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What Causes Whiteheads & How To Get Rid Of Them?

What are Whiteheads?

Whiteheads are a mild form of acne which develops when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria get trapped within the pores. They commonly appear on face, neck, shoulder, chest, and back.

Whiteheads are characterized by white, round bumps on the surface of the skin, which are accompanied by blackheads and pimples. They can range in size, from being very small (virtually invisible) to large noticeable acne blemishes. Whiteheads on face are not painful but can lead to social anxiety and embarrassment.

Causes of Whiteheads

Causes of Whiteheads

The main cause of whiteheads is blocked pores and there are various reasons which can lead to the blockage such as:


When a child reaches puberty, there is a change in hormones which leads to excessive production of sebum. During puberty, the brain releases GnRH hormone which signals the pituitary to release androgens. Androgens in turn signal oil glands beneath the skin to produce more oil known as sebum. Excess sebum fills up pores, which the skin is unable to expel completely. This clogs the pores and leads to blemishes and whiteheads.

Hereditary Factors

Parents who have a history of acne have a possibility of their children suffering from acne as well. Genetics also has an impact on the inflammatory response and also determine how sensitive the skin is and how sensitive you are to hormonal changes.


There is a strong link between stress and development of acne(1). Stress leads to excessive production of sebum with a higher chance of pore blockage, thus increasing the occurrence of whiteheads.

Hormonal Changes

There are numerous events in life which lead to a shift of hormones such as puberty, menstrual cycle in women, and pregnancy. Such events lead to fluctuation in hormones resulting in acne and blemishes.

Many females find the appearance of acne and whiteheads worsening during the menstrual cycle. A decrease in estrogen and an increase in progesterone signal the glands to produce more oil.

Life Habits

There are certain habits which increase the occurrence of whiteheads and acne such as eating excessive chocolates, smoking, and hygiene.

Where Do Whiteheads Mostly Occur?

Whiteheads can develop anywhere in the body but are seen occurring mostly in the areas saturated with pores which are found in large numbers on the skin of face, chest, back, shoulder, and arms.

They are seen populating the T-zone (covering forehead, nose, and chin) an area which is the oiliest part of the face.

How To Get Rid Of Whiteheads?

Treatment of whiteheads includes over-the-counter solutions such as gels, lotions, creams, soaps, ointments, and medicated pads or the prescribed medications.

Antibiotics or anti-inflammatory help combat the inflamed breakouts. In the case of hormone involved in the breakouts oral contraceptives, antiandrogen medications or corticosteroids are prescribed.

In some cases where nothing proves effective isotretinoin is given. It is an oral treatment for all kind of acne and whitehead breakout. It is not advised to the pregnant females, as it can bring about congenital anomalies.

Home Remedies To Get Rid of Whiteheads

  1. Baking Soda: Make a paste by mixing 2-3 spoons of baking soda and water. Apply this home remedy for whiteheads all over the face and let it dry for some time. Wash it off with lukewarm water after 20-25 minutes. It can be done two times a week. Baking soda is a useful home remedy for whiteheads because it acts as an astringent and removes the impurities from the clogged pores. It also normalizes the pH and brings the sebum production under control(2).
  2. Tea Tree Oil: This essential oil is a well-known home remedy for many ailments and can be effective in getting rid of whiteheads as well. Take a cotton swab and apply tea tree oil on the whiteheads twice in a day. Tea tree with its antimicrobial properties helps in removing the bacteria which cause whiteheads(3).
  3. Toothpaste: Cover the whiteheads with a little amount of toothpaste and leave it for 30 minutes. Wash the face thoroughly. It can be done once or two times a day. Toothpaste application can dry up the whitehead within hours making it a useful home remedy to get rid of whitehead.
  4. Apple Cider Vinegar: Take a few drops of apple cider vinegar in a cotton ball and apply it directly on the white heads. Let it dry. The acidic property of vinegar helps in drying up the whiteheads and also removing the bacteria present in the clogged pores making a very essential home remedy in your fight to get rid of whiteheads.
  5. Honey: Warm up a teaspoon of honey and apply it on the affected areas. Let it stay for 20 minutes, and then wash off with water. Repeat it every alternate day. Honey has antibacterial properties which clean away the whiteheads efficiently. It is also an excellent moisturizer for the skin.

All these useful home remedies help in treating the whitehead but to maintain the result you need to incorporate certain tips in your skincare and diet regimen to keep it away from recurring.


  1. Mayo Clinic – “Acne: Overview”: Mayo Clinic provides an overview of acne, its causes, and treatment options, including lifestyle changes and home remedies. Mayo Clinic – Acne Overview
  2. Medical News Today – “What are whiteheads?”: Explore this source for an in-depth explanation of whiteheads, including their causes, prevention, and treatment, both medical and natural. Medical News Today – Whiteheads

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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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