Whiteheads and blackheads - they are a form of the common skin condition known as acne. Also, called comedones, whiteheads and blackheads affect youngsters and adults alike, but the vast majority of sufferers are teenagers. Dermatologists feel that there can be hormonal link to acne (hence, teens are prone to it) and that heredity may play a role, too.
Comedomes form on the face, neck and shoulders when the skin's natural oils, bacteria and dead cells clog pores. If a pore is wide and open to the air, blackheads form as oxygen reacts with the skin's own pigment. If the pore remains closed, the comedone is called a whitehead. Both are distressing to the person who has them, but there are ways to help avoid and treat this common skin malady. In fact, controlling comedones can assist in preventing more serious acne episodes.
How to avoid whiteheads and blackheads
Controlling whiteheads and blackheads takes some consistent skin care habits. While these practices do not guarantee an individual will have no blemishes whatsoever, many people report they have much clearer skin when they use them.
- Using warm water, gently wash the face twice daily along with a quality facial cleaner containing salicylic acid for oil or glycolic acid for cleaning off dead skin cells. Don't scrub the skin vigorously because this causes irritating dryness and redness.
- Daily, apply a retinol-based lotion with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. Retinol and other ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acid are known to reduce the occurrence of acne. Spot application of benzoyl peroxide creams clears out pores to stop flare-ups of whiteheads and blackheads.
- Once or twice a week , use a facial scrub to remove dead skin. An inexpensive exfoliating paste can be made from simple baking soda and water.
- Avoid touching the face, shoulders and neck.
- Don't dry the skin with excessive sun exposure, and indoor tanning is off-limits.
- Remove make-up at night, and only use cosmetics and lotions that have no oil in their list of ingredients.
- Never squeeze existing whiteheads and blackheads. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, breaking comedones can cause infection and scarring.
- Wash hair often to keep oil off the forehead and the back of the neck.
Again, the key to winning the battle against whiteheads and blackheads is good basic skin care done on a regular basis.
A board-certified dermatologist can evaluate the condition of your skin and answer any questions or concerns you may have about how to keep your skin as healthy-looking and feeling as possible. At Southeast Dermatology, our nine physicians are very knowledgeable in treating whiteheads and and blackheads and more serious forms of acne and other skin problems. Call the trusted dermatologists at the Pasadena, Texas office: 281-991-5944, or call the Houston, Texas location at 281-481-0033.