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- What are the Symptoms, Causes and Treatments for Whiteheads?
Whiteheads affects millions of people across the globe today, especially teenagers. In fact, almost 85% of people who are on their adolescence will have this condition. Not only teens, adults (both sexes) are not immune to this skin disease because of several factors.
Whitehead is actually a mild form of acne that is triggered by the heavy accumulation of sebum, keratin and dead skin that plug up the opening of the skin pores. The clogged grease is not exposed to the air that results to the formation of whiteheads instead of blackheads.
Basically, whiteheads form when the hardened sebum or oil on the skin closes the pores and bacteria remain under the skin. After a few days, whiteheads will tend to appear on the skin. It is characterized by non-inflammatory tiny, pearly and white raised spots that do not get darkened because of the absence of oxidation.
Whiteheads usually occur below the eyes, cheekbone and nose where the skin is extra soft and delicate. Nose, cheekbone and under the eyes are the most susceptible place for whiteheads to occur but there are cases where whiteheads are widely present in neck, forehead and chest.
What Causes Whiteheads?
Whiteheads usually occur in oily skin. As the name suggests, whiteheads are white centered in nature that sometimes appear as small bumps on the skin that may contain pus. Its occurrence is sometimes triggered by the failure of the skin pores or hair follicles to drain out the sebum or oil that accumulated in them. Furthermore, the blockage of the hair follicles, cause the acne causing bacteria to thrive that sometimes lead to the formation of the most serious forms of acne.
Dermatologists believe that excessive cellular exfoliation play a major role in the breakout of whiteheads. However, there are cases where whiteheads are triggered by hormone production. The overproduction of the male hormone, androgen, during the puberty stage of male and female triggers the enlargement of the sebaceous gland that stimulates the overproduction of sebum or oil.
The excessive accumulation of sebum causes the formation whiteheads on the skin. Heavy makeup and cosmetics can cause sebum and oil to get clogged inside the hair follicles. Cosmetics can even cause the hair follicles to stick together thereby causing some materials to get trapped inside.
How to Get Rid of Whiteheads?
The breakout of whiteheads can be prevented by cleaning the face for at least twice a day using an appropriate facial cleanser for your skin type. Facial cleansers that are oil free and contain alpha hydroxyl acids and salicylic acid are considered to be the most effective facial cleansers today.
Using gentle exfoliating products for at least thrice a week can also help in stimulating the growth of newer, healthier and smoother skin cells. Exfoliating the skin can significantly help in unclogging the pores thereby reducing the risk of having whiteheads or closed comedones in the future.
The presence of whiteheads can be eliminated by drinking lots of water and fresh fruit juices regularly. Daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables daily will also help in controlling whiteheads breakout. Drinking a glass of warm water that contains juice from lemon detoxifies the body which can later result to the complete eradication of whiteheads.
Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most common ingredient of anti-acne products. In fact, benzoyl peroxide is a high potent chemical that helps fight against the occurrence of different forms of acne on the skin. Known for its antibacterial properties, benzoyl peroxide can be used to treat mild cases of whiteheads and prevent its occurrence.
Anti-Acne Products that contain at least 2.5% of benzoyl peroxide can definitely help in eliminating the presence of whiteheads and blackheads on the skin. Tretinoin is another major component of a number of anti-acne solutions because of its ability to convert closed comedones into open comedones through the expulsion of the clogged materials on the skin.
Extraction is also preferred by some in getting rid of whiteheads. This is done by using a small circular instrument which is made from metal. The instrument is used to push down the areas around the whiteheads until the pore unclogs. Only a dermatologist and expert aesthetician should engage with this process because they have an in-depth knowledge on how to remove whiteheads using the extraction instrument without scarring your skin.
What are Blackheads?
Blackheads are also known as open comedones, are follicles that have an opening wider than normal. Blackheads are filled with sebum and sloughed-off cells and they have undergone chemical reaction which results in the oxidation of melanin. This eventually gives the material in the follicle the typical black color.
What are the Causes of Blackheads?
Blackheads usually develops when the skin produces too much oil. A major factor that contributes to excess oil secretion is the onset of puberty. During puberty, hormones become unregulated due to DHT or dihydrotestosterone. This hormone is responsible for the over activity of the oil gland which results in clogged pores.
Accumulation of dead skin cells within the pores, which then results in oil build up, and then blackheads. Another common cause of clogged pores is the use of too much of makeup. Excessive use of foundations moisturizes or sun screens can also cause blackheads.
What are the Treatment Options for Blackheads?
There are a number of blackhead treatment options available but it takes some time to work. Most blackhead treatments take several weeks to months before visible changes are seen.
Medical Treatments for Blackhead Includes
- Benzoyl Peroxide
The antibacterial effect in Benzoyl peroxide decreases the chemical reaction that modifies the lining of the hair follicle. This may reduce the plugging that causes blackheads. Benzoyl peroxide may be often used mild cases of blackheads or to help prevent formation of others.
Tretinoin is a derivative of Vitamin A and used in the treatment of blackheads. Tretinoin works by increasing cell turnover and reduces the “stickiness” of the sloughed cells. It also helps to expel the plugged material thereby returning the pore to normal. Side effects are very common with tretinoin, which includes irritation, redness, stinging and burning.
Topical antibiotic creams and ointments are also used to kill the bacteria’s that are trapped in the blackheads. Antibiotic creams when combined with benzoyl peroxide, promotes new cell growth and destroys bacteria.
Stronger oral antibiotics are required to destroy the blackhead bacteria. Antibiotics can also help to reduce the inflammation that occurs with blackheads so that the topical creams can work better.
Antibiotics can create stomach upset and makes the skin more sensitive to sunrays. The intake of antibiotics should be limited to a particular extent because patients can build resistance on prolonged use.
Oral contraceptives are used by many women to control blackhead outbreaks. The ingredients, norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol, that are normally present in Birth control pills can be usec as an effective treatment for blackheads, although they carry side effects that may include nausea, depression, headaches, and an increased risk for breast cancer.
Both topical and oral antibiotics do not offer any help in blackhead treatment, if the comedones are not infected.
Extraction is a procedure that is used by a health care provider on open blackheads. This procedure is performed using a device called comedone extractor. Comedone extractor is a small, metal, circular instrument that is centered on the blackhead and pushes down the surrounding skin, which causes the plug to extrude.
Dermatologists usually prefer to extract the comedones under sterile conditions in their office. Some extractions require a thin blade to cut out the comedone. There usually is a very small scar left that should heal itself if the extraction was performed properly.
- Laser Theraphy
Laser and light therapies target the deep roots of blackheads without causing any skin disfigurements. Laser treatment reduces the future supply of oil by targeting the deep pockets of oil that creates blackheads. During light therapy, beams of light attack the underlying bacteria in the comedones. Laser and light therapies are often considered as cosmetic treatments. Most patients experience a slight redness that quickly dissipates in a day or two following the procedure.
- Pore Strips
Pore strips can be placed on the face or nose for about 10 minutes. Then they are quickly pulled off to get rid of comedones near the surface. Pore strips are very simple to use and works quickly.
- Natural Home Remedies for Blackheads
There are plenty of home remedies for blackheads. Some of them includes Green tea face scrub is an effective Blackhead remover.
- Tea tree oil and witch hazel is also a good remedy for removing blackheads.
- Application of Grape pulp or mashed potato for around half an hour is another good remedy for blackheads.
- Honey is also an excellent home remedy for blackheads.