The Truth About Blackheads
| What About Whiteheads?
Whiteheads are very closely related to blackheads and usually respond well to the same facial care and acne treatment regimen as their “open comedone” cousins. The difference between blackheads and whiteheads is that instead of the pore remaining open and appearing dark, “closed comedones” (whiteheads) are closed instead of open. This means no air can get into the pore at all, so the oil, dead skin cells and bacteria clogging the pore can cause more pressure and pain. Whiteheads are slightly raised and you can see the whitish or yellowish plug buildup underneath.
A dermatologist can help prevent whiteheads, blackheads and other forms of acne and its scars. Talk to a dermatologist to get on the right skin care regimen for your skin.
Blackheads are a type of acne-related blemish.1 Also called “open comedones,” they develop on your skin when oil, bacteria and dead skin cells block pores. The plugs appear dark in color, so they’re commonly known by their nickname “blackheads.” Alone, they are a milder form of acne. Common on facial regions like the nose and chin, they can also appear in the ears on occasion. Blackheads are not usually painful and can often be treated with many dermatology-approved skin-care products you can find at the drugstore or over the counter. If they are treated properly with the right skin-care regimen, they might not produce the same deep, dramatic scars that other types of more severe acne can leave behind (like papules, pustules, cysts and nodes).
A proper skin-care regimen to treat and prevent blackheads can do wonders for your skin:
1. Gently wash your face twice each day with a non-comedogenic facial cleanser containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
2. Wash your hands first, then use your fingertips to massage in the cleanser and rinse with lukewarm water. Do not use a washcloth or sponge; these harbor bacteria and are too harsh on sensitive skin.
3. Anytime you get sweaty, wash your face right afterward.
4. Research non-comedogenic cosmetics and topical creams that can help prevent pore blockages.
5. Wash your hair daily and change your pillowcase often.
6. Avoid touching your face; never poke or squeeze blackheads—that spreads bacteria and dirt, and leads to scars.
Keep in mind that blackheads and their close cousins, whiteheads, can very well appear in combination with more severe and painful forms of acne. To get the most effective treatment and prevent long-lasting scars, it is important to visit with your dermatologist, to develop a skin care regimen appropriate for your skin type.