Here are the best products and 7 great tips from dermatologists on how to get rid of whiteheads, also known as closed comedones, comedonal acne, or bumps.
What are whiteheads? Well, they’re pretty much the most annoying things in the world. Kind of bumps that pop up in the most inconvenient time, and it’s usually at the worst part of your face where it’s so obvious, like either your forehead, nose, cheeks, or chin. Whiteheads are also called closed comedones or comedonal acne. It’s a combination of excess sebum, which is oil and dead skin cells that grow in the hair follicle also known as a pore.
What is the difference between blackheads and whiteheads? They’re pretty much made up of the same thing, sebum and dead skin cells. But whiteheads are also known as closed comedones, which means they have a very microscopic opening, the pore is sealed with skin. Therefore there’s no direct access to the air, so it’s not oxidized, which means it keeps its color white.
How to get rid of whiteheads?
Remove your makeup
Make sure to remove your makeup well, especially makeup with SPF, because they have an ingredient that is a little bit harder to remove with just plain water, and a lot of the times it creates these blockage in the hair follicles causing whiteheads. It’s very important to remove this extra layer, and make sure that your pores and your skin is clean and fresh, the oil flows through properly and smoothly without any congestion.
Don’t use harsh exfoliants, scrubs, and peels
If your skin has a tendency to make comedones, you also have an impaired skin barrier that loses water more easily, and as the water evaporates, you get more inflammation and irritation, and this inflammation and irritation kicks up whiteheads formation. Harshly scrubbing is trauma, your skin is too sensitive to this trauma, and will react by making more closed comedones and whiteheads.
Cleanse and moisturize your skin
The very important thing not to forget, if you have whiteheads, is a moisturizer and a moisturizing sunscreen. The moisturizer to wear during the nighttime, the moisturizing sunscreen to wear in the daytime. These products are so important because the skin with comedones or acne has a skin barrier defect that needs to be strengthened by consistent use of a moisturizer.
Also there is some low-grade inflammation present in the skin with whiteheads or acne, and this inflammation is elevated on exposure to sun, and UV exposure which can further contribute to the comedone formation, so you need to wear a broad-spectrum moisturizing sunscreen during the day.
Cetaphil Oil Absorbing Moisturizer, Differin Oil Absorbing Moisturizer, CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion have sunscreen SPF 30, are oil-free and don’t clog pores. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen Gentle Lotion and Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunscreen are also great products for body and face protection with SPF 50 and SPF 55.
Moisturizing sunscreen will help to not only protect your skin from the sun and keep the inflammation at bay, but it will also help to keep the skin barrier hydrated throughout the day and to be stronger.
And then wearing at night time something like Differin Soothing Moisturizer, La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer, or CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion also is important, as you sleep, and the skin recovers from the day which is also an important mainstay.
Here are the main ingredients that you should be looking for if you do suffer whiteheads. All these ingredients are really effective for destroying and preventing closed comedones.
Benzoyl peroxide in the leave on gel, or in a washed form. This is a great ingredient to pursue. Unfortunately it is very drying, so don’t get it anywhere near your eyes.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action and ZapZyt Acne Treatment Gel contain 5.5% and 10% of benzoyl peroxide and are used as leave on spot treatments for whiteheads and acne.
Face cleansers with benzoyl peroxide are Differin Daily Deep Cleanser and PanOxyl Acne Creamy Wash. A good way to use these products is to lather a face wash into the affected areas, leave it in place for a few minutes, and then rinse off, follow it up with the moisturizer.
Be careful, benzoyl peroxide is known to bleach items such as shirt collars, wash cloths, towels, pillow cases and anything else it comes into prolonged contact with. Try to use with white towels, bedding, etc.
Salicylic acid is another ingredient that can be used to treat whiteheads a similar way, either in a wash for the entire face, like CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser, Zapzyt Acne Wash Cleanser, or as a leave on spot treatment for closed comedones or acne, like Paula’s Choice CLEAR Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution or The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.
Salicylic acid concentrates in the oil glands, it has an affinity for the oil glands, it exerts control, and it’s anti-inflammatory, so it hits multiple insults in the pathogenesis of whiteheads formation.
Azelaic acid is an anti-inflammatory compound that can also break up clogged up pores, those closed comedones. It’s very helpful for improving the appearance of pores.
The products with azelaic acid, like Glytone Enhance Brightening Complex, Paula’s Choice BOOST 10% Azelaic Acid Booster, Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum, help to reduce the look of blemishes, whiteheads and acne, while also helping to fade brown spots and marks from previous acne breakouts.
Sulfur has strong antibacterial properties, and definitely can be helpful in improving closed comedones when used consistently. It works great in face masks and leave on spot treatments for whiteheads, like Sulfur Ointment, Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask, EradiKate Acne Treatment, Earth’s Care Acne Spot Treatment, DHC Acne Spot Therapy.
Retinoids are very effective at controlling pores, regulating skin cell turnover, controlling the formation of whiteheads, and reducing inflammation deep in the skin. Dermatologists recommend Differin Gel acne treatment, it contains the acne-fighting retinoid adapalene which is gentler on your skin, while still effective.
There is a perfect balance of oil and water in your body. When you are dehydrated your body produces more oil to compensate for the dehydration, and this leads to comedones and whiteheads formation. So the very important thing is to hydrate your body and your skin, and that also includes drinking water as well.
Sweat it out
If you have the time, go to either a spa or sauna, or go to exercise. When you sweat it out, you are allowing all the pores to open up, and getting this oil to flow through. It helps your skin to detox, as well at the same time it boosts your blood circulation. The blood circulation helps with rejuvenating the skin or healing the area.
Whiteheads is not an overnight cure, and there is no such thing on this earth that will guarantee or promise you, if you use it or if you do this, your closed comedones will disappear tomorrow. It is more of a discipline, and it needs to be a routine. It’s about doing the same things and making sure that you keep up with these routines, and you will know that with determination and hard work you will get results eventually.
Seek professional advice
A lot of the times you’ve tried everything, and you are eating right, you are sleeping right, you are doing everything you’re supposed to do, but your skin still has whiteheads. And that could be something that you cannot control, whether it’s genetics, whether it’s hormonal, whether it’s an allergy, whether it’s something you have no idea about. Therefore is very important to go to a professional, and find out what the exact problem is, or where you can actually improve.
You can also go to salons and get proper extractions professionally, which usually leaves the minimal amount of scarring. They will be able to do it much better than if you remove whiteheads yourself at home.
So these are the tips on how to get rid of whiteheads, as well as the best ingredients and products that will help you to remove whiteheads. Try them out and enjoy your skincare routine!