Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Blackhead Vs. Whitehead

Blackhead Vs. Whitehead Blackhead Vs. Whitehead

Overview

Nobody wants to deal with breakouts, but more than 17 million people have to cope with blemishes at some point during their lives, according to "Seventeen" magazine. And while your first thought on spotting a zit is probably how to get rid of it, taking a few minutes to determine what kind of acne you're dealing with can help you figure out the best way to treat it. Blackheads and whiteheads are two of the most common forms of acne.

Identification

Blackheads and whiteheads are both forms of acne that occur when a hair follicle gets clogged with oil or debris, forming a bump, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. When the follicle is partially blocked, it forms an open comedone -- a blackhead. A fully blocked follicle is a closed comedone, or whitehead.

Misconceptions

If you think that black mark in the center of an open comedone is caused by dirt or poor hygiene, think again. Blackheads get their distinctive black centers because the substances clogging your hair follicle -- oil, dirt and bacteria -- turn black because of exposure to oxygen, explains "Seventeen."

Considerations

If you tend to get blackheads or whiteheads, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk for future breakouts. Get into the habit of not touching your skin, especially your face, during the day since oil from your fingers has the potential to clog your pores. If you wear makeup, opt for noncomedogenic or oil-free products that won't clog your pores.

Warning

It's tempting to poke and prod blackheads and whiteheads in an effort to make them fade away faster, but picking at your pimples -- whether they're blackheads or whiteheads --- can make them even worse. When you pop a blackhead or a whitehead, inflammation spreads to the surrounding area, causing irritation, risk of scarring and potential future breakouts, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Prevention/Solution

Whether you have blackheads or whiteheads, the same treatments will help clear up existing blemishes and prevent future ones from forming. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends treating blackheads and whiteheads with twice-daily use of a gentle cleanser containing salicylic acid to clean pores and spot-treating blemishes with benzoyl peroxide to dry them up. If you have ongoing issues with whiteheads and blackheads, see a dermatologist to learn about prescription-strength oral and topical medications.

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