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Along with papules, pustules and blackheads, whiteheads are among the most common types of acne. They are also one of the mildest forms of acne and are generally treatable with proper skincare habits and a topical whitehead treatment.
Whiteheads (technical name: “comedones”) are plugged hair follicles or pores. In whiteheads the pore is covered by a thin layer of skin that traps the plug beneath the surface. As the plug is not exposed to air it remains white or sometimes a yellowish color (the natural color of oil and dead skin cells), which is why it’s called a “whitehead.”
The causes of whiteheads are similar to the causes of other types of acne. Whenever the sebaceous glands begin overproducing oils, the extra oil may mix with dead skin cells. This causes the pore to clog and can be a potential cause for a whitehead or blackhead to form. Most often, the glands overproduce sebum due to changes in the body’s hormone production. This can occur during pregnancy, menopause, menstruation and, of course, puberty.
Although whiteheads can pop up overnight, there is no instantaneous cure. Even the most effective treatments take time to get rid of whiteheads, so consistent treatment is ideal and a noticeable change may not be seen until after several weeks or even a few months.
In addition to Proactiv® Solution and the Proactiv+® 3-Step System, Proactiv makes a number of products designed specifically to treat and remove blackheads including:
Benzoyl peroxide products are effective for getting rid of whiteheads because this ingredient kills the bacteria that cause acne (the P. acnes bacteria) and inhibit the production of oil. Products with salicylic acid are also good whitehead treatments because salicylic acid is a natural exfoliant that encourages dead skin cells to loosen and shed so they cannot combine with oil and plug the pores.
Because a regular and consistent skincare regimen is critical for treating whiteheads, the Proactiv® Solution and Proactiv+® 3-Step System are both excellent choices for an everyday skincare regimen. Both systems cleanse the pores, exfoliate dead skin cells and treat the causes of whiteheads. Other Proactiv products to consider as whitehead treatments include:
Whiteheads are an almost inevitable fact of life. The main difference between a whitehead and a blackhead is that in a whitehead a thin layer of skin covers the tip of the clogged pore so the plug inside is not exposed to air that would turn it black. Whiteheads can be treated with a skincare regimen that includes products formulated with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.