How to Get Rid of Whiteheads Once and For All

how to get rid of whitheads

When people think of acne, spots and pimples they generally associate them with blackheads as well. But whiteheads are just as common and in many ways are far more difficult to deal with.

To add to the battle, many of the products that work on blackheads don’t work on whiteheads so where does that leave you in finding the right treatments?


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Before you just head out to a drug store and pick a random selection of products there are a few things you need to understand. This will help you significantly in your battle and ensure that you prevent and get rid of whiteheads once and for all.

On this page you will first of all learn exactly what whiteheads are and what causes them. This will help you make some adjustments to your lifestyle and habits to reduce the risk of breakouts.

And of course, we’ll bring you the best possible products to help you get rid of them effectively, no matter what skin type you have. So keep reading and find some excellent solutions.

The First Step – What are whiteheads and how are they caused?

The Second Step – How to get rid of whiteheads.

The Final Step – How to prevent whiteheads.

Top 3 – Editor’s Picks

If you’re in a rush, below are the top 3 products to Get Rid of Whiteheads Once and For All!

caa2-table__imageSalicylic Acid Washes
  • Effective in opening up the clogged skin pores
  • Helps in slowing down the shedding of dead skin cells
  • Salicylic acid as an ingredient
Click for Price
Benzoyl Peroxide Gels and Cleansers
  • A handy OTC treatment.
  • An anti-bacterial agent.
  • Destroys any early bacteria that may already exist.
Click for Price
caa2-table__imageManaging Oily Skin with a Great Acne Toner
  • Effective and fastest-acting product.
  • Tightens the skin and shrinks pores.
  • Acts as a protective layer on top of your skin.
Click for Price

What Are Whiteheads And How Are They Caused?

The typical appearance of whiteheads. It's important to know this when learning how to get rid of whiteheads.
That’s what whiteheads typically look like.

Whiteheads, also known as “closed comedones”, are a typical form of acne that is characterized by the appearance of small or medium sized bumps. There isn’t much difference between the materials inside a whitehead and a blackhead. But in a whitehead, follicles are microscopically opened to the surface. As a result, there isn’t any way for the air to reach the follicle, so the material inside does not oxidize or turn to black, and thus, you call it a whitehead.

Just like the ordinary acne, the major cause behind the outbreak of whiteheads is excess production of sebum, which clogs your skin pores. This over production of oil can be triggered by several conditions of your body including puberty, menopause, menstruation, or pregnancy.

And here’s the good part.

What I want to assure you is that if you’re only suffering from whiteheads on your skin, then you’re in a luck. Because they’re considered to be the initial stage of acne. Therefore, taking measures for treating them right now ensures the prevention of a greater vulnerability.

Getting To The Point

The essence of what we’ve discussed throughout this step is that the main cause behind the outbreak of whiteheads on your skin is the excess of oil, which causes pore clogging. However, this isn’t the only cause behind whiteheads, but it definitely plays an important role in their development. That’s why we’ll concentrate more on controlling these things in our approach to get rid of whiteheads once and for all.

That completes our first step towards getting rid of whiteheads. Now let’s move on to the second one.

How To Get Rid of Whiteheads

There are dozens of ways you can reduce excess of oil to avoid pore clogging, but I’ve picked only the best ones to only provide you with the ways that are proven to work.

1. Salicylic Acid Washes

Salicylic acid is used as a prominent ingredient in most of the OTCs with the concentration of up to 2%. It can be very effective in opening up the clogged skin pores as it helps in slowing down the shedding of dead skin cells within the follicle.

It comes in many forms and is easily available on the drugstores – just check the back of the product and see if it includes salicylic acid as an ingredient. If your whiteheads are less in amount, you can use it in the form of gel or an ointment to apply over your affected areas. However, if they’re found in abundance, a cleanser or face wash would be more effective.

The best ones include:

  1. Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser
  2. Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, and
  3. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash.


2. Benzoyl Peroxide Gels and Cleansers

Another handy OTC treatment, in regard to getting rid of whiteheads, is benzoyl peroxide. Primarily, it is used as an anti-bacterial agent with the concentration of up to 10% in the form of gel, cream, or wash. It can go one step further in not only cleaning up the clogged pores, but also destroying any early bacteria that may already exist, as a result of its antibacterial properties.

The procedure for applying BP is same as of salicylic acid (read above).

Top products include:

  2. Treatment (2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide), and
  3. Glytone Acne Gel (10% Benzoyl Peroxide).


A Word of Caution about Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid

You might give a minimum trial of a month or two of an over the counter salicylic acid gel and/or a benzoyl peroxide gel. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label, and you must be patient because medications to prevent whiteheads generally take about eight to twelve weeks to begin to work.

3. Managing Oily Skin with a Great Acne Toner

Many people neglect to use toners, but never underestimate the beneficial effects of toning. A great toner is a game-changer in the fight against whiteheads and blackheads. That’s because they are the most effective and fastest-acting product to reduce the overproduction of oil on the skin that clogs up your pores and cause whiteheads.

It also tightens the skin and shrinks pores so that less debris and impurities get stuck inside. It acts as a protective layer on top of your skin, keeping away bacteria that trigger irritation and acne. Lastly, it also restores your skin’s pH balance, nourishes, refreshes and hydrates.

Our true and tried, all-time favorite acne toner is Misumi’s Pore Purifying Toner. This formula blends a variety of herbal and citrus ingredients to really soothe and purifying your skin. Their list of ingredients is truly impressive. It includes great acne-fighting ingredients like Witch Hazel, Lavender, Lemon Peel, and Sage leaf, which can help calm irritated skin and reduce redness and scarring. It’s the new toner everyone’s raving about and for good reason.

Here are some of the best toners we’ve tested on the market today:

    1. Misumi Pore Purifying Toner
    1. Exposed Clearing Toner
  1. Christina Moss Naturals Organic Facial Toner


4. Cleansing (with a Clarisonic Brush)

You might already be aware of the wonders of cleaning your pores with a mild cleanser, but investing in a Clarisonic Brush to use it for cleansing would be icing on the cake. I’ve heard several experts claiming that buying this device for your cleansing purposes is one of the wisest investments on your skin care.

This definitely can be a great way to clear away your existing whiteheads and avoid their future breakouts.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you wish to cleanse your face using Clarisonic:

  • If you haven’t bought it yet, contact the customer support of this product to confirm which type of device would be suitable for your needs. There are several types, and you can become confused on which one to choose.
  • When cleansing, make sure to not press it over your face. Just use it with a gentle hand and let the device do its job.
  • There are many places in this device where bacteria can easily stick, and spread over time.  Always clean it thoroughly after use. If you’re skeptical, call the customer care to ask how to clean it properly.

Nevertheless, this can be an exception. You can obviously cleanse your face with a cleanser without using Clarisonic, and there’s nothing wrong in that.

Here are some of the best and highly recommended cleansers to treat whiteheads and avoid pore clogging:

  1. Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser
  2. Purpose by J&J
  3. Phisoderm Deep Cleaning Cleanser (best for sensitive skin).
  4. Neutrogena acne wash


5. Using Retinoid Creams and Gels to Treat Whiteheads

Retinoid creams or gels can be very effective in treating whiteheads as their primary function is to clean up the dead skin cells in the follicles that cause clogging of pores. Because they are prescriptive treatments, it’s recommended to you to see a Dermatologist and let him prescribe the best one for you.

However, the best retinoid creams are found under the following names:

  • Tazorac
  • Defferin
  • Tretinoin

6. Home Remedies to Treat Whiteheads

There is no denying the effectiveness of home remedies (if used with proper guidelines). However, they usually require more time and persistence to provide you with the results you desire. Keeping this in mind, I’d like to list here some handy home remedies that have worked perfectly for a majority of people.

  • Yogurt and Orange: Mix yogurt and orange peel powder and make a thick paste. Apply on face by moving fingers in circular motions, and then wash your face after 15 minutes.
  • Lemon Juice: Make use of the lemon juice to get rid of whiteheads as it naturally contains alpha hydroxy acid. Wash your face with warm water, dip a cotton bud into diluted lemon juice, and then apply it to your affected areas. Leave for about 15 minutes before rinsing off.
  • Oatmeal: Blend oatmeal to make it a powder and add rose water to make a paste. Apply this paste on your affected areas and leave for 20 minutes. Afterward, rinse your face with cold water.
  • Lime and Cinnamon: Mix equal amount of lime juice and cinnamon powder. Apply this mixture to your face before going to bed and leave overnight. Rinse it off at morning.

Performing any one of these home remedies consistently for a few weeks can bring noticeable results to your skin.

Now heading toward the third and last step.

How To Prevent Whiteheads The Right Way

We’ve finally made it to the last step. This is the most important step if you’re really willing to get rid of whiteheads once and for all. Let’s discuss the most effective ways of preventing them.

1. Tweak Your Makeup Habits

You might already know that certain cosmetics can promote acne. So, first of all, if you wish to prevent whiteheads, avoid heavy makeup at all costs. Secondly, always make sure to check the “non-comedogenic” or “oil-free” label on all cosmetic products you buy.

Never go to sleep without removing your makeup because it will clog your pores throughout the night.

2. Avoid Greasy Environments

To minimize the appearance of whiteheads, we should never let our sweat build up on our skin surface as this clogs the pores. For instance, working in the kitchen that fries food, working as a short order cook, grilling at a fast food restaurant, having an intense workout, and playing a sport are some of those activities in which we sweat a lot.

You should avoid them; if not, make proper arrangements to avoid the buildup of excess oil on your skin when doing so.

3. Make a Habit of Cleansing with a Mild Cleanser

Making a habit of washing your face two to three times a day with a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or Purpose by J&J at local pharmacies, can efficiently help your skin to stay clear of whiteheads and blackheads.

Wrapping it up – Your Takeaway From This Guide

Now that brings us to the end of this discussion on how to get rid of whiteheads once and for all. We touched everything from knowing their causes, to discovering the best ways to treat them, and to learning the right ways of their prevention.

As we’ve discussed a number of ways for their treatment, you’re likely to get procrastinated in starting your action against whiteheads. The best approach here is to choose one type of treatment and stick to it for a while. If it does not show noticeable results in a few weeks, move on to the other, until you find the best one.

If you have any questions or want to share something about getting rid of whiteheads, let me know in the comments below.

Sheikh has been blogging regularly at CAA for over 5 years. He spends majority of his time studying health and technology or participating in discussions about these niches (online or offline).


  1. hiii… i suffer alot of whiteheads on my face n open pores.. and acne scars on face but i also have acne on my chest and back n shoulders can u plz suggest me how to clear my acne and specially whteheads.. thankx

  2. Hello Sheikh,

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful guide. I suffered a lot of whiteheads, I also used so many products and mask to get rid of them, but all are temporary solutions. I find your article informative, and will definitely try one of these products, and hope i’ll get some better results than before.

    Thanks again for sharing these valuable tips.

  3. Hey…I’m use a cleanser which contains 2% glycolic acid and 0.5% salicylic acid and 0.5% tea tree oil. Is it effective to reduce Whiteheads?


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