What Are the Treatments for White Heads?
White heads, otherwise known as pimples, zits or spots, are a form of acne. Medical News Today notes that pimples form when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum oil. This oil becomes clogged with other skin debris in the hair follicles. The follicle seals over and becomes inflamed, forming a white head filled with pus. Choose from a number of effective treatments for varying degrees of white head outbreaks.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil, derived from the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree in Australia, is an ingredient you will find in many over-the-counter skin care products. It contains terpinen-4-ol, a compound that is said to have antimicrobial properties, according to MayoClinic.com, which explains why it can kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and cleanse the pores and skin.
Although few natural remedies have clinical evidence for their claims, the University of Maryland Medical Center quotes a study in support of tea tree oil as an effective acne cure. The study of 119 people looked at the effects of treating with tea tree oil or benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in many acne-fighting products. Results were positive, showing that tea tree oil was just as effective as benzoyl peroxide at clearing up acne outbreaks and caused even less side effects.
According to MedlinePlus, benzoyl peroxide, a compound from the peroxide family, is a trusted cure for mild to moderate outbreaks of acne, including white heads. It can be found in both over-the-counter and prescription products with varying potency. Benzoyl peroxide has a dual action process of cleansing the skin and pores, reducing inflammation, and also controlling the sebaceous glands from producing excess amounts of sebum, notes Acne.com.
For more severe cases of white heads, your doctor can prescribe a topical retinoid such as tretinoin, often sold commercially as Retin-A. MayoClinic.com explains that topical retinoids not only unclog the pores of bacteria and reduce inflammation, much like benzoyl peroxide does, but also promote new skin growth by removal of the dead cells.
If taken orally, tea tree oil can induce severe side effects and even coma. MayoClinic.com says that there is not enough evidence to support tea tree oil as an effective acne cure. The same can be said for many natural remedies. Benzoyl peroxide in over-the-counter strength can cause irritation and over-drying of the skin. Acne.com reports that the long-term side effects of topical retinoids are still not understood. If you have white heads that are bothersome, consult your doctor for further advice.
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