What Are Whiteheads?

Understanding whiteheads


Hello there, gang! Maggie here again with another informational piece that will hopefully be of benefit for you.

As always, we at theHealthBase take special time to listen to what you guys have to say and the questions that are on your mind.

Essentially, this is how we decide which areas to target. By doing this, we hope to supply relevant and pertinent information that the Health Base community needs. This is exactly what I will be doing in this piece.

This topic is obviously very closely related to this issue of acne vulgaris, so it might be worth your time to also have a peek at our Comprehensive Acne Guide.

Right, that’s the intro. done, now it’s time to get to it! 😊

What Exactly Are They?

As alluded to in my introduction, whiteheads are an affliction that’s closely linked to acne. In fact, these nuisances technically actually are a mild form of this bacterial infection. They appear in the form of smallish, white bumps on our skin’s surface.

Whiteheads are also known as pimples and are, you’ll be glad to hear, completely benign in nature. It’s very, very rare that this ailment will cause any actual health issues so at least that’s one thing to not have to worry about!

Despite the above, pimples are still something that most people dread the sight of. Whenever these little bumps appear we cannot help but groan in annoyance. Even the most confident, self-assured person will be vexed by the sight of such a skin blemish.

Question mark

Why? Well, because they look so unseemly!! We become fixated on these annoying red lumps and will literally try anything to get rid of them. I’m speaking from experience at this point. ☹ Before I get too gloomy, let’s change tact and look at why whiteheads form in the first place.

What Causes Whiteheads?

In truth, there are actually – and unfortunately – quite a number of reasons for pimples forming on our the surface of our complexion. These can range from hormonal changes in our body; allergic reactions; stress and strain of everyday life; unhealthy dietary habits; lack of an exercise regime et cetera et cetera.

Yet, the most common reason is pore blockage. Pores can become blocked when excess oil/sebum; dirt; dead skin cells; or other accumulative agents, build up over time. This will lead to the pore becoming inflamed and irritated and then a zit will most likely form. Not what we want.

A key way to avoid this occurring is to incorporate a top class exfoliating routine into your health and beauty regime – especially if you have an excessively oily complexion. If you are unsure about which skin type you have then please click on the image below to better figure this out.

skin types

What’s the Difference Between White- and Blackheads?

A lot of people think that these two types of pimples are the exact same thing. Yes, they are both zits, and yes, they are both incredibly annoying. But, in fact, there are actual differences between the two.

While they are both essentially caused by pores becoming clogged, what happens next is what determines whether this blockage will be a whitehead or a blackhead.

The difference lies in the skin opening, or lack thereof – when the skin is closed and the zit hasn’t erupted through the surface, then this is known as a whitehead.

However, when the problem erupts through the skin, then the issue becomes a blackhead. The name changes because the zit is now exposed to the outside world in which the air causes the eruption to turn black – hence the name.

Common Myths

OK, now that we’ve established what exactly this issue is and why it forms, let’s look at some common myths that are associated with whiteheads. As tends to be the case with mythology, there’s quite a lot that should definitely be taken with a pinch of salt if not outright ignored!

1 – Don't Eat Sweets & Chocolate During an Outbreak

Ok, this one is very much hit and miss. If you have a zit breakout on your face, then having a bar of chocolate or packet of crisps will have absolutely no impact on it whatsoever. The whitehead has already occurred so whatever you ingest henceforth will not matter.

However, in saying this, having a poor diet can indeed lead to breakouts occurring in the first place. If your diet is full of sugary, greasy, processed food, then unfortunately your skin will pay the price. This is inevitable.

On the other hand, it your diet is good and healthy – and if you exercise now and again – then this will greatly diminish your chances of suffering from regular pimples.

When it comes to this particular myth, it’s wise to believe and follow the old adage: “You are what you eat!” 😊

2 – Diet is the Leading Factor in Whiteheads Forming

As stated in the previous section, dietary habits can indeed affect whether or not you are susceptible to this skin affliction.

However, it’s important to note that your diet is by no means a leading factor. 

A lot of people immediately rack their brains about what they’ve eaten recently if a zit appears – thinking that some food or another is the culprit. It doesn’t really work this way.

Factors like pores becoming clogged or hormonal changes are far more likely reasons why a zit might appear. These two culprits cause/are caused by excessive sebum/oil secretion which then leads to your facial pores becoming clogged.

Healthy Diet

As explained before, clogged pores will then result in white- or blackheads forming. The trick to avoiding this is to incorporate a healthy, workable exfoliation routine into your daily life as well as availing of a top quality treatment. Something that will not be time consuming but that will be super effective at cleansing your pores.

3 – Wearing Makeup Will Lead to Pimples

Again, this is a myth that is often associated with breakouts but is one that isn’t necessarily 100% true. As with most myths, there is some truth and some nonsense.

For instance, a poor makeup routine will most definitely lead to breakouts and even acne occurring. Factors such as using bad makeup brands; using cosmetics that aren’t suited to your complexion; or, the most common one, not regularly clearing your face of makeup, could all very well lead to zits.

Why? Because your pores will become blocked by the makeup or your skin will become irritated, depending on which of the above factors is in play. So how do we avoid this occurring?

Simply by being prudent! Do your homework when it comes to buying and applying your makeup. Ensure that the brand your using is of a good quality and that it is suitable to your complexion type. Also, and this is key, get accustomed to removing your makeup every night before you go to bed. Leaving makeup on while you sleep is a sure-fire way to aggravate your skin!

Check out our article on this topic by clicking below:

Addicted to Cosmetics - Reasons Why

4 – The Stronger the Product the Better

This, yep you guessed it, is again both right and wrong. Sometimes strong treatments are indeed needed, but sometimes they will also only make the situation worse.

You see, the stronger a product then the more impact it will have on the skin with regards to drying it out and removing nutrients and the like. While this may indeed be an unavoidable side effect of treating severe acne, sometimes it’s just not needed.

A sole pimple, or a relatively small breakout, will not need such strong products. Instead, a milder solution will be more than proficient at dealing with your problem. It really comes down to the severity of the breakout.

For more on what exact treatments you should be looking at, please check out our guide on this issue: thehealthbase.com/best-acne-treatments/.

5 – The Sun Will Help

This one is just straight up false! Exposure to the sun will have two effects on a whitehead and both are not of a positive nature.

Firstly, the sun will dry up the affected area which is not recommended. It’s advisable to keep a zit or the area of a breakout well moisturized as it goes through the healing stage. The sun will do the opposite of this.

Secondly, and this is one that many people are unaware of, excessive exposure to the sun will cause a natural protein in our skin (collagen) to steadily breakdown. This is very key as collagen is responsible for supplying strength and flexibility to our skin – two things that will be needed if a zit is to be treated effectively and in a quick manner.


Without a steady supply of collage, our bodies will struggle to repair the damage that has occurred. This can even lead to the breakout getting worse or, god forbid, scarring being left behind in the aftermath.

Therefore, if you are venturing out into the sun when perhaps you have pimple on your exposed skin, please take my advice and apply some sun lotion. You can thank me later. 😊

How to get rid of whiteheads?

Zits and pimples are certainly annoying and unpleasant on the eye, but they are also not permanent. They can indeed be treated and also prevented from occurring in the first place.

The majority of preventative methods when it comes to this particular facial ailment revolves around common sense and leading a healthy lifestyle. However, if you're suffering from repetitive or severe breakouts then perhaps you might be in the need of a top treatment.

One such treatment type is the range supplied by the Exposed brand. This company has created a wide ranging product line that caters for all skin types, complexions, and degrees of breakouts or acne. Below you can find a thorough review of this brand, including where the best place is to purchase:

Review of the Exposed product range

Concluding Thoughts

That brings an end to my little piece on whiteheads. I hope that you now understand this facial affliction a little bit better and, more importantly, you feel more confident in both preventing and treating it in the future.

If you’re looking for more related content, then make sure to click on the links I’ve provided throughout this guide. These will bring you to similar articles and reviews that will further shed light on this issue. I’ve also placed these links at the bottom of this page.

To Your Health,



Hey gang! My name is Maggie and I'm a proud contributor to The Health Base. My full time profession is that of an Aromatherapist which I adore - nature and goodness is what I'm all about! Any time that you'd like a good chinwag with me, you can get in touch here. Talk soon! XoXoXo