Whiteheads are some kind of an acne. On the face, back, chest, and occasionally neck and shoulders, acne breakouts usually occur.
They may cause permanent scarring.
In the United States, some kind of acne is encountered by about 8 out of 10 people between the ages of 11 and 30 but the condition can affect people of any age.
Acne has various forms. This article will primarily look at whiteheads and explain the causes and treatments of skin lesion of this type.
Important facts about whiteheads
- Approximately 80 percent of people in the U.S. have reportedly had acne at some point.
- Hormonal changes can result in acne, though the link is not entirely clear.
- Other causes include perspiration and reactions to certain skin care products and fabrics.
- Gently washing the skin twice a day with mild soap and lukewarm water can help.
Treatment and self-care
Usually whiteheads are treated with either prescription medications or over-the-counter ( OTC) products.
OTC therapies include gels, lotions , creams, ointments, soaps, and pads used for medicine. They can contain peroxide of benzoyl, resorcinol, salicylic acid, or sulphur.
These drugs can cause side effects, such as pain, burning and skin redness.
If whiteheads develop into boils or other more severe types of acne, more intensive treatments may need to be tried. Where OTC products are ineffective, prescription medicines can help.
The prescribed medication will depend upon the type and severity of the acne.
Of example, where hormones are responsible of acne symptoms, a dermatologist may prescribe an oral contraceptive, an antiandrogen drug, or a corticosteroid.
Antibiotics can also help fight infection and inflammation which accompany some severe breakouts.
Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) is the ‘last resort’ remedy for acne. For all types of acne, including those that cause whiteheads, this oral treatment works, but it can cause serious adverse effects.
Isotretinoin can make the skin worse at the onset of treatment. It can get dry, and crack painfully.
Taking isotretinoin can cause serious congenital anomalies while pregnant.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires women in the country to sign the iPLEDGE agreement, promising that they will not and will not become pregnant during treatment before being able to receive an isotretinoin prescription.
Using the drug only under close medical supervision.
Isotretinoin aren’t a quick fix. A treatment course lasts between 4 and 5 months, and there is no guarantee that the acne will be permanently resolved. Most people also say that it is less serious when acne returns after taking isotretinoin.
Ten effective self-care tips for whiteheads
The following strategies can help to treat acne breakouts and to prevent them:
- washing the skin gently with mild soap and lukewarm water twice a day
- refraining from squeezing pimples or touching the skin unnecessarily
- using caution when shaving
- avoiding excessive sun exposure that could cause tanning or burns
- using only oil-free, noncomedogenic skin care products, which do not clog the pores
- using cosmetics sparingly
- removing makeup before going to bed
- using fragrance-free, water-based, emollient products to treat dry skin
- regularly washing the hair and keeping hairspray away from the face
- wearing loose clothing made of non-synthetic fabrics, such as cotton
Acne can cause scarring and emotional distress in the long term. Anyone who is worried about their acne should seek treatment from a medical professional or dermatologist, because there could be an underlying treatable health issue.
A health care professional can provide additional details as well as prescribe ways to treat whiteheads and other types of acne.
Researchers are still exploring the exact cause of acne but say it has an impact on changing hormone levels.
These fluctuations can occur because of puberty, menstruation or pregnancy or because a person has completed an oral contraceptive course.
Overproduction of sebum, an oily substance that protects the skin, is another cause of acne.
The use of certain cosmetics and facial products, tight clothing, high humidity and sweating are additional risk factors for acne.
Acne can result when clogged pores become infected with Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria, which occurs naturally in the skin.
Current research shows no link between diet and acne, poor facial hygiene, or stress. There is insufficient evidence to associate acne with chocolate or greasy food intake.
Other factors, however, could make the acne worse, including:
- certain medications
- contact with sports equipment
- backpacks or sports uniforms
- pimple popping
- scrubbing of areas with acne too hard
Also, acne can get worse 2–7 days before the start of menstruation.
What is a whitehead?
Blackheads and whiteheads occur when skin pores become obstructed by dead skin cells, oil, or bacteria.
These types of bumps are called sebaceous plugs or comedones by the medical community.
A stuck pore that remains open forms a blackhead.
A whitehead, or a closed comedo, may form when a blocked pore closes.
Whiteheads are firm, usually small, white and yellowish. A squeezer can’t extract them.
In comparison, a blackhead is extractable. It gets its color when the contents of the blocked pore come into contact with the air and from follicular pigmentation.
Whiteheads generally do not cause inflammation. If bacteria invade a comedo, however, an infection may occur, and the whitehead may become an inflamed papule or pustule.