Whiteheads are small, hard, white or yellowish bumps – can be attributed to many factors; some to do with the products we use, others connected to genetics and skin characteristics. Medically known as closed comedones, they form when dead skin and sebum (oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands) block the hair follicles.
They are similar to blackheads, in that they are caused by a build up of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria in the pores and occur most frequently on the oily patches of skin on the nose, forehead, chin and cheeks.
You can remove whiteheads effectively with good skin care and home remedies.
Home Remedies for Whiteheads
There are several natural home remedies you can try to remove whiteheads and improve your skin’s look. Natural remedies, however, are no miracle solution, so be prepared to invest some time and patience into realizing your aspirations and getting rid of whiteheads.
1. Facial Steam
A facial steam or sauna is one of the best natural treatments for whiteheads. It helps open up the pores and loosens the buildup of dirt, oil and dead skin cells.
- Boil some water in a pan to create steam. Turn off the heat and place your face over the pan while holding a towel over head to trap the steam around your face. Allow the steam to soak into your face for five to eight minutes. Finally, pat dry your skin with a clean towel.
- Alternatively, you can dip a soft, clean towel in warm water, wring out the excess water and place it on your face. Leave it on for a few minutes and then remove it. Repeat the process two or three times in a sitting.
Use either of these remedies once or twice a week on a regular basis, especially if you have oily skin. You can also follow this with one of the facial scrubs or exfoliating remedies for even better results.
Garlic works like magic on the skin due to its anti-bacterial properties and its healthy dose of anti-oxidants. Extract its juice and rub the juice on your skin.
It might initially burn but it will work like magic on your skin. Do not forget to rinse it off with luke warm water.
You can apply a mild moisturizer later to remove the potent smell of garlic from your skin.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
- Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. Apply this solution on your face using a cotton ball. Leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
- Another option is to mix one part apple cider vinegar with three parts cornstarch. Spread it on your face. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before scrubbing it off.
- Clean your face with a washcloth soaked in warm water. Follow with a cold water rinse to close the pores.
Use either of these remedies daily or a few times a week until you get encouraging results.
4. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a sure fire way of reducing the number of whiteheads on the face. Take some lemon juice in a bowl and dab some on your face with the help of cotton. The lemon juice dries out the face and reduces the excess sebum secretion in the body thus reducing the number of whiteheads on the face.
Being slightly abrasive in nature, oatmeal also works as a natural exfoliant to get rid of accumulated dead skin and dirt. In addition, it absorbs excess oil and opens the pores.
- Mix two tablespoons of yogurt, one tablespoon each of lemon juice and honey, and four tablespoons of powdered oatmeal. You can also add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Dampen your skin and then apply this paste on your face. Leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
Follow this remedy once or twice a week on a regular basis.
Honey is an excellent anti-bacterial agent which is also gentle on the skin. You can dab a little honey directly on to the whiteheads or you can apply it all over as a face mask.
- Manuka honey or raw honey are the best options for treating skin problems, as they contain more active ingredients.
7. Egg And Honey
These two power packed components are able to successfully remove whiteheads that occur on your face.
Take the whites of an egg and pour in some honey to make a smooth mixture. Apply the mixture to your face.
The egg white and honey mixture tightens and tones the skin and sucks out excess oil. Essentially, it acts as a toner and does a good job of preventing whiteheads and acne.
8. Honey, Lemon and Turmeric Scrub
This scrub reduces whiteheads, blackheads, patches caused due to whiteheads, removes dead cells and open the pores, and allows the skin to breathe. It can be applied twice a week. Try it, it should show improvement on the very next day.
- Mix one tablespoon of rough besan or rice-flour, one teaspoon turmeric power or fresh turmeric juice, one teaspoon honey with lemon juice to obtain a smooth paste. Don’t add even a drop of water; if required, more lemon juice can be added.
- Apply the scrub all over your face, concentrating most on the whiteheads. Keep it on for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Place some lemon juice and rosewater on your hand and rub the paste in just the same way that you use a scrub.
- For best results, clean your face with rosewater and cotton balls as many times your face gets oily.
9. Baking Soda
Baking soda is good for gentle exfoliation of oil, dirt and dead skin cells from the skin. It also helps maintain the pH balance of the skin.
- Mix a little water in one teaspoon of baking soda to make a thick paste.
- Apply it on the affected area and wash it off after a few minutes.
- Repeat two or three times a week until you are satisfied with the results.
Note: Don’t use baking soda if you have sensitive skin.
10. Rose Water and Lime Juice
Cleanse your face every day with a homemade cleanser of rose water and lime juice.
Take cotton, dip it into the rose water, and lime juice solution. Then, cleanse your face with this solution.
This not only removes the dirt stuck to your skin but also sucks out the excess oil that may be clogging your pores and giving rise to whiteheads.
Cinnamon is excellent for improving the quality of your skin. When used as a scrub, it helps reduce blackheads and whiteheads. It also promotes the production of collagen, thereby facilitating skin regeneration. Plus, cinnamon has antimicrobial properties that fight acne.
- Mix together one teaspoon each of cinnamon powder and oat flour with sufficient warm water to make a thick paste. Spread it on your face and scrub for a few minutes. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Alternatively, you can apply a paste of one teaspoon each of honey and aloe vera gel and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Leave it on for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
Use either of these remedies two or three times a week until you are satisfied with the results.
12. Fenugreek Seeds Paste
Make a paste of fenugreek seeds. Then, apply this paste on the face for 15 minutes before you go to sleep. Wait for it to dry and wash it off by splashing cool water on the face. Fenugreek has medicinal properties that restrict the growth of whiteheads on the face.
Strawberries are another useful home remedy for whiteheads. Their mildly abrasive texture exfoliates the skin, thereby removing trapped dirt, dead skin cells and oil clogging the pores.
They also contain salicylic acid, a common ingredient used in anti-acne treatments to help unblock pores. Plus, the ellagic acid present in this fruit protects the skin from sun damage caused by ultraviolet rays.
- Mash two or three strawberries to make a paste.
- Mix in one tablespoon of honey.
- Spread it on your face and gently massage in circular motions for a few minutes.
- Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash it off.
- Repeat once or twice a week for a few months.
For best results, use the exfoliating masks and scrubs after facial steaming.
14. Nutmeg and Milk
Grind some nutmeg in a mixer and churn it to form a smooth powder. Make a paste of this nutmeg by applying milk. Put this nutmeg on your face and leave it to dry. Once it dries, wash it off with water. You will find that with time the incidence of comedones and whiteheads will reduce.
15. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil can be used as a natural astringent to reduce oiliness and get rid of whiteheads. Due to its antibacterial properties, tea tree oil will also fight acne.
- Dip a cotton swab in water and put three or four drops of tea tree oil on it.
- Dab it on the affected area.
- Leave it on at least for 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with cool water.
- Do this twice daily until you see improvement.
How to Prevent Whiteheads
Wash your face twice daily. Whiteheads develop when excess oil, bacteria and dead skin cells become trapped in the pores. You can eliminate the build-up of these substances on the surface of the skin by washing twice daily, using a gentle, non-oily facial wash.
- Try not to wash too vigorously or use harsh skincare products, as this can dry out and irritate the skin.
Wash your hair frequently. Having greasy hair can contribute to more oil on the surface of the skin, increasing the chances of blocked pores. As well as washing your face, you need to ensure that your are washing your hair on a regular basis, thus preventing excess oil from building up on the face.
Washing every two to three days should be enough for most people, unless you tend to have very oily hair.
- Remember that over-washing your hair can actually cause your body to produce more oil to compensate. Washing everyday is overkill for most people.
Use oil-free make up and lotions. Oily make up and other skin care products are some of the worst culprits when it comes to clogging pores. As a result your should look for make-up, sunscreens and face lotions which have the word “noncomedogenic” on the label. This means that they are non-oily and will not clog your pores.
Change your pillowcase once a week. Oil, dirt and bacteria from your face can build-up on pillowcases over time, so even if you go to bed with a freshly washed face, you may be exposing yourself to unwanted oil and dirt overnight. To avoid this, replace your used pillowcase with a freshly washed one once a week.
Apply topical medications before makeup. Oil-free makeup is better for your skin than the oily stuff, but it can still cause trouble if it blocks your acne medications from working. Apply your medications first, then your makeup, for the best effect.
Stay out of the sun. Tanning beds and laying out to tan are popular, but they’re not good news for your skin. Using tanning beds can increase your risk of skin cancer by 75 percent. In addition, certain acne medications make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, which can increase skin damage if you tan.
Maintain a healthy diet. Although it’s been proven that candy, chocolate and fast food don’t actually cause whiteheads and other skin problems, they are not going to do it any favors either. Think about it. Whiteheads, blackheads and pimples form when excess oil clogs up your pores, so limiting the amount of oil that you put into your body in the first place isn’t going to hurt. Plus, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and drinking lots of water will boost your body’s overall health, which will be reflected in your skin.
- In particular, you should aim to eat fruit and veg rich in vitamin A, such as broccoli, spinach and carrots, and vitamins E and C, such as oranges, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados. These nutrients help the skin to repair and renew itself.
- Also try to drink 5 to 8 glasses of water a day, as water helps to flush toxins from the system and ensures that the skin’s metabolism is functioning properly, promoting cell turnover.