How to Avoid Whiteheads
Whiteheads are a form of acne, a common skin disorder that affects over 45 million North Americans, according to dermatologist Dr. Herbert P. Goodheart. Acne occurs when built-up oil and dead skin cells combine to form a plug within the hair follicle. The plug may then cause the wall of the follicle to bulge, forming a raised bump known as a whitehead. Other acne symptoms include blackheads, pimples and cysts. Regardless of the type of acne, however, the MayoClinic.com recommends treating the condition at its root, by cleansing and exfoliating to prevent the build up of excess sebum and dead skin.
Wash with a mild soap or cleanser. In his book "Acne for Dummies," Goodheart recommends that those with sensitive skin use Ivory soap and those with oily skin use Dove soap. Individuals with sensitive skin may also want to try a nonsoap cleanser like Cetaphil.
Rub the wet soap or cleanser between your palms, then apply to a damp face using a circular motion. If using a washcloth, avoid excessive rubbing, as this can irritate the skin.
Rinse your face with lukewarm water, then pat dry with a soft towel.
Apply an over-the-counter acne treatment to clean, dry skin according to product instructions. The MayoClinic.com recommends choosing a product that will "dry excess oil and promote peeling," such as those containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Both medicines come in a range of concentrations; start with a lower strength--2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide or 1 percent salicylic acid--and gradually work your way up, if necessary.
Let the treatment dry completely. Both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can cause dryness and sun sensitivity. To avoid skin irritation, use a moisturizer containing an SPF of 15 or higher. Look for products labeled non-comedogenic to avoid re-clogging pores.
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