Believe it or not, they are one of the most common skin problems around. They are also among the most stubborn to get rid of (think icky black dots on your nose).
The bad news is that blackheads and whiteheads are a form of acne. They are pores that are clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, and other dirt or debris. Medically, they are also known as comedones. The difference between the two is that whiteheads appear as firm white bumps, these pus-filled zits have no opening on the skin, so all the “rubbish” are trapped within the pore. As it does not come into contact with oxygen, no oxidization occurs so it remains white. However, blackheads are open comedones where sebum and dead skin cells are clogged in the hair follicle and when the clog is exposed to oxygen, it turns black due to oxidation (a reaction of oil with oxygen).
As such, whiteheads are much more challenging to get rid of. Nonetheless, it’s not impossible, as long as you know where to start.
For blackheads, use a tissue to cover your fingernails before gently applying pressure on either side of the blackhead. If it "pops" out easily, great. If it doesn't, don't try to force it. It may make matters worse.
What can you do (and not to do)
#1 Cleanse properly
Have a good cleansing routine and use a cleansing brush where possible to give skin and pores a deep cleansing to help remove dirt, makeup residue and avoid the build-up of oil and dead skin cells.
#2 Exfoliate regularly
Using a gentle exfoliator every two to three days not only help to encourage skin cell renewal to avoid build-up of dead cells, but also remove small superficial whiteheads and soften blackheads for extractions. Try IDS Skincare Facial Scrub.
#3 Use natural remedies
Try natural remedies like Tea Tree Oil, a natural anti-inflammatory with antimicrobial benefits, and Witch Hazel, an astringent to help heal whiteheads. The most convenient way to use it is in astringent form. Simply wet a cotton ball with it and use twice per day.
#4 Get treatment
Treating whiteheads and other forms of acne often takes trial and error. If natural and home remedies fail to clear your whiteheads, you may consider over-the-counter treatments with ingredients like Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid, and retinoids. Take care not to use all the following ingredients at once as they can dry out the skin. Try IDS Skincare Pore Formula and Blemish Clear.
#5 Go for facials
This is another way that can really clean out the pores well on a regular basis. The facial therapists are often skilful enough to perform extractions without leaving behind further damage and that will help to keep the pores clean. Sure you may end up with blotchy red patches but this will go away. If you can, a facial every three to four weeks is ideal. You may also want to try IDS Aesthetics Hydro-Therapeutics Treatment (HTT) a award-winning treatment that helps to deep cleanse and remove accumulated dirt, product build-up and clogged sebum that no regular cleanser can.
#6 Don’t touch
Refrain from touching your nose or face as much as possible. When you touch your face, you may be inviting more pore-clogging dirt, oil, and bacteria that can lead to acne or skin irritation.
#7 Don’t pick or pop
If you pick your whiteheads wrongly, it can worsen the condition and result in permanent scarring. But if it's "ripe", you can. "Ripe" means you can see the pus or the "head". Doing it correctly will help to remove the inflammation on the skin and allow healing. The best time to pop a spot is after a warm or hot shower or bath where your skin is clean, soft and your pores are open. Still, we suggest you don’t try this at home if you have never done it before. Doing it wrongly can lead to aggravating the problem and risk scarring.
When all else fails
For very stubborn blackheads and whiteheads that simply do not go away, consider seeking help from medical professionals. Through an aesthetic procedure using AGNES machine, it can permanently destroy hyperactive sebaceous gland. It uses micro needles coupled with radiofrequency to inject eat energy into the targeted oil glands to “kill” the oil gland so that hair follicles do not get inflamed and infected any more. If you’re afraid of needles or pain, numbing cream or local anesthesia may be applied prior to the treatment. Two to three sessions of AGNES may be required depending on severity of the acne condition.
To understand your skin and the recommended acne treatments, book your consultation with us!
**first published on 01 October 2019