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What Causes Whitehead Acne & How to Get Rid of it?

About Whitehead Acne:

The sebaceous glands discharge natural oils that are recognized as sebum onto the surface of your skin. It happens at pore structures identified as pilosebaceous units or PSUs. These units are ubiquitous on your face, back, chest and in all the places where the appearance of acne is possible. Whiteheads appear when hair, skin cells, and sebum form a plug in your hair follicle and the pilosebaceous units become clogged. Bacteria which live on your skin’s epidermis or outer layer attack to the clogged pore and start growing. However, the presence of bacteria affects immune cells in the pore, and this causes inflammation. When the enlarged follicle stays trapped under your skin’s surface, it appears as raised white bump, and it is known as a white head.

What Causes Whitehead Acne & How to Get Rid of it?

What Causes Whitehead Acne?

When you understand the reasons for the eruption of whitehead acne, then you can prevent their future breakouts. It is clear that clogged pores are the chief causes of whitehead acnes and your pores can get blocked due to many reasons. The leading cause of blocked pores is hormonal changes that in turn prompt the formation of acne. Again, some life stages can augment the increase of sebum or oil that your pores generate. The amplified production of oil causes whitehead acne or clogged pores, and the stages comprise:

In fact, taking birth control pills too can augment hormone levels and can cause acne. Similarly, some women do notice more acne at some stages of their menstrual cycles when they stop consuming birth control pills anymore. Several studies have discovered that genetics play a vital role in the growth of various kinds of acne that include whiteheads. When someone in your family does suffer from whiteheads, then you run a higher chance of getting them.

How to Get Rid of Whitehead Acne?

It is highly essential for you to wear sunscreen which has an SPF 30 or nearly 15 as most of the skin remains sensitive to the sun. Many home remedies will help you get rid of whitehead acne. Such as:

  • Facial Steam To Get Rid of Whitehead Acne: When you expose your skin to steam, you encourage plugged pore to widen. So, if you suffer from whiteheads, then take a facial steam. When your neck and the head area are affected then you can develop a steam tent by placing a towel over your head to concentrate the steam onto your upper body.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: This is very acidic and is regarded as an astringent. Apple cider vinegar is capable of drying out the whitehead acne besides shrinking the pores. It also helps in lessening inflammation as it has anti-microbial and antibacterial properties. For treating whiteheads, you must take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to mix it with 8 oz of warm water. You can apply this mix on your skin and leave for twenty minutes. However, you can repeat this routine whenever you wash your face.
  • Lemon Juice To Get Rid of Whitehead Acne: Lemon juice too is acidic and works for drying out your skin and soaking up excess oils. Also, it contains antibacterial compounds that aid in lessening inflammation. You can either dilute or use undiluted lemon juice with equal parts of water. In both the cases, you can apply it directly to your affected area with the help of your clean fingers or a cotton pad and leave for twenty minutes and then wash it off.
  • Tea Tree Oil: This compound is well-known as an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory product, and many washes, toners, and facial cleansers comprise tea tree extract. However, you can always buy pure tea tree oil from the internet or the drug stores. You can apply it directly on to your skin with a cotton pad or your clean finger and wash it off after 20 minutes.
  • Honey: Honey is equipped with potent antibacterial properties, and its thick and sticky quality ensures that it stays in place and to smoothen pores. It also allows it to go deep into your skin. You can use honey by heating one tablespoon in the microwave for fifteen seconds or until and unless it becomes a little warm. After you have cleaned your skin, you can apply the warmed honey and leave it on to your skin for fifteen minutes. You can repeat this routine per your needs.
  • Witch Hazel To Get Rid of Whitehead Acne: Like tea tree oil, Witch Hazel is a well-known compound in cosmetics and toiletries, and it helps in preventing and treating whiteheads. It contains compounds or astringents which cause your skin cells to shrink, so it limits infection. Again, when the pores tighten, then the trapped compounds can be pushed and expelled. Additionally, this product lessens inflammation besides removing excess oils. You will find this compound in toners, and body washes. According to the need, you can buy this product from the internet and apply on to your skin with a cotton pad or a clean finger. Astringents can cause dryness and irritation, so it would be best if you use it once daily or when you need it.
  • Salicylic Acid: Just like witch hazel, this product too is an astringent. Salicylic acid can help in lessening the production of oil and helps in pushing the product in clogged pores. Additionally, this compound dries your skin and soaks up extra oils and aids you in getting rid of whiteheads. You will find this product in combination with various anti-acne compounds in many creams and body washes.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide to Get Rid of Whitehead: This compound has sturdy anti-bacterial properties, and it can lessen inflammation. Additionally, it helps in drying up excess oils. You will find benzoyl peroxide in various body washes, creams, toners, and spot treatments. As this compound can lead to irritation and dryness, so you must begin with products which contain 2% of this compound and use it once daily. Nonetheless, you can increase the frequency and concentration over time.
  • Vitamin A To Get Rid of Whitehead Acne: Vitamin A helps in promoting skin growth. It also lessens inflammation, and it is a potent antioxidant. For getting rid of whiteheads, you can use mild retinoid creams, like Adapalene. You can start using this cream every second night for one week before augmenting its use to once every day.
  • AHA or Alpha Hydroxy Acid: AHA helps in exfoliating your skin by clearing off dead skin cells and lessening the probabilities of whiteheads. Products that contain AHA below 10% are commonly gentle, and you can use them twice or thrice every week.


Many misconceptions are there regarding the prevention of whiteheads. Though greasy foods and stress might make the symptoms of whiteheads worse, yet they aren’t the only causes. Moreover, excessive or aggressive cleaning can strengthen the signs and augment the probabilities of getting whiteheads. When you are suffering from whiteheads, you should be particularly careful regarding your diet as it is the main culprit besides the hormones. Again, it would be better not to wear makeup when you have this problem.


  1. Medical News Today – “What you should know about whiteheads”: This source provides valuable insights into whitehead acne, its causes, and various treatment options, including natural remedies and skincare products. Medical News Today – Whitehead Acne

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2023

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