Considered to be one of the many symptoms of acne, whiteheads are a common occurrence in teens and young adults (nearly 85% of them get whiteheads). Whiteheads are typical acne lesions that appear as bumps on the skin surface when the pores get clogged with sebum and other impurities. And they can become quite unsightly if they tend to occur in large numbers on the face, neck, hands and chest etc.
Filled with pus, whiteheads are usually closed on the surface, thereby trapping the oil and impurities beneath the skin. Therefore, whiteheads would be firmer than normal blackheads and would be harder to remove than the latter. However, they are not that severe when compared to conditions like cystic acne and can be taken care of effectively with persistent care and a little bit of trial and error.
Effective Remedies to Treat/Prevent Whiteheads on the Face
Whiteheads on the face can make you look quite unattractive. And you would probably need to try different kinds of remedies and medications before zeroing in on the remedies that work for your skin type and condition (the ‘trial and error’ factor we mentioned above). Here are some of the best ways to get rid of whiteheads from the face and prevent them from recurring.
Don’t do This
As much as you may want to squeeze them out, don’t attempt to remove whiteheads on your face with pincers and other similar objects. Whiteheads are usually closed and so would not open up even if you press them. Attempting to squeeze them out would only result in skin damage which would cause permanent reddish scars on the face with time.
Stay Away from Potential Triggers
If you have oily skin, then you are more prone to conditions like acne, pimples, blackheads, whiteheads etc. So avoid using hair and skin products that contain excess oil. The excess oil in these products will close up existing pores and cause the whiteheads to multiply fast.
Use oil free products for your regular skin and hair care regimes. Don’t apply too much makeup on your face as the substances present in the products could aggravate existing whiteheads.
Keep your Face Clean
An important part of any skin care regime is taking care of your facial skin and keeping it clean at all times. If you are prone to whiteheads, you would probably need to wash your face at least twice every day with a cleansing agent.
Avoid soaps and other products that contain harsh chemicals. Rather, opt for gentle face washes and cleansers that would help remove oil, dirt and other impurities from your face without damaging the skin. Antibacterial face washes are considered good options if you want to keep whiteheads at bay.
Do not scrub too hard or too frequently. Attempting to do so would cause the whiteheads to multiply and damage your facial skin in the process. You can also wash your face with essential oils like tea tree oil to keep it clean and free of excess oil and impurities.
Exfoliate your Skin at least Once a Week
Regular exfoliation would help remove dead skin cells that could otherwise mix with excess sebum and clog up the pores, thereby causing whiteheads. Use over the counter exfoliating agents that are gentle on the skin.
Alternatively, you can opt for home remedies like baking soda paste (formed by mixing baking soda with water) which would also prove to be effective in removing whiteheads from the face. Make sure you wash your face with lukewarm water after exfoliating it. If you have extremely oily or dry skin, you can opt to exfoliate your facial skin at least twice a week.
Clean & Drain the Pores
Clogged up pores usually cause whiteheads. By draining these pores regularly, you can keep issues like whiteheads at bay. Accordingly, wrap a warm washcloth over your face for a few minutes (a steam facial would also help). The heat would cause the pores to dilate, thereby making it easier for you to remove the trapped oil and impurities from them when you wash your face afterwards.
You can use an instrument like a comedone remover to effectively remove whiteheads. All you would need to do is place the device directly over the whiteheads (do this after a steam facial for best results) and press it gently. This would remove the whiteheads after which you can rub some alcohol over the area to flush out residual bacteria from the pores.
Opt for Home Made Masks and Facials
There is nothing better than a kitchen counter remedy in tackling day to day issues like whiteheads. Here are some of the more popular ones you can opt for. Applying some toothpaste over the whiteheads before going to bed at night can help reduce the sweeling (bumps) caused by the whiteheads on the skin surface. You can wash off the toothpaste in the morning.
Homemade facial masks can do wonders in treating and preventing pesky whiteheads. Some of the best homemade masks you can opt for would include the ones that conain ingredients like honey, apricot juice, groundnut oil and lemon paste, tomato pulp, papaya juice, raw garlic paste and Vitamin E etc.
Wash your face properly before applying the masks. Leave them on for about 20 minutes before washing your face with cold water. This treatment would definitely remove the oil and impurities from the pores, thereby getting rid of whiteheads effectively.
Over the Counter Medications that Can Help Treat/Prevent Whiteheads on the Face
Vitamin B Complex supplements can help keep your skin healthy in addition to effectively taking care of conditions like acne and whiteheads. You can also opt for a range of OTC medications that are aimed at removing whiteheads and preventing recurrences.
The most common options would include products that contain benzoly peroxide (would kill the bacteria causing the infection and curb sebum production), Salicylic acid (would help remove dead skin cells that can otherwise clog up the pores) and resorcinol ((would help break down whiteheads)
In certain cases, retinoids can also be used to treat whiteheads. Retinoids contain vitamin A and its derivatives that work together to open up clogged pores and remove impurities from the same. In addition to treating conditions like whiteheads, blackheads and acne, retinoids also help to reduce wrinkles on the skin surface.
Whiteheads would take some time to disappear and it may take even weeks for these medications to project positive results. You would also need to take them regularly in order for them to work effectively in getting rid of the whiteheads from your face. Stop taking the medications if you develop allergic reactions to them though.
Call the Doctor
The remedies mentioned above would most definitely help remove whiteheads from the face. However, if the condition seems to persist even after repeated medications, it would be considered wise to talk to a dermatologist to rule out other possible anomalies. It is also considered wise to visit the doctor if the whiteheads remain unabated on the face even after a period of 8-10 weeks.