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Home: Diseases & Conditions: Acne: Whiteheads & Blackheads

Acne: Whiteheads & Blackheads

Acne - Whiteheads And Blackheads

Acne is a disease of hair follicles. The hair follicles produce hair. These hair follicles are attached with sebaceous glands. Hair follicles are located all over the skin except for a few places such as palms, soles and lips.

When the pore opening of the follicle gets blocked by dead skin cells it prevents the sebum going out. As a result, sebum gets collected inside the follicle. These blocked follicles are called blackheads or whiteheads. Blackheads and whiteheads are also known as comedones. A comedone is defined as: a sebaceous follicle that is plugged and filled with sebum, dead cells, etc.


A blackhead forms if air oxidizes the sebum. Oxidized sebum looks black, that is why the name- blackhead. As the pore is open at the top in blackheads, the blackheads are also known as open comedones.


Whiteheads are also known as closed comedones. In whiteheads the skin covers the sebum. That is also the reason why sebum does not turn black in whiteheads.

Whiteheads and Blackheads- Treatment

To treat whiteheads and blackheads medication is used. Medication unplugs the pore and prevents future blockage of the pore. Most of the OTC (over the counter) topical acne medications can be used to treat comedones. Comedones can also be extracted. If you extract them yourself take care to use sterile tools. Otherwise infection may occur. Also extract them gently, or you may cause a bigger pore.

Wash your face gently with lukewarm water and mild soap to remove excess sebum and dead skin twice a day. Excessive washing will not help but instead may flare up acne. Avoid touching the affected skin to prevent infection.

Learn more about treatment of mild acne- click here
Learn more about topical medicines- click here

Article created on: June 14, 2006

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Despite the belief that acne gets cleared by sunshine, there is no scientific evidence to this. Excess sun can damage your skin rather than treating acne.

Click here to learn more on Sun Damage.

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