found within a blackhead), but only have a microscopic opening on the skin’s surface. Whiteheads do not turn dark like blackheads because the top of the pore is closed, meaning the sebum found within the pore does not oxidize from air exposure.
Natural remedies are increasing in popularity as alternative skin treatments. While the term “natural” seems promising, the downside to these treatments is that they may not go through the same testing standards. Use the following items with caution.
Taking care of your skin in general can go a long way in preventing whiteheads in the first place. Try these tips:
- Wash your face once in the evening. Use a mild product, like one from Dove or Cerave. You may also want to wash your face after working out or playing sports.
- Use lukewarm water for cleansing and bathing.
- Avoid harsh scrubs, which can cause skin irritation.
- Exfoliate a few times per week only. It helps to get rid of dead skin that can clog your pores, but exfoliating too much can actually cause further irritation and more acne problems.
- Wear a sunscreen specifically designed for the face. All-over sunscreens can clog facial pores.
- Wash your hair regularly, especially if you have long hair. Oil from your hair can clog your pores.
- Keep hair products away from your face.
- Clean your smartphone, pillowcase, and sunglasses regularly to get rid of oil, dirt, and bacteria.
Natural and easy recipe
- 2-3 teaspoons baking soda
- Make a paste with the baking soda and apply on the entire face or just on the whiteheads.
- Let it dry for 15-20 minutes.
- Wash it off with lukewarm water.
Repeat this once or twice a week until the whiteheads go away completely.
Baking soda works as an astringent and exfoliant. It removes all the impurities that are clogging the pores and cleanses them. It is also a pH neutralizer and can help to bring the skin’s sebum production under control.