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What are Whiteheads – What are Blackheads

What are Whiteheads What are blackheads

White Spots & Blackheads Spots

Although whiteheads and blackheads are relatively common, how much they affect your life will depend on where they appear and how many of them there is. If you experience the occasional whitehead, you may not feel distressed. However, persistent breakouts may leave you feeling self-conscious, prompting you to seek a resolution that restores your appearance and your confidence.

Contrary to what many say, whiteheads and blackheads do not appear because someone is unclean. In most cases, they arise because of hormonal changes; most of which occur in women going through puberty, the menopause, menstruation, or contraceptive modifications. However, men can experience this problem too.

For those who want to treat the problem at home, a range of options is available. From cleansing regularly through to exfoliation, curing whiteheads and blackheads usually means focusing on your skincare regime. However, if you are not using the right products, you may make the problem worse rather than better.

As such, many people look towards professionals who can perform a thorough assessment of their skin. Such assessments allow you to identify underlying factors and choose skincare products that tackle them. If you are struggling with whiteheads and blackheads, learning more about them and the treatment options available could make the problem better.

What are whiteheads?

“Whitehead” is a casual term used to describe the form of acne that produces spots with white tips. They form when your pores open and allow dead skin, oil, and bacteria to gather there. When this happens, your body initiates its inflammatory responses. Eventually, a pimple featuring pus will form, and that is your whitehead.

What causes whiteheads? Well, one of the most common causes of whiteheads is hormonal changes, which is why they are more common in teenagers than they are adults. However, some adults continue to experience the occasional whitehead, or sometimes a face full of them, as their hormonal changes are ongoing.

What are Whiteheads
Closeup Whitehead Spot

Other factors that contribute to the formation of whiteheads include:

  • Menstruation, which means women in the midst of their menarche are more likely to encounter them than when they are not menstruating.
  • Pregnancy, as this is a stage where women produce hormones that contribute to the formation of whiteheads.
  • Going through the menopause, as this is a period where women experience hormonal fluctuations that encourage whitehead formation.
  • Taking certain birth control pills, as they too contain the hormones that make whiteheads form.
  • To an extent, genetics play a role. If a first-degree relative is prone to whiteheads, you are more likely to encounter them too.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no substantial evidence to support the idea that wearing makeup or having unclean skin will contribute to whitehead formation. However, having the right skincare routine can tackle them for multiple reasons.

What are blackheads?

Like whiteheads, blackheads are a form of acne. However, they involve your hair follicles rather than oily pores. If your hair follicle becomes clogged, it will go through the same inflammatory process as other forms of acne. However, it will usually have a dark appearance; hence the name ‘blackhead.’ Many people assume that they appear because dirt is trapped in the hair follicle. However, the medical world now knows they crop up due to oxidised melanin rising to the follicle’s surface.

What are blackheads
Closeup Blackheads

One of the most common areas for blackheads to form is the nose. However, there are other areas of the face and body where they can crop up:

  • Your cheeks and chin
  • Your forehead
  • Your neck
  • Your chest, arms, and shoulders

While these are the most common areas where blackheads form, it’s not unusual to see them in other areas of your body. You have hair follicles everywhere. If one becomes plugged, the melanin that rises to the surface comes into contact with oxygen. At this point, oxidisation the substances in the clogged pore turn black or dark. Like whiteheads, this has little to do with cleanliness. However, wearing makeup can make the problem worse. Other contributing factors include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Shaving, which opens the hair follicles
  • Living in a humid environment
  • Working in a greasy environment
  • Health conditions that increase cortisol production; such as PCOS or chronic stress
  • Using corticosteroids

Can you prevent whiteheads and blackheads?

While having dirty skin is not a cause of whiteheads or blackheads, cleansing twice-daily using a product that is suitable for your skin type reduces the amount of oil present on your face. As a result, there’s less there to clog the pores. However, you need to be careful not to dry your skin out too much, like with clog pores, dry skin then can cause whiteheads and blackheads as well.

Other ways to prevent whiteheads and blackheads include:

  • Use oil-free products

    If you do wear makeup, choose a brand that features less oil. Consider switching to mineral makeup, which has no oil at all.

  • Exfoliate regularly

    As dead skin cells contribute to the formation of whiteheads, exfoliating periodically is a good prophylactic measure for removing them. Exfoliate two to three times a week. Exfoliating any more than this can irritate your skin and cause other skin problems.

  • If you wear sunscreen, make sure it’s designed for your face

    Many sunscreens are oily. However, if you choose one that’s designed specifically for your face, it should contain fewer oils.

  • Try using tea tree oil

    As an essential oil that has antimicrobial properties, it can reduce the number of bacteria that enter your pores. However, you should not apply it in its purest form to your skin, as this can irritate. Instead, try using a distilled form, or a tea tree oil-based product.


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Possible Treatments

If you find that home remedies aren’t tackling your whiteheads and blackheads, you may want to seek professional advice about Whitehead and blackhead removal. Seeking out the guidance of a skincare expert, especially one who is medically qualified, is a simple way to identify the triggers for your acne. Also, you stand a stronger chance of finding the right products for the removal of your condition.

The benefits of a professional skin care consultation

During an expert skin care consultation, your clinician will assess the following:

  • Your history of acne and anything that may trigger it
  • Whether your family has a history of whiteheads and blackheads
  • Where your whiteheads and blackheads appear
  • Your skin type
  • Any underlying medical conditions that could act as causative factors
  • Any medications you are taking
  • Whether your lifestyle is having an impact

Following this, they will make a skin care regimen recommendation. At Rutland Aesthetics, we work with some of the world’s leading skincare brands. Such brands include Exuviance and Skin Actives. As world-coveted brands, their products employ the use of specific ingredients that reduce the appearance of acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. Such components can include:

  • Antibacterial agents, which reduce the presence of harmful bacteria on your skin
  • Glycerine, which draws moisture to cells, allowing them to remain nourished
  • Citric acids that reduce the occurrence of oils, without drying your skin out too much

How Can Rutland Aesthetics Help

At Rutland Aesthetics, our clinical director Dr Dhesi has a wealth of experience as a GP and army doctor, as well as additional training in Aesthetic Medicine. With a combination of his medical background and cosmetic skills, he can assess your skin and identify why you are encountering whiteheads and blackheads. From there, he will recommend the right skincare regime to help you rid yourself of whiteheads and blackheads.

Serving Rutland, Oakham, and surrounding areas, the Rutland Aesthetics team strives to ensure each patient benefits from a personalised approach that helps their skin type. To arrange your skin care consultation, contact a member of our team today.