What are you in the mood for?

What Causes Whiteheads And How To Remove Them

by | 1 shares 73.6K views 73.6K views  
What Causes Whiteheads

A pesky part of beauty, whiteheads are just as irritating as their counterparts when it comes to skin breakouts. Funnily enough, most of us never bother to read up on the reason for whiteheads, although we spent most of our adulthood garnering self-control so we can, for once, stop popping them. But no more! It’s finally time to put a stop to all our whitehead woes.


What Are Whiteheads

Whiteheads are a mild form of acne and appear as small white bumps on the skin’s surface. When a pore gets clogged by sebum, dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria, it forms a round bump. Since the plug isn’t exposed to air, the tip remains white and hence is called a whitehead.


What Causes Whiteheads

The key to effectively treating whiteheads is to first find out the reason for whiteheads. While a whitehead may seem like it just surfaced overnight, their formation can take up to two months. Since the small bump of an infected pore indicates that your skin is trying to push out bacteria, listed below is the answer to what causes whiteheads.

1. Puberty

Most cases of whiteheads come about during puberty, when hormonal changes cause an increase in the production of sebum. The brain releases a GnRH hormone, which tells the oil glands found beneath the skin to produce more oil. As excess sebum fills up the pores, the skin is unable to completely expel dead skin cells and bacteria, resulting in blocked follicles.

2. Genetics

Parents with a history of acne are likely to have children who struggle with the same skin condition. Genetics can impact your inflammatory response; some may respond to bacteria with a stronger inflammatory reaction than others, which could affect the severity of acne.

3. Stress

Higher the stress, greater the chances of whiteheads. Glands that produce sebum are receptors for stress hormones. In a stressful situation, these oil-producing cells are unregulated, resulting in excess sebum production and a higher chance of pore blockage that could lead to breakouts.

4. Hormonal Changes

Many women also find that the appearance of whiteheads and other forms of acne worsen during their menstrual cycle. As estrogen decreases, progesterone levels increase, signalling the glands to produce more oil. Other hormonal causes of whiteheads also include pregnancy, menopause, or birth control pills.

5. Lifestyle Habits

While diet has not been proven to be an immediate cause, numerous studies have observed a connection between certain foods and the prevalence of whiteheads. There’s also been evidence that unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, or an irregular sleep pattern can worsen existing breakouts.


Where Do Whiteheads Appear

While whiteheads on face is a more common phenomenon, there are other hotspots too. Since the reason for whiteheads on face is excess oil, all the oily zones of your body are prone to whiteheads. Listed below are some of the common spots for whiteheads on face and body.

  • Whiteheads on nose
  • Whiteheads on lip
  • Whiteheads on chin
  • Whiteheads on cheek
  • Whiteheads on forehead
  • Whiteheads on back
  • Whiteheads on scalp

Products To Use For Whitehead Removal

Most of us believe that the only way to get rid of whiteheads is by popping them. Sorry to burst your bubble but that’s not true. There are several whitehead removal products that not only help you to treat them, but also act as great measures of prevention in the first place. Below is a rundown of the products that remove whiteheads from face like a wonder.


Best Face Wash For Whiteheads

The ideal face wash for whiteheads should feature Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. This combination kills bacteria and sloughs off dead skin cells. Once you’ve found the best face wash for whiteheads, use it to wash your face at least twice a day.

Nykaa Recommends: Plum Green Tea Pore Cleansing Face Wash, Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser, and Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

face wash for whiteheads
best scrub for whiteheads


Best Scrub For Whiteheads

After using the correct face wash for whiteheads, it’s time to move on to the best scrub for whiteheads. Look for an exfoliator that is gentle and efficient enough to pull out the daily dirt and grime that blocks pores and causes whiteheads.

Nykaa Recommends: Natio Young Polish Pore Unclogging Face Scrub, Neutrogena Deep Clean Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub, and The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Scrub Foam


Best Toner For Whiteheads

While a good whitehead removal toner probably cannot help you get rid of existing whiteheads, regular use of a pore-cleansing toner helps keep them at bay. Invest a toner that tightens pores and helps strengthen the skin’s natural oil and water balance.

Nykaa Recommends: Lakme Absolute Pore Fix Toner, Neutrogena Deep Clean Blackhead Eliminating Cooling Toner, and Fabindia Tea Tree Skin Toner

toner for whitehead removal
whiteheads removal cream


Best Whiteheads Removal Cream

An ideal whiteheads removal cream should be lightweight, so the formula doesn’t settle in pores and clog them. It should also provide light hydration without adding to the already-high oil content of your skin.

Nykaa Recommends: Biotique Bio Winter Green Spot Correcting Anti Acne Cream for Oily & Acne Prone Skin, Mamaearth Oil Free Moisturizer With Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne Prone Skin, and Kaya Comedone Control Serum


Best Whitehead Removal Mask

Some of the best whitehead removal masks are mud masks, charcoal masks, or clay masks. These ingredients pull out the impurities settled in the deepest layers of your skin and leave your pores absolutely purified from within. A whitehead removal mask should ideally be used only once a week.

Nykaa Recommends: Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment, The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, and The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Mask

whitehead removal masks

Frequently Asked Questions About Whiteheads

Q. If nothing else works, is it okay to pop whiteheads?

A. Popping is the easiest and most instant way to remove whiteheads from face, but it leads to scarring. However, if it’s a last resort, make sure you use the correct whitehead removal tool. The Gorgio Professional Black Head Remover Pin Pointed) does a good job at extracting whiteheads. Sterilize the area, your hands and your whitehead removal tool with an antibacterial agent. Once you’ve extracted the contents of the pore, clear the area and use ice to calm the inflamed pore.

Q. I have a major issue with whiteheads on nose. Every time I get rid of them, new ones seem to pop up overnight. How can I have a clear nose?

A. Whiteheads on nose removal is fairly easy since the area is soft and the breakouts aren’t stubborn. Nose strips work best for people with an oily T-zone that ultimately results in a troubled nose. Look for charcoal nose strips like the HipHop Charcoal Nose Strips for Women - Blackhead Removeror the Charcoal Nose Mask for All Skin Types - Blackhead Remover Strip. Jeju Volcanic strips like the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Blackhead 3 Step Sheet Program or the The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Aloe Nose Strip - 7Pcs also work great for whiteheads on nose removal.

Q. What is spot treatment of whiteheads? Does it work?

A. Spot treatment of a whitehead means treating every affected pore with a Q-tip instead of applying the product all over the face. Treat inflamed whiteheads with a few drops of the Nykaa Naturals Essential Oil or use whitehead removal products like the Kaya Purifying Spot Corrector and The Face Shop Dr.Belmeur Clarifying Spot Patch Kit

Q. If my skin is more prone to whiteheads, what are the ingredients that I should look for in skincare products?

A. While picking out whitehead removal products, look for ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide, Resorcinol, Sulfur, Glycolic Acid or Salicylic Acid. Also, Topical Retinoids balance sweat gland productions which in turn prevents pore clogging. Other features that you should look for are fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, water-based, and emollient products.

Q. People often advise me not to wear makeup since my skin is very prone to whiteheads. Is makeup one of the causes of whiteheads on face?

A. While most makeup products may not be an immediate cause of skin breakouts, piling on layers of foundation can aggravate the problem over time. You need to be smart while picking out cosmetics. Look for non-comedogenic products that are meant for oily skin. Lightweight formulas that aren’t oil-based work best on your skin. Opt for powder-based matte formulas instead of creamy or liquid-based ones. Also, instead of layering your entire face, build coverage over troublesome areas by spot treating with a concealer. This way you’re preventing the occurrence of more breakouts without compromising on a flawless base. Also, as a thumb rule, always remove your makeup and thoroughly cleanse your face before you go to sleep at night.

Q. Can I trust oral medication for whitehead treatment?

A. Though oral treatment containing Isotretinoin is easily available over the counter these days, we recommend you consult your dermatologist before you decide to pop a pill since it tends to make your skin painfully dry.

Q. What dos and don’ts should I follow if my skin is prone to whiteheads?

A. Below are some of the dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind:

  • Refrain from touching your face unnecessarily since you’re transferring dirt and bacteria
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • In case of excessive whiteheads on the back, go for loose clothes made of non-synthetic fabric that let your skin breathe.
  • Use caution while you shave the area
  • Ensure that no haircare formulas come in direct contact with skin
  • Don’t be too harsh on your skin while exfoliating since scrubbing too hard can eventually lead to appearance of more whiteheads.
  • Follow your regular skincare regime without amiss
  • Avoid picking at infected areas, no matter how tempting it may seem.
  • When you’re talking over the phone, avoid resting it on your cheek. Instead, use headphones.
MORE from Skin