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Bumps with White Heads

Bumps with White Heads Bumps with White Heads


Bumps, blemishes, spots and breakouts pop up on your skin from time to time and, usually, they aren't signs of a serious problem, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Among the common blemishes that can break out on your skin are raised bumps with white heads.

The Facts

Whiteheads occur when a hair follicle gets clogged and swells up, forming a raised bump. As long as the clog stays below the surface of your skin, the bump stays white---what's called a closed comedone. If the clog breaks through the surface of your skin, it reacts with sunlight and turns dark, creating a closed comedone, or blackhead. In some cases, pustules---inflamed acne bumps---may have white heads because of the pus in them.


According to the Mayo Clinic, there are three main factors that contribute to the formation of bumps with white heads on your skin. Whiteheads form when your skin's sebaceous glands produce too-large quantities of oily sebum, when your skin doesn't shed its dead cells efficiently and when bacteria gets stuck in your cells, causing infection and swelling.


The Mayo Clinic recommends treating whiteheads with gentle, daily washing and application of a topical treatment containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as needed to reduce swelling and infection. If acne persists or if the bumps are painful, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist---you may need prescription-strength medication to prevent long-term scarring and clear up stubborn bumps.


If you're prone to whitehead breakouts, some simple lifestyle changes may reduce your risk. Avoid using harsh soaps and laundry detergents, which can cause breakouts, and choose noncomedogenic cosmetics and beauty products that won't contribute to further breakouts. If you tend to get whiteheads on your body rather than your face, choose loose-fitting clothing that won't rub against your skin.


Don't pick at or try to pop bumps with white heads, or you could make the problem worse, warns the Mayo Clinic. Picking at whiteheads can spread infection, making your acne outbreak worse, or even cause permanent scarring that can only be repaired with surgical intervention.

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