Human skin changes with time due to hormonal changes. Especially during the teenage, the skin can succumb to many skin issues, and whiteheads are among them. Ironically, whiteheads can trouble you at times, even after your teenage years.
However, there is hope in home remedies for treating whiteheads. Before looking at some effective remedies, it is important to understand what whitehead is and why it occurs.
What Is a Whitehead?
Your skin produces natural oil to nourish itself and releases the excess oil through pores. When those pores get clogged or blocked for some reason, the sebum from sebaceous glands begins to absorb that oil from the skin.
This condition causes whiteheads or blackheads, and in severe cases, they turn into pimples or acne.
Whiteheads are commonly covered by the epidermis, making them look the same colour as your skin.
What Causes Whiteheads?
The sebaceous glands are located all over your skin, and most of them may connect to hair follicles. Whiteheads occur when these hair follicles get inflamed.
Inflammation can occur due to abnormal formation of keratin, increased sebum production and the presence of whitehead-causing bacteria.
Before diving into how to remove whiteheads permanently, it is important to find out why they appear in the first place.
Here are some causes behind whiteheads:
During puberty, your skin is more vulnerable to whiteheads. There is an increased production of sebum due to hormonal changes. In response to this, your brain produces a GnRH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone), which forces the oil glands to secrete more oil.
As a result, the pores get blocked, and your skin holds dead cells and bacteria. This results in blocked pores.
2. Hormonal Changes
Apart from puberty, other hormonal changes that cause whiteheads include pregnancy, birth control pills and menopause. Most women also notice the formation of whiteheads and other types of acne during their menstrual cycle.
As estrogen levels decrease, it causes increased progesterone levels. Ultimately, the glands release more oil due to hormonal imbalances.
One major cause of whiteheads can be hereditary factors. It is believed that parents with a history of whiteheads or acne are more likely to have children who might face the same skin problems.
4. Lifestyle Habits
Unhealthy lifestyles that include smoking, drinking, or bad sleeping patterns can worsen the condition of whiteheads. Numerous studies have detected a connection between specific foods and whiteheads.
However, the diet has not been proven to be an immediate cause for whiteheads.
When you undergo stressful situations, whiteheads are more likely to occur. In these tough situations, glands become more receptive to stress hormones, resulting in excess sebum production. This condition leads to breakouts of these little bumps.
How to Remove Whiteheads?
If you are wondering how to remove whiteheads naturally, you can opt for a host of home remedies. Here is a lockdown on some straightforward tips to get rid of those whiteheads:
1. Witch Hazel
A natural treatment option is witch hazel, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It also acts as a natural astringent, causing your tissues to shrink, calming irritated skin, and thereby removing inflammation.
Sometimes, applying more astringent on your skin may cause irritation and dryness. Thus, it is best if you apply witch hazel only once a day; use it more only if necessary.
When it comes to a traditional remedy that boosts the natural healing of your skin, turmeric paste is your go-to solution. Turmeric contains antibacterial properties and will help get rid of whiteheads.
3. Oatmeal Scrub
If your skin is more prone to whiteheads, exfoliating it with an effective scrub is a great choice. Oatmeal scrub is devoid of any harmful chemicals, and you may opt for this natural scrub to cure whiteheads. This scrub works best when you add honey and lemon juice to it.
4. Facial Steam
Exposing your face to steam helps clogged pores open up. You can do facial steaming once in a few days.
Enriched with antibacterial properties, honey’s sticky and thick quality softens clogged pores. Not only does it remove whiteheads, but it also makes your skin brighter and smoother. With the consistent application of honey, you will notice a radiant glow with no whiteheads breakout.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid along with other natural acids. It helps exfoliate the skin, extracts excess oil from your pores and shrinks their size. Being highly acidic, it kills any thriving bacteria and reduces inflammation.
7. Tea Tree Oil
For treating mild to moderate whiteheads, tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial benefits. This natural oil helps soothe redness and inflammation. If you are keen on trying pure tea tree oil, ensure you dilute it with carrier oils.
8. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel helps remove excess oil and reduce whitehead breakouts when mixed with a few drops of lemon.
9. Lemon Juice
Being acidic, lemon juice helps dry out your skin and absorb excess oils. Moreover, it has antibacterial compounds that work to reduce inflammation.
10. Baking Soda
A natural moisturizer, baking soda helps balance the pH level of your skin by nourishing it and, consequently, catalyzing the treatment of whiteheads.
11. DIY Sugar Scrub
A DIY sugar scrub is an effective remedy to get rid of whiteheads. To prepare a DIY sugar scrub, mix sugar with lemon juice and honey. Apply over the face and scrub it in a circular motion.
After a few minutes, cleanse and wash your face using room temperature water. Once you start seeing the desired results, refrain from overuse. You can apply this DIY sugar scrub twice a week.
You may fail to get the desired results despite trying home remedies and wondering how to remove white heads from face. Then, it is time for you to turn to medications or treatment.
Below is a list of a few effective medications to control whitehead concerns:
12. Benzoyl Peroxide
A cream containing benzoyl peroxide is capable of drying up excess oils as it is equipped with antibacterial properties. Such a cream also decreases skin inflammation.
However, when you pick any cream containing benzoyl peroxide, ensure it does not exceed 2% concentration as it can be harmful to your skin. Also, wash your hands instantly after this treatment.
12. Salicylic Acid
Wondering how to prevent whiteheads effectively? Salicylic acid helps decrease redness due to its anti-inflammation properties. It also helps open pores. Devoid of any side effects, it promotes cellular development, leading to even skin tone.
13. Mild Retinoids
Enriched with Vitamin A, Retinoid works against unclogged pores. However, to avoid making your skin extremely sensitive to the sun, opt for only a mild retinoid cream.
14. Gentle Exfoliants
Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells without causing irritation and dryness. However, you need to exfoliate your skin gently.
15. Consult Your Dermatologist
When all the home remedies and medications fail to do the needful, it is time to consult with a dermatologist. An experienced dermatologist will prescribe medicines and topical treatments after the correct diagnosis of the skin issues and root problems.
How to Remove Whiteheads from Nose?
The nose is more vulnerable to whiteheads being an oily T-zone. But with the help of over-the-counter (OTC) medications, you can control the spread of whiteheads on the nose. A few popular OTC medications include benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
Benzoyl peroxide works as a spot treatment for acne that is inflamed, whereas salicylic acid helps your whiteheads to shed their dead skin cells from open pores.
As per studies by the American Academy of Dermatology, it takes nearly one to two months for anti-acne products to reflect the desired results. This means you should try one solution for how to remove white heads from nose at home at a time. Keep at it consistently before moving forward with another.
How to Remove Whiteheads from Chin?
The chin is no less vulnerable to whiteheads than the nose. Gentle exfoliation is believed to be most effective when it comes to removing whiteheads from the chin.
If that fails to work, then you may opt for medications such as cream containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and mild retinol, among others. But before that, you may want to try a few home remedies that are not only easy on the pocket but do not cause any side effects.
A few effective home remedies include honey, aloe vera gel, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and turmeric.
Other Self-care Tips for Whiteheads
Anxiety and fast foods worsen existing whiteheads and increase the chances of developing more. There are many self-care habits when it comes to preventing whiteheads. Here are some of the most effective self-care tips for whiteheads:
- Wash your face at least twice a day to avoid sebum production.
- Exfoliate to remove dead skin. This will help unclog pores, but while doing that, avoid harsh scrubs.
- Avoid squeezing or popping whiteheads as this might result in scars and infection.
- Wash your hair frequently to remove oil from hair.
- Choose non-comedogenic or oil-free beauty products as they are less likely to cause breakouts and clog pores.
- Do not forget to remove makeup before you sleep to avoid clogged pores.
- Keep your smartphone, pillowcase, and sunglasses clean so that your facial skin can avoid coming into contact with dirt, oil and bacteria.
- Lead a stress-free life and incorporate a healthy diet devoid of high-sodium and less sugary food to keep whiteheads away.
- Increase skin hygiene when exposed to high air pollution.
How to Pop a Whitehead?
Sometimes, it is tempting to pop a whitehead because they turn white, and you assume they will disappear. Popping a whitehead is not recommended.
Not only does touching your skin deposit more oil, dirt and bacteria, but trying to pop a whitehead can also lead to inflammation and even permanent scarring.
If you still have the urge to pop whiteheads, nothing can stop you. In this case, take the minimum precautions and follow these steps on how to pop a whitehead safely:
- Wash your hands to prevent more bacteria from thriving in the area.
- Place a warm compress for at least 15 minutes.
- Take clean cotton and apply pressure on either side of the clogged pores to pop it.
- Once you are done, wash it with clean water and apply a gentle toner.
- Bonus tip: If you fail in your attempt at popping whiteheads, stop doing so. Squeezing it could do more damage to your skin.
Difference between Whiteheads and Pimples
Whiteheads are not the same as pimples, which appear closed at the surface. Whiteheads also do not go deeper inside your skin.
While they look white at the tip, they will not get as red, inflamed or tender as pimples, which seem ready to pop at any time. When you compare whiteheads with pimples, the former is quite tiny in size.
Summing Up on How to Remove Whiteheads
Whiteheads are among the most common skin conditions that affect the majority of people, especially adolescents. For this reason, most people attribute whiteheads to their transition from childhood to adulthood and don’t consult a doctor.
However, no matter how common whiteheads are, they can be detrimental to your mental health. If you notice symptoms affecting your physical and mental wellbeing, it is recommended to consult your doctor immediately.
Is It Okay to Squeeze Out Whiteheads?
As a general rule, it is not okay to squeeze out whiteheads. If you squeeze out whiteheads and break your skin barrier, it may result in permanent scarring.
Squeezing out whiteheads can also postpone the natural healing process of your body, thereby leaving blemishes that last longer. Moreover, if you are not able to squeeze it out properly, it might push the contents of your whiteheads deeper, and your pores may get clogged even more.
However, some people cannot resist the temptation of squeezing out whiteheads. It is recommended that they follow the right technique. Sterilize a needle with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide and gently prick the skin where your pore is clogged.
After that, wash your hands thoroughly, and then apply pressure to both sides of the clogged pore to squeeze out the plug.
If you find yourself in a dilemma about whether to pop or not to pop a whitehead, it is better to talk to a dermatologist about whiteheads and follow their treatment suggestions.
What Is Inside a Whitehead?
Whiteheads are clogged with dead skin cells, Propionibacterium acnes (a bacteria that thrives on your skin), and sebum (an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands inside your skin pores).
Do Whiteheads Leave Scars?
Whiteheads do not leave scars, and if they do, the good news is that all scars are not permanent. Some treatments are available that nearly remove the scars, whereas others help form new collagen fibres of the skin. This way, the skin heals.