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Skin Care Tips for Blackheads and Whiteheads

Prerna Salla
The first signs of puberty often include blackheads and whiteheads. In the story, you will come across everything you need to know about whiteheads and blackheads, from the causes to the precautions you need to take.

Quick Tip:

Always use natural means to get rid of blackheads and whiteheads. Egg white masks, honey, milk, cinnamon, baking soda, etc., are some of the best natural skin care remedies.
As you grow and start approaching puberty, your body undergoes many changes - physical as well as psychological. Some of these changes may not be very desirable, i.e., blackheads, whiteheads, acne, pimples - these are the changes that no teenager wishes for.
However, no matter how careful you are with your skin and skin-care routine, you cannot avoid them. The trick is to not panic at their sight. Know that the outgrowths are not permanent and will fade away eventually. It is extremely easy to treat them if appropriate skincare tips for blackheads and whiteheads are followed.
It is just a part of the growth process that the skin, sweat glands, and hair follicles go through. With proper care, you can even decrease their occurrence. They are very different from each other. In the paragraphs to follow, you will learn about the difference between these skin breakouts and the tips that you need to follow in order to get rid of them.

Basic Difference between Acne, Blackheads, and Whiteheads

Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples are all types (lesions) of acne.


Acne is a hormonal impairment that is triggered by the presence of androgenic or male hormones in both males and females. Prominent mostly in teenagers, these hormones along with bacteria and fatty acids in the skin are responsible for the development of acne.
Acne is also characterized by the inflammation of the sebaceous glands present in the skin. The inflammation of these glands is brought about either by hormonal changes, unhygienic living methods, irregular menstruation in women, oily skin, sweaty clothing, and headgear.


Blackheads are outgrowths or plugs that erupt in place of hair follicles and clog its opening. They are also known as open comedones, since their top is open, and they are visible on the skin's surface. They either appear black or yellowish in color.


Whiteheads are similar to blackheads, only they do not grow out of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). They can be identified as extremely small, particle-sized, white bumps on the skin. They are pale and therefore, are not clearly visible.


Pimples are sometimes dubbed as early symptoms of acne, and sometimes classified as acne itself. Pimples are peculiar boils or elevated growths on the skin. These are distinguished spots with red discoloration that surface on the skin due the inflammation of the sweat glands.

Facts About Blackheads and Whiteheads

Blackheads (open comedones)

Blackheads, or open comedones, are extremely tiny and minuscule openings on the skin or pores that have been clogged at the surface. The pores get clogged as a result of accumulation of extra sebum secreted by the sebaceous glands, dirt, oily secretions and bacteria.
Blackheads are easily visible as they erupt slightly outside the skin surface. The ends of the blackheads are exposed to the outside air which oxidizes the sebum present in them and turns them into a slightly darker color than that of the skin.

Whiteheads (closed comedones)

Whiteheads, also known as closed comedones, are exactly like blackheads, except that they do not have an open top. So, they don't erupt over the skin's surface. The sebaceous glands secrete a white discharge, which fills the pore. But the secretion is limited to the inside of the skin.
Since the outside air doesn't come in contact with the follicle and the sebaceous secretion in it, oxidation doesn't take place, and there is no change in color of the lesion. The bump appears white in color due to the discharge. Hence, the name, whitehead.
Blackheads and whiteheads are generally the first signs of early puberty. This is around the time when the hormone levels in the body are at their highest. These hormones vigorously stimulate the sebaceous glands that secrete sebum and oily substances.
Such hormones (androgens), are present in the males for a longer time than they are in the females. So, males suffer from such skin problems for a longer period than females.
Sweat is also an active stimulator. Human sweat consists an unlimited amount of bacteria. These bacteria enter the pores of the skin and clog them. A clogged pore is where the birth of a blackhead takes place.
Oily skin is another factor that contributes to the development of blackheads on the skin. Hormonal imbalance is a major cause of developing an oily skin. The sebaceous glands are extremely sensitive to hormonal changes and react instantly by secreting sebum, which clog the pores and give rise to blackheads.
These can erupt possibly anywhere on the skin where sweat glands and hair follicles are present. The most common areas prone to the proliferation of blackheads and whiteheads are the nose, the back, cheeks, chest, and inner thighs.

Skincare Tips

The skin care regime to prevent blackheads is almost the same as that to prevent whiteheads. The routine is not too fussy and easy to follow. It includes natural, DIY procedures and doesn't involve the use of any chemicals or medication. Go through the following list of precautions and get yourself a smooth, blemish-free skin.
Directing steam towards the root of a blackhead or whitehead makes it soft.
Exposure of Skin to Steam
This makes it easier to get rid of the blackhead in a no-painful way. You can use a facial steamer, or wet terry cloth towels to induce steam into the pore. Make sure the steam is not too hot, as it might burn your skin.
Extra Care for Oily Skin
People with oily skin are more prone to developing blackheads and whiteheads. This is because, the presence of oils in the skin promotes the growth and development of comedones. Areas on the body that are more oily than the other body parts are the T-zone (forehead and nose bridge), inner thighs, back, chest, cheeks, and the chin.
These areas should be kept as dry as possible and washed regularly. This will prevent the accumulation of oil glands and thus stop the bacteria from developing comedones.
Any kind of bacteria breed and multiply faster in areas that are moist and unclean.
Keep it Clean, Wash Regularly
Bacteria responsible for the growth of open and closed comedones also respond faster to oily, moist, sweaty, and unclean skin. To avoid having blackheads and whiteheads, keep your skin clean at all times. Wash it regularly, at least four to five times a day during the summers and thrice otherwise, with cool, fresh water.
Use Separate Set of Towels and Napkins
Make it a habit to use clean and separate towels and napkins, every time you need to wipe or dry your skin. Sharing your napkins and towels or using ones that have been used by others leads to transfer of bacteria and becomes a cause of developing comedones.
Avoid Touching
Avoid Touching
Touching, manipulating, picking, prodding, squeezing, popping, or pricking does NOT help you get rid of the blackhead or whitehead any faster. If anything, it aggravates the comedone. Also, touching it frequently causes unhygienic bacteria of the hands to be deposited on them and increase their number.
Avoid touching it with bare, unclean hands at all costs. When wiping the skin with cloth, cotton, or paper napkins, don't be too harsh. Rub gently to avoid the skin from getting aggravated and developing rashes or redness.

Use a Mild Face wash

The area around the comedones becomes weak and extremely sensitive. Facewashes and cleansers, which contain high percentages of concentrated substances tend to have a reverse effect and worsen the blemishes.
When buying face wash products especially for blackheads and whiteheads, make sure to check its composition and that it is very mild and not too harsh. If possible, ask your doctor to suggest a product that suits your skin type.
If you suffer from the problem of comedones, try to use as little make up as possible on areas that are prone to comedone appearances.
Apply Light Makeup
Be sure that the products you are using are hygienic, meant for oily skin, and do not contain any harsh chemicals that could affect your skin in a bad way. The most important tip for comedone care or basic skin care is that you should never go to bed with your makeup on.
Most of the time, what you eat, shows directly on your skin.
Avoid Oily Food
So, if your diet includes lots of oily foods, fried stuff and junk food, your skin reacts and gets rid of the unwanted oils by developing outgrowths on the skin like blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and acne. Be careful of what you eat and try staying away from such unhealthy, oily foodstuffs.
Maintain proper hygiene by dressing up in fresh, clean and thoroughly washed clothes each time. Unclean and sweaty clothes are home to thousands of bacteria that facilitate the growth of comodones.
Wear Clean Clothes

Avoid Exposure to Sun and Dust

The area on the skin around the comedones is raw, tender and extremely sensitive.
Exposure of these areas to sun, heat, and dust would result in worsening of the condition of the skin. Avoid going out when the weather is hot and dusty. If your job demands staying out in such conditions, make sure your skin is covered in a strong yet mild sunscreen, and your body is constantly hydrated.

Shower After A Workout

If you are someone who works out in the gym regularly, you should maintain a hygienic routine of showering after your exercise regime. Leaving the sweat on the body for long would again result in excessive accumulation of sweat and dirt, which might coagulate with the body's natural sebum secretion. This would increase the number of comedones on your skin.
Keep Your Body Hydrated
The more hydrated your body is, the better it is. Consumption of water, fluids, fruits, and juices, maintains the level of natural fluids in your body. This acts as a natural way of preventing the growth of comedones.
Exercising regularly might not be directly related to prevention of blackheads and whiteheads, but it sure aids in the process.
Exercise Regularly
Exercising enhances the blood circulation throughout the body and that works wonders for the skin by keeping it healthy and nourished. It also opens up the clogged pores and helps in getting rid of excessive sweat and oils from the body. Clean and healthy skin doesn't entertain any abnormal outgrowths and is thus free from blackheads or whiteheads.
Use Oil-Free Moisturizer and Sunscreen
Regular moisturizing of the skin is a necessity, whether it is dry or oily. But, people who suffer from acne need to be careful. Oil-free moisturizers with extremely minute oil percentage could do the trick for them.
Regular Exfoliation of Skin
Regular Exfoliation of Skin
Exfoliating the skin necessarily means peeling away the dead skin cells that have accumulated over the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin covering the body). Exfoliation should be gentle and natural. You can exfoliate your skin at home or get it done at a spa or beauty center. Facials are the most common method of exfoliating the skin.
Sleep solves all problems.' It does, literally! Sleep relieves the human body and mind of tensions that have piled up over time.
Take Rest
Stress is the number one cause of degradation of the skin's condition. Various stress-relieving activities, like yoga and meditation also improve the circulation of blood and give the skin a healthy glow and shine. This leaves no scope for the development of blackheads and whiteheads on healthy, stress-free skin.

Limit the Consumption of Alcohol

Alcohol dehydrates the skin extensively and reduces collagen production. This results in improper blood circulation, broken blood vessels, and porous skin. These are favorable conditions for the growth of comedones. Consumption of alcohol should be occasional and be limited to the bare minimum, if not completely avoided.
These are some instructions you should pay heed to if you are longing for that clear, soft, smooth, blackhead and whitehead-free skin. As it was mentioned before, blackheads and whiteheads are absolutely normal, so please don't panic. They can easily and possibly be handled with the right attitude and appropriate care.