What are Whiteheads?
A whitehead is formed when oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria get trapped within open skin pores. It is a type of acne and can be very annoying. When dirt, oil, or bacteria gets trapped in the skin pore it is either open or closed. The former is referred to as blackheads while the latter are known as whiteheads. When a blocked pore gets covered with skin, a whitehead is formed. Fortunately, the good news is that you can say goodbye to whiteheads with the help of medical treatments and be making a couple of lifestyle changes
Whitehead symptoms mainly include white bumps that are slightly raised on your skin. They occur mostly on your face but can also appear on your back, chest, shoulders, and arms. Although whiteheads might appear at any age, they are more commonly seen during puberty when the body goes through hormonal changes. Whiteheads tend to appear on your T-zone on the face. The T-zone consists of your nose, forehead, and chin. These regions tend to be oily, causing the oil to be trained in the open pores leading to whiteheads. Some of the commonly seen signs and symptoms of whiteheads include:
- Slightly raised white bumps on your T-zone
- Oily skin
- Tender skin
Who is at Risk?
The commonly seen risk factors for whiteheads include:
- Age: Although people of all ages get whiteheads, it is more prone in teenagers
- Hormonal Changes: People undergoing hormonal changes often encounter a surge in whiteheads.
- Family History: If both your parents had whiteheads, you have a higher chance of having it as well.
- Greasy or Oily Lotions: If you are in a habit of using greasy or oily lotions, you may develop whiteheads.
- Friction: If you are in the habit of applying pressure on your skin while using cell phones, telephones, tight collars, helmets, or backpacks, you will notice whiteheads on your skin.
- Stress: Although stress does not cause whiteheads, it can aggravate your condition if you are already prone to getting them.
Whitehead causes can be anything from puberty, genetics, medication, age, and so on. Understanding how whiteheads are formed can help you prevent their outbreak. Whiteheads are generally formed due to clogged pores. By preventing the pores from getting clogged, you can easily prevent a whitehead outbreak. Hormonal changes are one of the leading causes of whiteheads in most people. It becomes apparent during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. This is why some women experience whiteheads every month. Studies have also shown that certain contraceptives also increase hormone levels, causing a whitehead flare-up. In case, someone in your family has whitehead attacks, you are also prone to developing whiteheads in the long run.
How Is Whiteheads Diagnosed?
Like other forms of acne, whiteheads are often diagnosed by looking closely at them. Whiteheads tend to form in the follicle and are right under the topmost skin layer. In case the bump looks red and has an inflamed blemish, it is most likely a pustule and not a whitehead. Whiteheads are formed due to the collection of oil, dirt, and bacteria in open skin pores. When the skin closes over, it forms a white head. The clogged pores that remain open turn dark and form blackheads. There is no test as such for whiteheads. Skin doctors rely on physical examination and your medical as well as family medical history before coming to a diagnosis. Once you have been diagnosed with whiteheads, they can help chart out a whitehead cure.
How are Whiteheads Treated?
Whiteheads are a mild type of acne. They can be easily treated. Your doctor will probably prescribe a topical retinoid to help with the whitehead treatment. It usually takes about three months for the whiteheads to completely disappear. You will need to use retinol consistently at night for these three months. However, you still need to make sure that your pores do not get clogged anymore. This involves using a gentle cleanser for your face regularly. If you have a severe case of acne accompanied by whiteheads, you will need antibiotics to help with the inflammation and redness. Studies have also shown that certain combinations of oral-contraceptive birth control pills can help reduce acne and whiteheads in women.
How can Whiteheads be Prevented?
Whitehead prevention involves using makeup and lotions that are oil-free. This prevents your pores from getting clogged. Experts also recommend using oil-free moisturizer to stop worsening your acne. You need to clean your face regularly with a mild cleanser. However, you need to avoid overdoing in order to prevent your skin from becoming too dry.