Everything was going fine until you saw it. That indescribably large whitehead in the center of your forehead.
You tried to resist. You grabbed a coffee. Meditated. It still didn’t work. You picked, poked, and prodded to get rid of a pimple and now you’re left with a bigger, more noticeable blemish.
We’ve all been there. It can be nearly impossible to resist the urge to pick at a ripe, shiny whitehead. It can seem like you’re getting them nonstop during different stages of your life.
Finding out what causes whiteheads and what you can do to get rid of them (without picking, of course) can help restore the broken relationship between you and your skin.
What is a Whitehead?
A whitehead is a type of blemish that has a closed top. Unlike blackheads, which have an open top, whiteheads form when germs, oil, and dead skin cells clog a pore on your skin.
Whiteheads and blackheads are made up of the same material (oil, dead skin, bacteria, etc.) but they look different. Because blackheads are open, the oil and dead skin cells that make up the blemish are exposed to oxygen, which changes the color of the material, making it appear black.
Whiteheads are closed off, so the material inside hasn’t been exposed to oxygen.
Both whiteheads and blackheads are types of comedones, which is another name for a clogged pore.
Common Causes of Whiteheads
Sometimes, the causes of blemishes are out of our control. Genetics, for instance, seem to play a huge role in whether or not a person will develop whiteheads. If your mom or dad had them, you have a higher chance of getting them yourself.
In other cases, whiteheads develop because of our own bad skincare habits or because of hormone fluctuations.
Here are the four most common causes of whiteheads:
1. Improper Skin Care
Washing your face after your workout or before you go to bed can be the last thing you want to do, but if you skip it, you’re creating a bacterial breeding ground on your skin that’s ripe for whitehead development.
Your skin gets exposed to numerous environmental stressors throughout the day. Your makeup, your hands touching your skin, pollution, and sweat all build up on the surface of your skin, creating the perfect spot for whiteheads to develop.
Cleansing your skin every evening to remove the daily buildup can dramatically reduce your chances of developing whiteheads. It’s important to cleanse your skin in the morning, too.
2. Fungal Acne
If your whiteheads seem to appear in small clusters, the culprit could be fungal acne. Fungal acne isn’t really acne at all, although you’ve probably seen this term floating around social media.
Your skin is like a little microbiome of healthy germs that helps keep your skin protected. Sometimes, the germs can grow too rapidly, leading to infection. Fungal acne is a condition caused by an overgrowth of yeast on your skin.
Fungal acne looks like tiny clusters of whiteheads, so it’s easy to assume it’s a normal acne breakout. Fungal acne, however, may also be accompanied by itchiness and irritation that you wouldn’t normally experience with regular whiteheads.
Your hormones could be to blame for your whiteheads, especially if you seem to only experience them around your period or when you are ovulating.
Hormone levels rise and fall before, during, and after your period, and during ovulation. These changes can leave your skin drier than normal, which can cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
When more oil is produced, there’s more opportunity for dead skin, dirt, and germs to mix with it and clog your pores forming blackheads and whiteheads.
4. Your Fingers
Yes. your own hands could be causing your breakouts. Whether you spend a lot of time touching your face purely out of habit or picking at existing bumps, you’re unknowingly spreading germs around your skin.
Germs from your hands can get inside your pores forming new bumps, and germs from whiteheads that you squeeze can spread to other pores, clogging them and forming new bumps.
Trust us, we know it’s tempting, but touching your face and clear skin don’t mix.
How to Get Rid of Whiteheads
No matter what the cause, you just want that pus pocket to disappear.
Take a deep breath in and exhale the negativity. Your skin is working like it should to get rid of toxins, even if it makes you cringe. Be gentle with your skin and try these methods to get rid of whiteheads instead of performing micro facial surgery with your fingers.
Our go to solution for whiteheads is a pimple patch. Nothing helps you keep your hands off your blemish more than these babies!
Pimple patches (also called pimple stickers) work by covering your bump with an invisible, barely noticeable patch that helps protect the bump from makeup, the environment, and yes, your fingers.
Once you cover your pimple with the patch, it goes to work to gently pull the pus, oil, and germs from the bump. Hydrocolloid technology helps reduce the bad stuff while protecting the skin so that when you remove the patch, all you see is a cleaner, more clarified surface.
Pimple patches are like hitting the delete button on your pimple...and also like getting a little help with your lack of self control.
Better Skin Care
Taking good care of your skin is essential in getting rid of whiteheads.
Your skin is constantly renewing; shedding old, dead skin cells and creating new ones. Dead skin cells can end up living rent free on your skin if you don’t properly cleanse your skin to remove them.
Dead skin cells clog your pores, create whiteheads, and slow down your skin cell regeneration process, which can lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Better skin care is a process that involves more than just washing your face. Here’s our easy, three-step system to getting better, more clarified skin.
Cleanse. Using an all-natural cleanser is best. You’ll want to steer clear of chemically-laden cleansers that can strip skin of natural moisture and cause your skin to become irritated.
We love a gentle cleanser that cleanses and restores by working with your skin’s natural pH balance.
If your skin feels tight and itchy after cleansing, your cleanser is too harsh and can cause your skin to produce more oil, which can lead to whiteheads.
Tone. To really get your pores clean and make sure those dead skin cells don’t hang out on your skin longer than they should, you need a toner.
Toners help deep clean your pores while tightening them and making sure dirt and oil don’t get inside. Plant botanicals are gentle, yet effective on the skin and help clarify it and deep clean to eradicate whiteheads before they start.
Moisturize. Yes, even your whitehead-prone skin deserves moisture. In fact, you might be getting more whiteheads because your skin is dehydrated.
Dehydrated skin can send a message to the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. When your skin produces more oil, there’s a higher chance of developing whiteheads and blackheads.
Choose a moisturizer that won’t clog your pores and helps keep your skin moisturized all day.
Rael has natural, plant-based products to help keep your skin cleansed, toned, and moisturized safely, without causing your skin irritation. Our products help you get the skin you want without exposing you to harsh chemicals that could make your breakouts worse, or disrupt your hormones.
Tea Tree Oil
Using tea tree oil is a time-tested way to deal with whiteheads. Tea tree oil has great properties, which can be effective in helping stop whiteheads before they start.
Tea tree oil also has astringent-like qualities, which make it effective in helping keep your pores tight and safe from the collection of dirt and oil.
Rael incorporates the use of tea tree oil in our microcrystal pimple patches as well as our sheet masks. Sheet masks are a great way to keep your skin clear before your period. If you experience whiteheads directly before your period, using a tea tree oil sheet mask can help keep your skin clean, calm, and clarified.
Whiteheads can happen to anyone, at any stage of life. When you wake up with a new whitehead, relax. It’s nothing you can’t handle. Make sure you’re taking care of your skin with the right skin care products and grab a pimple patch to help you avoid the urge to pick and prod.
Trust Rael to supply you with the safest, holistic products to keep your skin clarified and your period safe every single month.
Acne | American Skin Association
Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: A Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties | ASM Journals