Acne is one of the main problems that face many people young and old around the world. Men and women alike suffer from whiteheads, blackheads, and more serious nodules and pustules. Knowing how to deal with acne is important, but there are many types of acne that may affect a person. In order to know how to eliminate the acne problems, it is important to understand the various types of acne and what causes them.

Whiteheads are the most common type of acne, and these pimples will break out on the faces of most people between the ages of 15 and 35. Whiteheads are also known as comedones, and they are different from the other types of acne pimples. They are also the easiest to treat and eliminate, but it is important to understand how they are caused in order to know how to avoid them forming in the first place.

What Causes Whiteheads?

Whiteheads are closed comedones, due to the fact that there is a layer of skin trapping the skin oil inside the follicle. A whitehead is formed when the acne bacteria grows on the skin. The acne bacteria cause the skin cells to die at an accelerated rate, as well as causing the skin to produce more skin oil, or sebum, than is normal. When too much skin oil accumulates on the skin, it tends to fill the pores that create it. When the skin oil fills the pores, they mix together with the dead skin cells that are not being sloughed off properly by the oily skin, as the excess oil causes the dead skin cells to cling to the skin. The dead skin cells combine with the sebum to fill the pores.

When skin oil and dead skin cells fill the pores of the skin, the pores are unable to breathe properly. The skin cells and sebum clog the pores, which causes an irritation of the skin at the root of the follicles. The skin becomes inflamed in an attempt to heal itself, and the resulting swelling and angry red appearance of a pimple is the skin swelling up.
The white substance inside a whitehead is the combination of the skin oil and dead skin cells. Unless the blockage is eliminated somehow, the pimple will remain large and angry, which is why whiteheads appear so much more prominently than blackheads do. These whiteheads are easy to get rid of, but they can leave scars if not treated properly.

Whiteheads vs Blackheads

Many people don’t know what the difference between a whitehead and a blackhead is, but the difference is actually very simple:

Whiteheads are an accumulation of skin oils and dead cells clogging the pores, but with a layer of skin covering the pore and inhibiting the pore from draining the blockage. Blackheads are also an accumulation of skin oils and dead skin cells clogging the pores, but without the layer of skin on the top. The skin oil and dead skin cells turn black when exposed to oxygen, which is why blackheads are also known as open comedones.

The treatment of both white and blackheads is very similar, but it is important that they are treated properly in order to avoid scarring of the skin. Treating a whitehead is an incredibly simple process, but it is important to do this correctly to avoid spreading the infection or cause scarring:

Warm water must be used to wash the hands, as well as a mild antibacterial soap, in order to kill all of the germs on the hands. Apply a warm damp cloth to the whitehead for a minute or two. The warmth should help to reduce the inflammation, and clear up the blockage. If the warm cloth doesn’t eliminate the whitehead, press the whitehead gently from the sides. This will cause the skin on the layer of the whitehead to burst, which will enable the blockage to drain.
Use alcohol to treat the infected area, along with a cotton ball to apply the alcohol.

In order to avoid whiteheads, it is vital that proper care is taken to keep the skin clean. Using facial cleanser regularly can help to keep the acne bacteria under control, as well as help to wash the excess skin oils from the face.