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Whiteheads vs Blackheads

Calling all fellow oily skin friends! Do you ever notice those mini black dots on your nose while applying skincare or doing makeup? Or maybe you’ve been bothered by the skin-colored bumps across your forehead? Those are what we call blackheads and whiteheads. Unfortunately, they can happen to anyone, not just to those who have oily skin. You may be wondering, how do we get rid of these pesky pimples? Keep reading to find out more about these annoying guests on our faces.

What Are They?

Our skin is covered in many tiny openings called pores. Each pore has a hair follicle and sebaceous gland which forms a pilosebaceous unit. These units are found almost everywhere in the body, primarily around the forehead, cheek, and jawline. The sebaceous gland’s job is to produce sebum to lubricate the skin, keeping it soft and moisturized.

However, when sebum production increases and dead skin cells pile up on the surface of our skin, they block pores. In comes the formation of comedones. Comedones are considered noninflammatory acne since they aren’t normally red or tender to the touch. There are two types of comedonal acne: blackheads (open comedones) and whiteheads (closed comedones).

Blackheads form in open pores. When the opening of the clogged pores is exposed to the air, the mixture of sebum and dead skin cells oxidizes and turns black. Meanwhile, whiteheads are trapped in dead skin cells and sebum covered by a thin layer of skin. That’s why they’re called closed comedones. Plus, since oxidation doesn’t occur, three contents remain white or yellow in color.

So How Do You Deal With It?

There are numerous ways to combat annoying blackheads and whiteheads. It’s a good idea to look into ingredients that can help with comedonal acne. Next time when you are reading your skincare label, look for benzoyl peroxide, tea tree, or azelaic acid


Washing your face is definitely one of the most basic steps of skincare routines. It is necessary to get rid of dead skin cells, sebum, and unwanted debris that can clog our pores. Be careful not to overdo it! Washing your face too much can do more harm than good. Twice a day is a good amount of time to wash your face. The best times are once in the morning and once before you hit the sack.

Expert’s Choice
DR SONG Glycolic Acid Cleanser

SOME BY MI Bye Bye Blackhead 30Days Miracle Green Tea Tox Bubble Cleanser


As we age and due to other environmental factors, our skin’s natural ability to shed slows down. That’s why adding exfoliants 2-3 times a week (or daily, if your skin can handle it) into our regime can be beneficial. It helps to take off dead skin cells, excess sebum, and all the other gunk that leads to the formation of acne if left untreated. The best ingredients to look for are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, or mandelic acid.

Expert’s Choice
THE ORDINARY AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

SKIN1004 Zombie Beauty by SKIN1004 Bloody Peel


Retinoid (aka vitamin A) is not only amazing at preventing prematuring aging, but it also treats hyperpigmentation. It can help to regulate sebum production as well. This miraculous ingredient helps to stimulate cell turnover. Meaning that it releases trapped sebum from the pores which reduces inflammation and regulates sebum production. In short, retinoid effectively treats comedonal acne and prevents more of it from regularly coming back. 

Expert’s Choice
SOMETHINC Level 1% Retinol

PAULA’S CHOICE Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment w/ Peptides & Vitamin C

Clay Mask

Looking for a quick fix or a mini spa treatment for your face? If you’re having concerns about your comedonal acne, you’ll definitely want this in your skincare collection! Clay masks detoxifies pores by absorbing excess sebum, toxins, debris, and dirt. Moreover, it aids the regulation of sebum production and prevention of breakouts. A friendly tip: make sure to apply a generous amount of moisturizer afterward as clay can be drying.

Expert’s Choice
INNISFREE Pore Clearing Clay Mask 2X W/ Super Volcanic Clusters

SKINCEUTICALS Clarifying Clay Masque Deep Poree Cleansing Skin-Refining Masque

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Created With

Dr. Stella

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