Whiteheads Vs. Blackheads: What's The Difference And How Can You Get Rid Of Them?

Everyone knows that familiar feeling of being self-conscious about a pesky pimple, especially in our teenage years. Very Well Health reports that acne is so common among adolescents and young adults, that approximately 85% of them are affected by the skin condition. When it comes to acne, knowing the type of breakout it is and why it occurs is often the best step into finding the right treatment and preventing future bad skin days. While you've probably heard of the terms "whiteheads" and "blackheads" used by various dermatologists and skin care brands, the two can be difficult to differentiate. Luckily, we're here to help.

The main cause of both whiteheads and blackheads are clogged pores from dead skin cells and oils, according to InStyle. However, the nuances between how the two mild forms of acne develop and function are somewhat different. Here is the difference between whiteheads and blackheads, and how you can get rid of them.

Whiteheads and blackheads causes and treatments

Blackheads are follicles with a wide opening with an open pore that sits at the surface of the skin. The less-than-favorable color appears when the melanin in your pores becomes oxidized. Blackheads are typically found on the nose, but often occur on the back and shoulders as well(via Very Well Health and Healthline).

With whiteheads, the pore remains closed where air cannot reach it, resulting in its white color. They are typically found on the face, but also often appear on other areas of the body. Dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek told InStyle that your genes are what determine whether you're more likely to get blackheads or whiteheads.

But what should you do about these two forms of acne? Luckily, most solutions can be done at home. Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian recommends retinol products once or twice a week for blackheads, because they decrease oil production and loosen the blackheads from the skin. She also recommends pore strips to remove the undesired follicles as they are gentler and are less likely to break blood vessels in the face.

For whiteheads, Dr. Nazarian says exfoliating salicylic acid is the way to go. "Salicylic acid is great because it breaks up the 'glue' that keeps dead skin cells together, and can degrade the keratin plug in the whitehead," she told InStyle.

Overall, whiteheads and blackheads are milder forms of acne that are perfectly treatable. And most importantly, remember not to pick!