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Treatments for Blackheads & Whiteheads

Treatments for Blackheads & Whiteheads

If you have developed a case of blackheads and whiteheads, you can start treatment at home, using the most basic products--water and soap. Whiteheads are closed pores filled with excess oil and dead skin cells. Blackheads are also pores filled with the skin cells and excess oil--these pores have a wider opening and the debris inside undergoes oxidation, which makes them look black, according to

Gentle Washing

Wash your face, using warm water and a mild facial cleanser. Be careful not to scrub too hard--all you need to do is remove the excess oil and dead skin cells so whiteheads and blackheads aren't able to form.

If your acne is mild, you can gain control of your whiteheads and blackheads by washing twice a day, according to the AcneNet website.

Topical Treatments

Treat your acne with an over-the-counter topical treatment such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or sulfur. Additional over-the-counter treatments include lactic acid and resorcinol. These work to remove the excess oil from your skin. They also kill bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic website. These treatments are effective in helping to remove the dead skin cells that clog your skin's pores. Because of this, they also may have a drying, irritating effect on your skin.

If your doctor prescribes any preparations containing sulfur, be aware that you can experience some skin discoloration. The medication can also smell unpleasant, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians--AAFP-- website.

Another class of topical medications includes the retinoids, made from vitamin A. This slows the sloughing off of dead skin cells, meaning you will develop fewer blackheads and whiteheads, according to the AAFP website.


If the blackheads and whiteheads you get are the result of a more severe form of acne, your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotic medication. Your doctor's goal in prescribing an antibiotic is to kill off the bacteria causing your acne so you can reduce the inflammation you are experiencing. according to the Mayo Clinic website.

Your doctor will keep you on an antibiotic treatment only as long as it takes for your acne to begin improving, so you don't develop a resistance to antibiotics.

If antibiotics alone aren't clearing your skin, your doctor will pair this treatment with topical medications to treat your lesions, whiteheads and blackheads. This combination of medications may help reduce the likelihood that you'll develop an antibiotic resistance, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

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