If you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and what you see are pokey blackheads that shine bright and lumpy whiteheads that are waiting to burst open, then you’re on the right page. We’re going to help you treat and ward off those whiteheads and in the process, also help with blackheads.
After acne, whiteheads and blackheads are our skin’s worst nightmare. Let’s rewind a bit: Our skin naturally produces some oil to keep itself moisturized and releases it through pores. When pores get blocked for some reason, the sebum or oil starts to collect and causes whiteheads or blackheads and in some cases, these lead to pimples or acne. Whiteheads are also known as closed comedones and blackheads are known as open comedones. Basically, they’re clogged pores that occur when oil is trapped in your skin along with dead skin cells and bacteria which breeds on the oiliest parts of the skin. Experts will tell you that the area most affected is the T zone, your nose and forehead, and also some parts of your cheeks and chin.
Blackheads and whiteheads are part of the same problem and form in the same way that acne do. The only difference is that in a blackhead, the pore is a bit bigger and dead keratinocytes that are exposed to air turn black. Whiteheads are covered by the epidermis and in smaller pores which makes them appear like the colour of your skin. If a whitehead is left in for too long, it can result in acne. Here’s how – since the pore is completely blocked, the oil gland can get infected resulting in a pimple.
Causes of Whiteheads
Whiteheads are often accompanied by acne on other parts of the skin which makes them important, if not urgent, to treat. But before we get to remedies, let’s understand what triggers whiteheads:
1. Oily Hair – So make sure you wash your hair every two to three days, or more often if you’ve got exceptionally oily hair. But washing it far too often than required can also backfire, causing your skin to make up for lost oil.
2. Oily Cosmetics – From your sunscreen to your make-up, make sure everything you use on your face is oil-free or has the words ‘noncomedogenic’ on it.
Home Remedies for Whiteheads
If you’re struggling with whiteheads, blackheads and acne on a regular basis and at the same time, then it is recommended that you visit your dermatologist. There could be a deeper cause, especially in the case of women. It could be hormones, genetics, stress, the kind of soap or shampoo you’re using or maybe just heat and humidity.
There are dermatologist recommended creams that help increase the skin cell turnover, which in turn helps clear the dead skin/cell debris.
Before we move on to the remedies, here are a few skin-care tips that might not treat but definitely help prevent whiteheads:
1. Wash your face 2 to 3 times a day to keep oil away.
2. Remember, aloe vera and tea tree are your closest friends.
3. In the evening, wipe your face using some cotton and toner. Try to use an alcohol-free one.
4. Keep rose water handy. If rose water irritates your skin, try cucumber.
5. Don’t skip the moisturizer and sunscreen because you’re afraid that greasy skin is what’s causing the whiteheads.
6. Look for products labeled ‘non comodogenic’ and also try to find a water-based moisturizer.
7. Avoid junk food, basically food that’s deep-fried because it translates to oilier skin.
8. Drink plenty of water, eat fresh fruits and veggies. Eat clean and include healthy fats – clove oil, avocados, fatty fish like tuna and salmon, nuts and seeds.
9. Exfoliate – Use a gentle exfoliator and with light hands, scrub your skin at least once a week. This will help remove the dead skin and also prevent it from coming back.
10. Clean, clean, clean – Once you get back home, make sure you remove your make up, sunscreen or whatever cosmetics you apply, with a make up remover. The idea is to not to expose your skin to something for too long. Also, good makeup removers are enriched with the good kind of oil, so your skin won’t be completely devoid of it.
11. Every morning, apply lemon on your face and leave it there for a few minutes. Over time you’ll find that the Vitamin C from the lemon is working on not just the whitheads but also blackheads.
12. Don’t pop them – Don’t try and pop and prod whiteheads out of your skin because it leads to further infections. Let your dermatologist or skin-care expert do this for you.
Moving on to the real stuff – home remedies that can help reduce whiteheads:
1. Scrub, Scrub, Scrub
Scrub your face because this tends to open up those closed pores. Grab these ingredients from your pantry: 2 spoons oatmeal, 1 spoon granulated sugar (brown or white), 1/2 spoon honey and lemon. Mix these ingredients and scrub your face for 5-7 minutes. Leave it for a few minutes and wash off with lukewarm water.
2. Something Acidic
Mix baking soda with water and apply on the whiteheads. You can also use apple cider vinegar and water. Leave it for a few minutes and wash gently with warm water.
3. From the Garden
Make a paste of neem leaves and fresh turmeric, apply for 15-20 minutes and wash off. Do this every day for a few days and you’ll see some improvement.
4. Granny’s Go-to Remedy
Take 3 spoons of besan, mix some ground green chilka dal, raw milk and a few drops of lemons. Rub this on your face for 6-7 minutes, leave it on for a while and then wash off. Do this every morning for a few weeks to see results.
5. Time for Tea
Use wet tea bags and leave them on your areas infected with whiteheads for a while. Do this as often as possible and you’ll start to see that the skin also gets smooth over time.
6. Egg Whites
Take an egg and separate the yolk from the white. Now, whisk the white till it’s nice and frothy. Apply on your face and let it be for about 20 minutes or till it’s absolutely dry. Wash off.