Acne Whitehead Treatment

Written by kristen hampton
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Acne Whitehead Treatment
Find an acne treatment regimen that's right for you. (spa treatment image by Koriolis from

Whiteheads are a common form of acne. They usually appear as small white bumps, and can develop into larger, painful white pustules. They can develop on any part of the body, but the face is the most common site. There are several ways to treat whiteheads; if they are a persistent problem, you may want to consider consulting a dermatologist.


To understand how to treat a whitehead, it's important to know what it is and why it develops. A whitehead crops up on your complexion when sebum (the oil that skin naturally produces) and bacteria get trapped below the skin surface in a pore. A white spot appears on the surface of the skin as a blemish. There are two types of whiteheads. Small whiteheads are categorised as non-inflammatory acne. When a whitehead begins to form and the wall of the hair follicle inside the pore breaks, white blood cells enter the follicle and cause inflammation and redness. The end result is a pustule, a pimple with a white centre and red border. These types of whiteheads are usually inflamed and painful.

Whiteheads have many causes, including improper skin cleansing and hormones, to name a few.


The first step in treating whiteheads is developing an effective cleansing routine. Many people find that a cleanser containing salicylic acid is effective at keeping blemishes at bay. For sensitive skin, you might consider a non-comedogenic gentle cleanser like Cetaphil. Cleansing your face daily, both morning and night, can be an effective long-term treatment plan for reducing whiteheads.

Apply a Spot Treatment

A spot treatment is a gel that is dabbed directly onto a whitehead to clear it quickly. Spot treatments usually contain a 2 per cent salicylic acid solution, retinol or both. The active ingredients soak up oil within the blemish, healing it at a faster pace. It also helps to calm redness and decrease inflammation in the area.

Spot treatments are most effective when they are dabbed onto the pimple with clean hands prior to going to bed. When you wake up in the morning, the solution will wash off when you cleanse your face. Solution also can be applied under make-up during the day, although as it dries, it may cause make-up to flake or look cakey.

Conceal and Heal

A medicated concealer is a great way to treat a whitehead during the day while simultaneously covering it up. Medicated concealers typically contain a salicylic acid formula, which when applied to a blemish, works like a spot treatment throughout the day, soaking up oil and decreasing inflammation. It also conceals redness and helps to improve the overall appearance of the blemish. There are several over-the-counter medicated concealers on the market. Choose one that matches your skin tone to make the blemish blend into your complexion.

The Proper Pop

Popping your pimple should be a last resort. Popping can lead to bleeding and long-term scarring and red marks at the site, and is not recommended. However, if you must pop, do it after a shower or cleansing your face, when pores are open and more pliable. Never use your fingertips: your hands are covered in bacteria, and nails can push bacteria further into the pore, which will only irritate the blemish. Instead, use two clean cotton swabs to apply pressure to the area. You may also use a sterilised extractor tool, found at most beauty supply stores. To sterilise it, rub a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol over the ends, or run it under very hot water for a minute or so. Let it cool before applying it to your skin.

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