Difference between Blackheads and Whiteheads: What You Need to Know?

Difference between blackheads and whiteheads (Image via Pexels)
Difference between blackheads and whiteheads (Image via Pexels)

When it comes to skin care, it's essential to know the difference between blackheads and whiteheads. These two types of acne are often confused with each other, but they require different treatments. In this article, we will explore the difference between blackheads and whiteheads and how to effectively treat them.


What are Blackheads?

Blackheads are a type of acne that forms when hair follicles become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. The clogged pore stays open and oxidizes, giving the plug a black appearance. They are typically found on the face, particularly on the nose and chin, but can also occur on the back, chest, and shoulders.

Blackheads are more common in people with oily skin or those who are prone to acne. They are not caused by poor hygiene, as many people believe, and scrubbing your face vigorously or using harsh products can make blackheads worse by irritating the skin and causing inflammation.

Main difference between blackheads and whiteheads (Image by pch.vector on Freepik)
Main difference between blackheads and whiteheads (Image by pch.vector on Freepik)

What are Whiteheads?

Whiteheads, also known as closed comedones, are another type of acne that forms when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Unlike blackheads, the pore is completely blocked, and the plug does not come into contact with air, giving it a white or flesh-colored appearance. They are also typically found on the face but can occur on other parts of the body.

Whiteheads are more common in people with dry or sensitive skin, as their skin produces less oil, making it easier for the follicles to become clogged. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty or menstruation, can also contribute to the formation of whiteheads.


Difference between Blackheads and Whiteheads

Difference between blackheads and whiteheads: What most people don't know (Image via pexels)
Difference between blackheads and whiteheads: What most people don't know (Image via pexels)

The main difference between blackheads and whiteheads is the way the pore is clogged. Blackheads are open, and the clogged pore is exposed to air, causing it to oxidize and turn black. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are closed, and the plug does not come into contact with air, giving it a white or flesh-colored appearance.

Another difference is the type of acne lesion they represent. Blackheads are considered a mild type of acne, while whiteheads are considered a more severe type. This is because whiteheads are more likely to become inflamed and turn into pimples or cysts.


Treatment for Blackheads and Whiteheads

While blackheads and whiteheads are both acne, they require different treatments. Here are some effective treatments for each type:

Blackhead Treatment

  • Salicylic acid: This beta-hydroxy acid is an effective exfoliant that can help remove dead skin cells and excess oil from the skin's surface, preventing blackheads from forming.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: This topical medication can help kill the bacteria that cause acne and reduce inflammation.
  • Retinoids: These vitamin A derivatives can help unclog pores and prevent new blackheads from forming.

Whitehead Treatment

  • Topical antibiotics: These medications can help kill the bacteria that cause acne and reduce inflammation.
  • Retinoids: These vitamin A derivatives can help unclog pores and prevent new whiteheads from forming.
  • Chemical peels: These exfoliating treatments can help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, reducing the appearance of whiteheads.

Understanding the difference between blackheads and whiteheads is crucial for effective skin care. While they may look similar, they require different treatments, and using the wrong treatment can make the problem worse. By following a proper skin care routine and using appropriate treatments, you can achieve clear, healthy skin.

Edited by Susrita Das