How to Get Rid of Whiteheads (Try This Before Bed)

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If you have acne or whiteheads, you know how distressing it can be. Everyone wants blemish-free skin, but for some of us, it is more difficult to attain than it is for others. Adolescents and adults alike can get acne, and while it is tempting to pop whiteheads, please don’t. Learning how to get rid of whiteheads can spare your skin and prevent scarring.

Learning how to get rid of whiteheads takes some time. With patience and commitment, it’s definitely possible. Here is a quick guide on everything you need to know about whiteheads. Let’s begin!


What Are They?

These visible white pumps are actually a type of acne that happens when oil, bacteria, sebum, and dead skin becomes trapped inside a pore. It closes over, causing the pimple which can become red, irritated, and inflamed. They are most common on your face, but they can also occur on the neck, back, and other areas.

Blackheads, also just as distressing, are similar but instead of being covered by skin, they are open, exposing the bacteria, skin, and oil to the air. This causes the color to change to black. Will all whiteheads eventually become blackheads?  No. Some may, particularly if you pop them. The good news is that you can safely get rid of whiteheads and enjoy clean and clear skin.

What’s the Cause?

Learning how to get rid of whiteheads, must address the root cause. There are 3 leading causes of whiteheads:  diet, hormones, and improper cleansing.

A glass of water with lemon and mint leaves


If you eat a diet high in sugar, carbohydrates, saturated fats, and processed foods – whiteheads may be an all too common reflection when you look in the mirror. The good news is that if it is your diet that is causing your skin troubles, changing your diet should help.

The first step is to remove processed foods and fried foods from your diet immediately. Next, limit your consumption of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates and instead, focus on eating lean proteins like chicken and fish, whole grains like brown rice and barley, and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.

And, drink more water. Seriously – a minimum of 64 ounces a day, and closer to 100 ounces a day would be a great way to start. No, coffee doesn’t count, and juice doesn’t count, and sugar-free sodas definitely don’t count.


Hormone fluctuations and changes can absolutely cause acne and whiteheads. Generally caused by the hormone testosterone, over our lifespan, levels increase and decrease and may result in acne. In addition to being the hormone associated with muscle and bone strength (in boy males and females), it is also associated with sebum production inside hair follicles. This is one of the reasons that so many adolescents and teens fight pimples and breakouts.

Whiteheads can also be caused by other hormones too. And many women breakout during their menstrual cycle and when pregnant. And, it doesn’t stop there. Perimenopause, menopause, and thyroid disorders can also trigger hormonal acne. Hormonal acne can be more of a challenge to treat, and may require some extra patience and may require the help of your physician to get your hormones balanced.

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A beauty cream formula of rose extracts

Improper Cleaning or Comedogenic Products

Acne can be caused by improper cleaning or the use of products that clog your pores. When whiteheads appear, it is so very tempting to scrub and scrub and scrub. This can actually irritate your skin more and cause more whiteheads and blackheads to appear. There isn’t an overnight fix, but designing a new beauty routine may help.

  1. Cleansing. Use a mild cleanser twice a day to remove the sweat, dirt, and bacteria from your skin. Avoid harsh cleansers as if they strip your skin of too much of its natural oil, it may trigger your skin to produce more oil, and more oil = more whiteheads.
  2. Toning. Toning your skin after cleansing helps to remove any residue left behind. A great, and cheap solution is to mix ¼ cup of organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) with ½ cup of fresh water and apply to the face after cleansing. ACV is great for the skin, has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-aging, and anti-acne properties!
  3. Moisturizing. No, this isn’t a mistake. Even when you have whiteheads or acne, you still need to properly moisturize your skin. Finding the right moisturizer for your skin may take a bit of trial and error. Read labels carefully and select one that is non-comedogenic and made with natural ingredients.
  4. This is key. To remove whiteheads, blackheads, and even to help with fine lines and wrinkles, you simple must exfoliate. One of the best ways to change the look and the feel of your skin is by using a microdermabrasion machine. These help to remove the top layer of the skin, with the aid of exfoliating cream and may help get rid of your whiteheads. Just like a cleansing – do not over exfoliate – follow the recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

Home Remedies to Try

How to get rid of whiteheads? Along with cleaning your skin and brushes, you can try some of these home remedies:

Facial Steam

Exposing your face to steam will help plugged pores open up. Boil some water and place it in a bowl. Hold the affected area over the bowl without touching the water. Simply let the steam touch your face. If it’s a too hot move away from the bowl a few inches. For best results create a steam tent by placing a towel over your head to trap the steam in.

Apple Cider Vinegar

An apple cider vinegar

This household product is great for so many different things. It is very acidic, meaning it can dry and shrink pores. Apple cider vinegar is also great when needing to reduce inflammation in the skin. To use follow these steps:

  • Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of warm water
  • Apply to the affected area
  • Leave on for 20 minutes
  • Repeat as needed

Lemon Juice

Just like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice is very acidic. It does a good job soaking up excess oils and reducing inflammation. To use, mix an equal amount of water with the juice and apply it to the affected area. We suggest you use a cotton pad or your fingers (make sure they’re clean). Leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing.


It’s very likely you already have some honey sitting around in your pantry somewhere. This ingredient has amazing antibacterial properties. While it is sticky and thick, it sinks deep into the skin. Use it by heating up a tablespoon of honey in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Wash your skin, apply it, and leave it on for 15 minutes. Do this every day for the best results.

Tea Tree Oil

You’ll find this ingredient in many cleansers, toners, or skincare products. Tea tree oil can also be purchased on its own serving as an anti-inflammatory agent. To use, wash your face and hands and apply a small amount on the affected area.

RELATED: Murad Clarifying Cleanser Review

Additional Skincare Tips

In order to prevent whiteheads, you need to control a few things – stress and greasy foods. These two elements can actually make your skin condition worse. Along with improving your diet and controlling stress, you can follow these habits:

  • Don’t touch the affected area
  • Avoid using any products that contain fragrances or dyes
  • Use oil-free products
  • Avoid places with heavy air pollution
  • Wash your skin every day
  • Avoid tight clothing and shower immediately after a workout
  • Use sunscreen before going outside

Caring for your skin is a lifelong process. Following these simple tips is just one more way you can prevent whiteheads.

At the end of the day, improving your skins appearance, texture, and health takes some time and a multi-disciplinary approach. Look at your diet, have your hormone levels checked, and shake up your beauty routine by using products that are effective for your skin problems.

We would like to hear what remedies have worked for you in your journey to developing clear skin!

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About Alina Jumabhoy

With almost 10 years of experience writing for the skincare industry, Alina brings her unique perspective into all of the in-depth reviews and articles she writes.