Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

How to Reduce Whiteheads

Overview

Whiteheads occur when oil, bacteria or dead skin cells completely block a pore. As a result, a whitehead occurs, according to Acne.org. Whiteheads usually clear up quicker than blackheads or deep cystic acne. However, this type of acne is still stressful and most people want to reduce whiteheads and prevent new acne from forming. Over-the-counter and prescription treatments will assist in getting whiteheads under control.

Step 1

Use over-the-counter treatments for whiteheads. Select products with the active ingredients benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which are effective for clearing up whiteheads. Give products up to eight weeks to reduce breakouts, recommends the American Academy of Dermatology.

Step 2

Wash the skin twice daily with a mild soap, recommends MayoClinic.com. Washing the skin removes extra oil and sloughs off dead skin cells. Choose products that are water-based and oil-free for best results.

Step 3

Schedule a dermatologist appointment. If whiteheads aren't responding to over-the-counter treatments, stronger medications may be required. Find a dermatologist by contacting the American Academy of Dermatology. The organization also has a dermatologist directory on the website.

Step 4

Use prescription topical treatments. Request topical treatments, such as retinoids, with a higher concentration than over-the-counter products. Apply products as directed and report side effects, such as irritation or increased redness to your doctor. Wear sunscreen while using these products. Usually, retinoids cause increased sensitivity to sunlight.

Step 5

Request oral antibiotics for whiteheads that don't respond to topical treatments. Tetracycline, minocycline and erythromycin are commonly prescribed to get whiteheads under control. Use the product as directed, usually up to four months. After this time, your dermatologist may recommend using a topical product again. Antibiotic resistance can occur when taking these medications for long periods of time.

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