Some people have skin that is more prone to closed comedones. Everyone gets them at some point in their life, and most of us have them constantly without paying them much attention since they can be really small and almost invisible.
It might not be a serious problem, it might not cause pain, but come on - we all know how frustrating closed comedones or whiteheads can be. This condition can seriously shake our confidence and self-esteem so it’ll definitely be good if we could get rid of closed comedones once and for all.
Closed comedones look like little bumps across the skin's surface. They are usually not red in nature or inflamed like your standard pimple, they also don't hurt.
A closed comedo (the singular of comedones) often develops when a skin cell becomes plugged and oil is trapped within the hair follicle.
Comedones are small bumps on the surface of the skin that can be frequently found on our head and all over our body. They most often pop on the face, specifically on the t-line and the chin, neck, chest, and back. There are two types of comedones:
Blackheads - are defined as open comedones that develop when a plug of skin cells and excess oil become trapped within a hair follicle or hair follicles.
Whiteheads - are defined as closed comedones that also develop when the pore is clogged with dead skin cells and sebum. Above the pore there is a thin layer of skin, making the head white since the plug is not exposed to air.
If bacteria penetrate the follicle, closed comedones can grow into inflamed pimples or inflammatory acne.
Either of them can appear on the skin with or without a more severe type of acne. They can be easily mistaken with other types of acne - it’s very important to know to identify them, so you can get rid of them effectively. We will discuss the difference between comedones and closed comedones further down the article.
Today, let’s focus our attention on whiteheads and everything you need to know from how to get rid of them with simple, yet highly effective treatments and home remedies, to preventive measures and tips for closed comedones.
In order to solve a problem, first you need to get to its roots, and understand why does it appear in the first place - and closed comedones are no different.
In most cases, closed comedones or whiteheads grow during puberty, usually as a result of hormonal changes in our bodies and an increase in sebum production. The sebum fills up the pores and leaves the skin unable to defend itself from dead cells and bacteria. All of this leads to blocked follicles and, consequently, the development of whiteheads.
Probably all of you know that stress is responsible for many physical and psychological conditions. After puberty, stress is the number one factor for developing whiteheads. When someone is under stress, the cells that reproduce oil are unregulated, which results in pore blockage.
Conditions and meds that cause hormonal disbalance, like menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, or oral contraception trigger the growth of whiteheads.
Finally, genetics also play a role. Several studies have found that if a close family member suffers from whiteheads, you have a higher risk of developing them too.
Knowing the likely causes is important because sometimes lifestyle changes are necessary. If you are going through puberty, look for treatments which can help you make the skin more resistant and clean. If you are going through chronic stress, then think about ways you can relax and change your mindset. You can start exercising, practice yoga or meditating - or just spend more time in nature doing something you love. If genetics are causing the trouble then experiment and find the products that best suit your skin.
Here are some famous and proven solutions you can try.
Whiteheads are often challenging to manage - even if they are relatively easy to treat they have a tendency to reappear after treatment is over. Here are some of the methods that can help you kill bacteria, unclog your pores, reduce the excess oil on your skin, or just maintain the skin cells on your face. You can take over-the-counter products, prescription washes, or natural remedies to treat them.
The most popular of them are:
There are many topical treatments for closed comedones like cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or sulfur, which can be perfect for treating acne in general. Include them in your daily skin-care routine.
Benzoyl Peroxide - An ingredient most often found in acne gel, benzoyl peroxide dries out the existing pimples, and prevents creating new ones. It’s also believed that it directly destroys bacteria that triggers acne. There are many products available that contain benzoyl peroxide. Be patient, it takes around four weeks to see results and you need to use it continuously for lasting results.
Salicylic acid - Salicylic acid can often be found in face soaps and masks and it prevents pores from getting clogged. It does not have any effect on sebum production and does not kill bacteria. It works by exfoliating the skin and removing dead skin cells that can clog pores which can help with closed comedones. Just like benzoyl peroxide, the effect lasts while it’s being used, if you stop using it the whiteheads might return.
Resorcinol - This ingredient is less common than the others on this list, but it’s also very helpful for removing dead skin cells. It has a keratolytic effect which is quite effective in shedding dead skin cells. It works by removing the top layer of skin, unclogging the pores. You can find it in over-the-counter topical acne treatments, with a concentration of 2% or less.
Medicine started with the use of herbal and natural remedies. Today, people all over the world are sharing their favorite homemade solutions or natural products that have helped them handle their skin condition. Below we’ll share the best practices that can help you get rid of whiteheads.
It’s up to you which one you choose to use - the key is to be patient. Usually, it takes from 6 to 8 weeks to see more serious results.
If you have a tight budget or you simply don’t want to use abrasive skincare full of chemicals, you can always use some of these super easy home remedies:
Tomatoes naturally contain salicylic acid and because of that, they are a very common home remedy ingredient. The acid helps unclog the pores and to absorb the skin oils. For example, you can make a tomato face mask using only 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 tomato. Combine them together and apply the paste on your face in circular motions. Leave the mask on for 5 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.
The acidic properties and the antioxidative properties of vitamin C in the lemon help dry the skin and soak up excess oil. Additionally, it contains antibacterial compounds that reduce inflammation and swelling. If the lemon is too harsh for your skin mix it with a tablespoon of yogurt and a few drops of rose water. Apply the mixture evenly on your face. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse with cold water.
Tea tree oil is believed to be a natural alternative to products like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. The oil contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that help reduce comedones and make the skin healthier. This is why you can find it in beauty and skin-care products so frequently. If you want to make a home remedy from it, then mix it at a ratio of one part tea tree oil and nine parts water or aloe vera gel. Apply the mix directly on the whiteheads without rinsing.
The acid in vinegar works to dry out the whitehead and help it to heal quicker. It reduces inflammation and infection. Dilute the apple cider vinegar with water depending on your skin’s sensitivity. First, wash your face completely and then take a cotton ball, dip it in the solution and gently massage the area of your face affected by whiteheads. Leave it for 20 minutes, before rinsing off with cold water.
If you are dealing with oily skin, sebaceous glands or even your oil glands, wash your face more than two times a day, but be careful not to overdo it. Use gentle scrubs and instead of face detergents, use glycerin soap.
It’s not just about the weight - the things we eat and the things we drink always show on the skin. If you want clear skin without the annoying whiteheads avoid alcohol, highly saturated, processed fats, and lots of sugar. Too much sugar can increase insulin levels and result in a hormonal disbalance. Saturated fats, on the other hand, increase arachidonic acid levels in the body that may contribute to more inflammatory acne.
Please drop the habit of touching your face. The hands are filled with bacteria and dirt which can additionally clog the pores and even cause infections.
When we are talking about touching the face we have to mention pillowcases - change them frequently!
Tie up your hair - don’t let it fall over your face constantly. Our hair contains natural oil that might be causing the problem.
Sweating will help you get rid of toxins which can make the skin more resilient against comedones. But, don’t forget to shower immediately after working out - never let the sweat stay on your face for long.