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Whiteheads vs. Blackheads: What’s the Difference?

You know them, you hate them. Whiteheads, blackheads, and blemishes. Understanding the difference between them means learning how they form, what you can do to...

Whiteheads vs. Blackheads: What’s the Difference?

You know them, you hate them. Whiteheads, blackheads, and blemishes. Understanding the difference between them means learning how they form, what you can do to prevent them, and finding solutions for dealing with these unwanted bumps. 

We’ll give you the scoop on the differences between blemishes and explain what you can do to help eradicate them once and for all. 

Why Does Skin Break Out?

There are several key factors that may be causing your breakouts - luckily, many of these factors are well within your control.

1. Genetics

Blame it on your DNA (or your parents). One of the biggest factors that determine who will get pimples and who won’t is your genetics. If one of your parents has breakouts, you’ll be more likely to develop a similar issue during your lifetime. 

Likewise, if you have a sibling that has struggled to get clear skin, you might find it’s a shared trait. 

2. Hormones

Hormones run the show in our bodies. In fact, hormones trigger numerous bodily processes, from growth and development to how much sebum our skin produces. Androgens, in particular, can cause the skin to excrete more oil. 

During adolescence, you might develop more blemishes because of how quickly the hormones in your body change. Later in life, hormones can also change, causing sebum production to increase or decrease which may contribute to breakouts well into adulthood.

3. Improper Skincare

No one takes perfect care of their skin all the time, but if you’re constantly wearing makeup to bed or using skincare products that aren’t right for your skin type, you could be setting yourself up for disaster. 

It can be hard to find the right products for blemish-prone skin. Many products that eliminate oil can be drying and strip your skin of its natural moisture. Products formulated for normal skin types may cause clogging pores and oiliness in the t-zone. 

Blackheads vs. Whiteheads: How Do They Compare?

So, you understand what might be causing your blackheads and whiteheads – but how are these two types of blemishes different, and what else do you need to know?

What Are Whiteheads?

Whiteheads are pimples that form in the pores and have a small, round, white head at the top. These are referred to as closed comedones because they are sealed by a layer of skin. 

Whiteheads can appear white or yellow and usually have an area of redness that surround them. They’re very common and can appear on the face, neck, chest, back, and other areas of the body where you sweat. 

These types of pimples can be painful, and it can be extremely tempting to pick or pop them. However, picking and popping can lead to dark spots and scarring that can be hard to fade away. 

What Are Blackheads?

Like whiteheads, blackheads form in the hair follicles beneath the pores in our skin. Unlike whiteheads, blackheads are referred to as open comedones because they aren’t covered in a layer of skin at the top. 

All pimples are made up of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. When this material is exposed to oxygen, it can appear dark brown or black. Because blackheads are exposed to oxygen, they appear darker in appearance than whiteheads. This process is called oxidation. 

Blackheads may look like dark spots that sit inside the pore, and they get their name because of the resulting black color. This form of blemish can be particularly tricky to eliminate because they usually crop up in large patches on the skin, especially in the t-zone. 

How To Deal With Whiteheads and Blackheads

If you get whiteheads or blackheads, it’s important to make sure your skincare routine contains the right ingredients to help break down the excess oil and buildup in your pores to treat the root cause of the issue. 

It’s also a good idea to load up on ingredients that help settle down overactive sebaceous glands, bringing balance to your skin’s natural oil production. Keep in mind that any persistent skin condition, including blemishes, might need a trip to your dermatologist. 

1. Fight the Cause

Whether it happens due to genetics or bad skincare routines, your pores are clogged and forming breakouts. Fight the clogged pores where they start, deep in the layers of the skin. 

Skin cells constantly regenerate, and as they do, dead skin cells are pushed to the surface of the skin, where they are (ideally) sloughed away. If this doesn’t happen, a buildup of dead skin cells can grab onto excess oil, dirt, and makeup and cause blemishes. 

Cleansing the skin is the first step in addressing whiteheads and blackheads, followed closely by exfoliating to remove dead skin cells before they can congest the skin. 

NuFACE® Prep-N-Glow® Exfoliating & Hydrating Facial Wipes do both jobs in just seconds. Formulated with gentle yet effective ingredients, these wipes make light work of keeping your skin cleansed without stripping it of its natural moisture, which could even lead to more breakouts. Hyaluronic acid helps keep skin hydrated without the inclusion of heavy oils, and grapeseed and maqui berries provide gentle exfoliation that is safe for even the most sensitive skin types. 

2. Take It Off

Your skin does the majority of its reparative and restorative work while you sleep. That’s why it’s important to keep it clean before bedtime. 

Always remove your makeup before bed — read that again. Prep-N-Glow Exfoliating and Hydrating Wipes make it easy to keep your skin clean before you hit the sack. No complicated cleansers, no gritty exfoliants; just an easy-to-use, gentle skin cleansing cloth that helps to eliminate dirt and oil so your skin can repair and restore itself while you sleep. 

3. Load Up on Antioxidants

Promising research shows that the use of antioxidants may be beneficial for soothing blemish-prone skin so blemishes and breakouts look less noticeable. 

You can add antioxidant protection to your skincare routine with NuFACE Super Antioxidant Booster Serum. This serum includes green tea and a powerful blend of vitamins and minerals to keep your skin protected, hydrated, and radiant. 

4. Try a Blemish Busting Product

Many over-the-counter solutions are available for spot treatment of whiteheads and blackheads that are particularly stubborn. Look for formulas with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help reduce the appearance of large, painful bumps that won’t go away. Before beginning any treatment, speak to a healthcare professional for the best form of treatment for your skin type.

Be mindful that these ingredients can be drying. It’s best to use them sparingly so you don’t end up with dry, flaky skin. 

5. Be Wary of Oil-Free Products

If you have oily skin, there’s a temptation to only use products that are oil-free. While this might be a solution for some users, completely bypassing oil can cause some skin types to become overly dry. 

Skin that is overly dry can end up producing even more sebum to compensate for the dryness, which in turn could lead to (you guessed it) more breakouts. When in doubt, try spot-testing new products (whether they are oil-free or not) on an inconspicuous area of your skin to see how your skin will react. 

Eliminate Breakouts

Clogged pores happen to everyone, but you can fight back with remedies to help eliminate both whiteheads and blackheads. NuFACE is your solution for skincare that is formulated with ingredients that help keep your skin hydrated and radiant in the deepest layers. 

 

Sources:

Acne Causes | American Academy of Dermatology

Hormonal Acne: What it is and Why it Happens | Columbia Skin Clinic

Whiteheads | My Cleveland Clinic.com

Antioxidants in dermatology | PMC

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