How to Get Rid of Whiteheads: 5 Remedies That Work

Trying to “pop” them will only make things worse.

There are two types of acne bumps

Acne skinBERNATSKAYA OXANA/Shutterstock

Whiteheads or blackheads are small, pin-sized acne bumps that look liked clogged pores. Meanwhile, big, red, swollen, or tender bumps are pimples. Many people call pimples whiteheads when they aren’t, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. The T-zone area of the face—your forehead, nose, and chin—is the most popular home for true whiteheads, according to Anna Bender, MD, a dermatologist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.

So is there ever a good time to pop a whitehead?

pop pimple skinArtem Varnitsin/Shutterstock

Although some people might try to extract or pop whiteheads, Dr. Bender doesn’t encourage this remedy. “This is because it is often hard to tell the difference between a small and large acne bump,” she says. Never pop pimples, or large acne bumps, since that can burst the pimple under the skin causing redness and pain. Plus, you also risk infection or scarring by deeply squeezing, which is why Dr. Bender tells her patients to avoid any and all popping. If you happen to have a pimple instead of a whitehead, check out how to get rid of a zit overnight.

A professional extraction is an option

dermatologist with dermatoscope, close-up hand with dermatoscopeErica Smit/Shutterstock

It is possible to extract whiteheads, but if they don’t come out easily, your aesthetician or your dermatologist can open them, according to Dr. Zeichner. “Whiteheads are difficult to pick as they have a small connection to the surface of the skin,” he says. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to picking or popping acne.

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