Whiteheads, Blackheads & Why They Can Progress To Pimples & Acne
Whiteheads are pimples that are filled with pus and this is what gives them their name.
They are formed when excess oil from the sebaceous glands clogs up the pores or hair follicles on the skin. This sebum gets trapped along with other debris and some bacteria which can be airborne or from the skin's surface so that when the trapped sebum and bacteria stay below the skin's surface, a whitehead is formed. Whiteheads may show up as tiny white spots, or they may be so small that they are invisible to the naked eye. As whiteheads are closed off from the outside air, they remain white and are often to be found hidden away, such as on the forehead under long bangs.However, if these whiteheads open up sufficiently to allow the outside air in, they then turn into blackheads.
Blackheads are often considered to the be first stage of acne. We all get blackheads from time to time but they are more likely in those with an oily skin rather than a dry skin. Sometimes blackheads form, not from oil below, but from the use of topical oils above or the use of make up which is then not cleaned off correctly so that dead skin cells accumulate within the pores. These dead cells then clog the pore opening, leading to a further oil build up. Even using too much moisturizer, foundation or sun screen can lead to clogged pores. And clogged pores cause blackheads to form.
So how can you prevent both whiteheads and blackheads?
Keeping your skin clean is important so wash the face gently 2 to 3 times a day with a natural soap or non-soap cleanser and warm water. Use a soft face cloth and pat dry gently.
A gentle shower every day will also help to remove excess oil.
It is vital that you do not pick, scratch, rub or scrub your skin especially if there are any whiteheads, blackheads or other pimples because this can spread them and any bacteria on the skin.
If you have to use make up, then make sure it is water-based and not oil-based. All make-up should be carefully removed at bedtime.
Wash your hair frequently and keep your hair off the face as much as possible – avoiding long bangs on the forehead if your skin is inclined to be oily.
Ensure a strong immune system together with a healthy lifestyle as this will go along way in preventing whiteheads and blackheads or lessening the extent of an acne outbreak.
Regular meals with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, free range eggs and organic meats. Take care to avoid all sodas, artificial sweeteners, sugars and refined and processed foods.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day to hydrate the skin and get rid of all toxins. A glass of water with a slice of lemon in it will be a natural detox as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Avoid any smoking and make sure you exercise regularly.
Top up your vitamin D levels and improve your skin and appearance with regular doses of sunlight. If the weather is suitable, try and get some 20 minutes of sunlight every day over as much as your body as possible but if not, it is important to take vitamin D3 supplements instead which are especially vital in the winter months.
If you can follow such healthy lifestyle guidelines, not only will you go a long way to preventing whiteheads, blackheads and of course pimples and acne, but you will also notice an clearer skin and an all round health improvement.
Treating whiteheads and blackheads
- Treat whiteheads by applying mild steam to the area after cleansing which softens the skin and opens up the pores for further cleaning. Apply a gentle skin toner after steaming and cleaning to close the pores again or apply an ice block wrapped in a soft cotton cloth to the whiteheads.
- Treat blackheads after a good, gentle cleaning, by steaming your skin for several minutes by placing your face over a bowl of very hot water with a towel over your head to stop the steam escaping. Only try to remove normal blackheads – nothing that is inflamed or infected. Use scrupulously clean and sterile equipment such as a flat blackhead remover. Once you have finished, apply some disinfectant on a sterile cotton wool ball to close the pore again. Alternatively, treat yourself to a facial at a spa or salon where expert therapists will give you a deep cleansing facial treatment and remove any blackheads at the same time. Even if you can only afford such treatment two or three times a year, it is well worth it.
Once you have cleared the skin of whiteheads and blackheads, keep any blemishes at bay with a natural remedy such as H-Acne from Healing Natural Oils which, apart from treating acne outbreaks, can also be used as a preventative by including it in your twice daily facial wash.
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Acne. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/acne. (Accessed February 7, 2021).
Kraft J, et al. (2011). Management of acne.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3080563/ (Accessed February 7, 2021)