Both Blackheads and Whiteheads are mild forms of acne that appear on the surface of the skin. 

They occur mostly on the face but are also common in other areas such as neck, chest, shoulder and back. 

Whiteheads are closed clogged pores while Blackheads are open clogged pores.

What Are Blackheads?

Blackheads are small, dark or black coloured bumps that appear on the skin. 

Blackheads are easy to spot because of their dark colour. They are often mistaken for trapped dirt in the skin. They have a slightly raised texture but they are not swollen or inflamed, unlike pimples.

Blackheads are usually small lesions but picking at them can cause infections and make them larger. 

It can also cause unintentional scarring or make the pores bigger.

What Are Whiteheads?

Whiteheads are small, white or yellowish coloured bumps that appear on the skin. 

Whiteheads are also called milia. They are usually very small in size but can sometimes be visibly bigger. They are generally not painful but can cause irritation in some cases.

Whiteheads are round in shape and do not cause swelling or inflammation. However, in case of a bacterial infection, whiteheads can flare up and turn into papules or pustules.

The main difference between them is that Whiteheads are covered on top by a thin layer of skin while Blackheads are open and uncovered. Blackheads turn dark because of oxidation since they are exposed to the air. Whiteheads remain white since no chemical reaction takes place due to the covering layer of skin.

How Do They Occur?

Every pore in our skin is connected to a sebaceous gland which produces sebum. Extra sebum production can lead to clogged pores causing whiteheads and blackheads. 

They are both comedones, formed when hair follicles get clogged by oil, grime, dead skin cells and keratin.

Whiteheads/Blackheads also occur due to a variety of reasons including-

  • Puberty
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Genetics
  • Oil-based greasy skincare products
  • Ingrown hair
  • Excessive sweating
  • Excessive scrubbing and washing the skin
  • Personal lifestyle and habits
  • Certain health conditions and medications

Medical Treatments Available For Them

1. Extractions

Extractions involve using a sterilized sharp instrument to make a small incision on the heads and then using a looped extractor to pull the contents out of the pore. 

Extractions should be performed only by certified dermatologists.

2. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion involves using a special rotating instrument to quickly sand away the top outer layer of skin and give way to the fresh new skin underneath. 

Microdermabrasion clears all kinds of acne on the skin.

3. Pore Strips

Pore strips are also called nose strips. They are like strong band-aids that are applied to the affected area. When pulled off, they remove top layers of dead skin cells, blackheads, hair, dirt, and oil.

4. Chemical peels

Chemical peels involve using specially formulated chemical solutions to the affected area. The old layer of skin slowly blisters and peels off giving way to new, youthful skin free of blackheads, whiteheads and acne.

5. Vacuum Suction

Vacuum suctions work by creating a vacuum and sucking out the impurities however these only work for mild blackheads. Steaming the affected area for opening up the pores beforehand gives better results.

6. Laser and Light Therapy

The laser and light beams effectively penetrate through the top layers of skin to treat the skin from underneath. 

This clears and rejuvenates the skin and is also a painless process.

12 Home Remedies To Remove Them

Home Remedies

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is anti-inflammatory, has antioxidants and medicinal properties. Regularly applying aloe gel on the affected area will not only soothe and heal the skin but also prevent further breakouts.

2. Tea Tree Oil 

Mix tea tree oil with Fuller's earth and apply the paste. Rinse it off after it dries. Tea tree oil is antibacterial, disinfecting and soothing while fuller's earth will absorb excess oil.

3. Green Tea 

Mix green tea powder with filtered/distilled water to form a paste. Apply it on the skin and let it sit for 5 minutes. Wash it off and pat dry the area.

4. Milk And Honey 

Mix raw milk and pure honey to form an organic paste. Apply it on the skin and cover with a clean, thin cotton strip. Gently peel it off after 15 minutes. Rinse it off with lukewarm water.

5. Egg Whites 

Carefully break an egg and separate the egg whites. Spread a tissue paper on the affected skin. Apply a few coatings of egg white on it and let it dry for 15 minutes. 

Gently peel it off and rinse with cold water.

6. Cornstarch 

Mix cornstarch with filtered water to make a smooth paste. Apply it on the area. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water. 

Cornstarch absorbs all the excess oil in the skin.

7. Brewer's Yeast 

Mix brewer's yeast with milk to form a paste. Apply it evenly on the affected area. Cover with a cotton strip or tissue paper and let it dry for 15 minutes. 

Gently peel it off and rinse with lukewarm water.

8. Neem And Turmeric paste 

Make a smooth paste of thick consistency by mixing together neem powder and turmeric. Apply it on the affected area and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wash off with cold water. 

Apply it over a tissue paper if you do not wish to apply it directly on your skin.

9. Baking Soda 

Mix baking soda with water and apply the paste on the affected area. Wash it off after 15 minutes using lukewarm water. Do not overdo this since it can cause dryness and irritation in the skin.

10. Ice Cubes 

Simply rub cool ice cubes on the affected area for 10 minutes. It cools and soothes the area and shrinks the pores. 

It also improves blood circulation to the area. Make aloe vera ice cubes to make this even more effective.

11. Steam 

Steaming greatly helps in opening up the clogged pores. Place a pot of boiling water in front of you and carefully place your face above the rising steam. 

You can place a towel over your head to make the process more effective.

12. Supplements 

Dietary supplements like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Zinc, Omega 3, Omega 6 etc help in fighting and reducing all kinds of acne, blackheads and whiteheads.

10 Products Effective In Reducing Blackheads

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