Whiteheads or closed comedones are non-inflammatory acne lesions caused by clogged skin pores. People often feel relaxed after popping whiteheads, but squeezing them may cause skin infection, redness, scarring, or blemishes. Skincare experts never recommend squeezing whiteheads on your own. Let’s learn in detail the pros and cons of popping whiteheads.
What Causes Whiteheads?
Whiteheads are annoying and may worsen, sometimes leading to severe skin lesions. They are caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells, bacteria, dust, or excess sebum in the clogged skin pores. Other most common causes of whiteheads are:
- Hormonal changes
- Family history
- Certain contraceptive drugs
Should You Squeeze Whiteheads?
Whiteheads are usually a mild form of acne that can be treated quickly; however, the way of treatment determines your skin health. Popping or picking a whitehead immediately after it appears may irritate or damage your skin and leave a permanent scar on that particular area.
Moreover, squeezing whiteheads may also cause negative impacts on your skin, such as infection, bruising, rash, or redness. Here is why you should avoid popping whiteheads.
- Picking the whitehead opens a skin pore that may increase the risk of bacterial infection.
- Harsh squeezing may cause skin scratches and tiny abrasions where germs can easily penetrate the skin.
- Touching the skin without sanitizing your hands may cause bacterial infections.
How to Prevent and Manage Whiteheads?
Preventing whiteheads is difficult in case of medical reasons; however, it’s not impossible. Here are some tips that might help you to prevent whiteheads:
- Take good care of your skin hygiene
- Apply non-comedogenic skin products as they reduce the risk of acne breakouts
- Avoid unnecessarily touching skin
- Make sure to cleanse and moisturize your skin daily
- Gently exfoliate your skin about 1-2 times a week
OTC Treatment for Whiteheads
The most common treatment for whiteheads is OTC medication. Some incredible OTC medications include:
- Retinoids are great for improving skin’s natural turnover and getting rid of whiteheads and clogged pores. You might also notice an improvement in the tone and glow of your skin. The acne associated adverse effects can be reduced by using retinoids every other day or at the same time as a moisturizer.
- Benzoyl Peroxide targets the surface bacteria and inflammatory toxins, thus reducing acne risk.
- Salicylic acid can be used in cleansers, as an exfoliator, or in other skincare products. It effectively removes the topmost damaged skin layer or acne in the form of whiteheads or blackheads. Moreover, it also improves skin texture and natural glow.
- Azelaic acid in various OTC medications is perfect for killing bacteria on the skin, thus helping reduce the chances of inflammation and acne.
Don’t go squeeze whiteheads on your own. Instead, seek medical advice from your dermatologist as they will guide you about the safe methods to extract the whiteheads according to your skin type. Moreover, professional treatment may reduce the risk of infections or skin lesions.