Whiteheads 101: Causes & Treatments

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Whiteheads (milia) is a common skin disorder that occurs primarily on the face, neck, back, and chest. It is most common in teenagers but can occur at any age. There are several causes, including excess oil in the skin and irritation of hair follicles.

What Are Whiteheads on the Face?

Closed comedones, white blackheads, or milia are a type of acne caused by excess sebum or dead skin cells blocking the hair follicles and sebaceous glands (oil glands) and forming closed clumps (comedones) on the skin. They appear on the skin as small bumps, white or yellowish in color. This phenomenon can occur at the worst possible time and can be bothersome. These pimples usually appear on the face, around the eyes, back, chest, and sometimes on the neck and shoulders, where there is a high concentration of sebaceous glands responsible for sebum production.

Why Do Whiteheads Appear on the Face?

-Blackheads are the mildest form of acne and may be mildly painful or cause no symptoms. Sebaceous glands are found throughout the body, most of which are connected to hair follicles. Comedones are caused by inflammation of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands.

-Increased secretion of sebum (an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands) due to hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy.

-An increase in the number of bacteria that cause inflammation of the sebaceous glands.

-Heredity is also involved in developing various types of acne, including blackheads. If someone in your family has the condition, you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself.

-Abnormal formation of keratin (a protein that helps form hair, skin, and nails).

-Using chin pads, sportswear, and surgical masks can also cause comedones to form on the chin and other friction-prone areas (a phenomenon known as maskne after the COVID-19 pandemic).

How to Treat Whiteheads on the Face?

Milia is considered a mild form of acne and is relatively easy to treat. In general, you should not choose to remove the blackheads on your own, but rather consult a dermatologist who can suggest treatments to remove them or prevent them from forming.

Since everyone’s skin condition is unique, so is the treatment method. Some methods and natural remedies are better suited for specific skin types and sensitivities. It would be best if you worked with a specialist to find the proper treatment and home remedy.

When using remedies for this type of infection, it is also essential to use a good sunscreen before exposing the skin to sunlight. Many home remedies make the skin sensitive to light. Applying an oil-free sunscreen can help prevent sunburn.

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Some common treatments and natural remedies for whiteheads include

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a natural astringent. Astringents help to shrink skin cells and dry out excess sebum. It also has antibacterial properties, helping to eliminate some of the bacteria that cause acne and anti-inflammatory properties. Witch hazel is helpful for use during regular skin care, but may not be suitable for frequent use if you are prone to dry skin problems.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree essential oil has a variety of uses, including helping with such skin problems. Tea tree oil has important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Many commercial facial products contain tea tree oil to cleanse and tone the face.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is an astringent found in many acne products. It works against whiteheads by absorbing excess sebum, drying oily skin, reducing sebum production, and helping to push particles clogged in pores to the skin’s surface.

Topical Retinoids

Topical retinoids are essential medical products for the treatment of acne. They act as valuable antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation in the affected area and promoting the growth and behavior of skin cells. Both retinoids and retinol are derived from vitamin A, but their structures are slightly different. Retinol is generally a milder version of retinoids and therefore safer for regular use.

Do you have any other remedies for whiteheads? Share it with us in the comments below!

Whiteheads 101: Causes & Treatments

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