skin care concerns How to Deal With Whiteheads on Your Face

What you need to know about trying to deal with this pesky blemish on your own.

July 13, 2022
Whiteheads

We’ve all been there before — you wake up, head to the bathroom and look in the mirror before getting ready, only to notice a whitehead has taken up residence on your face. Whiteheads are a common skin care concern that many of us have experienced at some point and if whiteheads are a concern for you, you probably have some questions. 


If you’re wondering how to get rid of whiteheads and whether or not popping whiteheads is a good idea. (haven’t we all done it before?) you’re not alone. Along with that, you probably wonder what products to you use if you have whiteheads and what’s the best skin care routine to prevent them. Those are all valid questions — and we have answers. So keep reading for everything you need to know about whiteheads.


What Are Whiteheads?

Before we get into a skin care routine for whiteheads, it’s important to understand what whiteheads are. There are a variety of different types of pimples but whiteheads and blackheads are two of the most common. 


According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), oil, dead skin cells and bacteria can build up in pores, blocking them and causing a whitehead or blackhead to form. If the pore appears more white, that’s a whitehead and if the pore stays open and appears black in color, that’s a blackhead. These pesky blemishes are pretty common but the good news is that there are steps you can take to help manage whiteheads, as they’re a pretty mild form of acne

What Happens If You Pop A Whitehead?

If you’re trying to figure out how to remove whiteheads, note that you shouldn’t pop your whiteheads to get rid of them. As tempting as it is, doing this can actually cause worse acne by spreading bacteria, delaying natural healing and creating acne scars. 


That being said, there are steps you can take as part of your skin care routine to help manage mild acne. According to the AAD, two ingredients to look for in skin care products if you have whiteheads are retinoid and acids like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. You can find these ingredients in skin care gels, lotions, creams, soaps and pads — all of which can be used to tackle whiteheads on your nose, chin or any other spots.


Keep in mind that it can take a few weeks to notice results from acne skin care products, so being consistent with your skin care routine is key. The AAD points out that sometimes acne skin care products can be drying to the skin, so follow the directions on the packaging, which should tell you how much to use. 


Another important factor to consider is that these ingredients can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater in the morning. We like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30 for its lightweight, anti-aging formula. 


Along with daily SPF, remember to take additional sun protection measures, like limiting your amount of time in the sun during peak hours, seeking shade when you’re outside and wearing a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.


How to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Whiteheads

There are a few steps you can take to help reduce your chances of getting whiteheads in the future, according to the AAD. For starters, look for skin care products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic as well as alcohol-free to avoid irritation. 


You should also avoid squeezing or picking at whiteheads along with scrubbing the skin and harsh exfoliants. Another important factor is to develop a solid skin care routine that can help to keep whiteheads at bay.


3 Skin Care Steps to Help Prevent Whiteheads 

Speaking of a good skin care routine for prevention, what should you include to create a solid skin care routine for whiteheads and acne-prone skin? Besides what we already told you about using acne skin care products formulated with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, here are a few other tips you can incorporate into your skin care routine to help banish whiteheads.


1. Cleanse Your Skin Morning and Night

The first step in your skin care routine — regardless of whether or not you have whiteheads — should always be washing your face with a facial cleanser. Try using a gentle micellar water, like the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof - All Skin Types. This micellar water is powered by tiny micelles or oil molecules that act as a magnet to lift dirt, oil and makeup up and away from the skin. All you have to do is saturate a cotton pad with micellar water and gently wipe the pad across your face. 


Using a cleanser with oil sounds counterintuitive for preventing acne but at night, it’s good practice to double cleanse and follow up with a water-based cleanser. Double cleansing is a fundamental step in K-Beauty skin care routines and involves an oil-based cleanser to remove SPF and makeup, followed by a water-based cleanser to remove dirt and anything else left on the skin. 


While you don’t have to double-cleanse in the morning, it’s really important to do so at night because going to bed with dirty skin is the perfect recipe for all things whiteheads and clogged pores.


2. Add a Treatment to Your Routine

Salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide treatments are great chemical exfoliating options along with retinoids for treating whiteheads according to the AAD. All types of exfoliation are not made equally — a chemical exfoliant can do wonders for your acne while a physical exfoliant like a scrub may make your acne worse and cause skin irritation. As for how often to use these treatments, start slow so you don’t irritate your skin and build up use as your skin tolerates it. 


3. Try a Face Mask

Another skin care step you can take is adding a face mask to your routine. If you have acne-prone skin, try the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask. Formulated with three types of clay and charcoal, this face mask cleanses pores and draws out impurities from oil, dirt and pollution —- making it a great product to add to your routine to help prevent whiteheads. 


apply an even layer of the face mask to clean, dry skin, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry. 


Next: How Do Pimple Patches Really Work?


Edited by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo credit: Chaunte Vaughn