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Blackheads & Whiteheads


We've all been there, standing in front of the bathroom mirror studying our skin and wondering what those little dots really are. They can look both white, yellow and even so dark that they look black. What many may not know is that these are actually a form of acne, called whiteheads or blackheads. For most of us, they seem to appear out of nowhere and once they appear, it can seem impossible to get rid of them. No one wants these spots on their face, and getting rid of them can be difficult. So what exactly are whiteheads and blackheads? And more importantly, how can you get rid of them?

Whiteheads and blackheads are also considered the most common forms of acne. Although they look a little different, blackheads and whiteheads are actually made of the same material. This usually consists of a combination of dead skin cells, the skin's natural oils and sebum. However, there is a fairly simple explanation for why they still look so different - whiteheads are closed pores while blackheads remain open. It is also this simple difference that will affect how you treat them to get rid of those spots that none of us want.



  • Occurs when pores become clogged with bacteria and sebum
  • Usually develops into pimples if not treated
  • Small but firm, white or yellow in color
  • Closes a pore


  • Found inside an open pore
  • Darker color due to oxidation of the material
  • Formed when pores become clogged
  • Form of non-inflammatory acne, but can also develop into pimples
  • Can be confused with "sebaceous filaments"


Just as whiteheads and blackheads contain the same material, they occur for the same reason. When the hormones in the body produce more oil and dead skin cells than your pores can handle, whiteheads and blackheads will form. For many, this increased hormone production can occur during adolescence and as a young adult. When hormones are regulated, oil production will also be regulated, and pores will remain clean. For others, however, this is not the case.

Some, even into adulthood, may find that the skin continues to overproduce oil and dead skin cells well into adulthood. If your skin produces more oil than your pores can remove, the pores will clog, and you will get whiteheads and blackheads. Regardless of age, bacteria will attach themselves to clogged pores when they find them, and that's when whiteheads and blackheads can develop into red and irritating acne with inflammation.


There are some simple steps you can take to avoid blackheads and whiteheads on your skin, and since they are made of the same material, you can also use the same methods to keep both away.

  • Use an exfoliator about twice a week.
  • Use a cleanser with lukewarm water to wash your face.
  • Apply an exfoliating toner that contains salicylic, alpha hydroxy, or glycolic acids to clean pores.
  • Moisturize the skin with a lightweight formula, such as a gel with hyaluronic acid.
  • Wash your face after exercise or if you have sweated a lot.
  • Avoid touching your face too much and squeezing pimples and acne breakouts.
  • Choose oil-free makeup.
  • Use a face mask every week, preferably with charcoal as one of the ingredients.


As with acne and breakouts, it can be very tempting to try to remove whiteheads (also called milia) by squeezing them. However, this is absolutely not recommended as it can result in scarring and worsen the skin condition. Instead of doing this, you should use one of the several methods approved by dermatologists to get rid of whiteheads. For example, you can use products containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin and gently remove dead skin cells. This will prevent cells from mixing with the skin's natural oils and clogging pores. Another ingredient to focus on is retinol, which should be applied to the skin as it helps increase cell renewal and thus also limit the accumulation of dead skin cells.

There are also some other simple things you can do to treat whiteheads and get rid of them. Always wash and clean your face morning and night, regardless of whether you have used makeup during the day or not. Avoid using make-up products that are too heavy and always make sure to remove all make-up every night. During the day, you should avoid touching your face as much as possible and also avoid squeezing existing pimples or whiteheads. When you follow these methods, you should be able to see results in no time.

Products that reduce clogged pores

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