The Difference Between Blackheads and Whiteheads

The Difference Between Blackheads and WhiteheadsWhen people refer to different types of acne, it usually comes down to blackheads or whiteheads. While they are sometimes seen as something different, they do possess similar characteristics. They both happen as a result of excess sebum (skin oil) which clogs the pores. The usual cause for this is an overproduction of sebum on the skin. The sebaceous glands release too much of the skin’s natural moisturizer and the pores get clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. If not care for, those pores become more congested and can subsequently become infected by bacteria, which leads to inflammation of the area. The result of this is reddish, pus filled bumps called pustules. Blackheads and whiteheads, on the other hand, are what are medically known as comedones. Every type of acne starts from these comedones, including types that consist of cysts or bumps. Comedonal acne is the term used when the acne itself is not inflammatory, meaning there are less visible bumps, and consists of blackheads and whiteheads.

 

Blackheads are typically assumed to be pores filled with dirt but this is not actually the case. While the pores are full of sebum, dead skin cells and even keratin, a major component in what makes up your skin, it is actually the exposure to oxygen that gives blackheads their colour. Blackheads are open comedones, which means that the pores they come out of have a wider opening than normal. This is what allows it to oxidize and change colour.

 

A whitehead is similar, but is referred to as a closed comedone. In this situation, the pore is still clogged but the opening is too small for the oxidization to take place. As a result, they are somewhat whitish. This type of acne tends to be harder to get rid of. You may need to refer to a dermatologist for expert advice in clearing up this condition.

 

Treating comedonal acne, like any acne, requires consistent effort. Be sure to wash areas prone to acne no more than twice a day. Use make up products that are oil free and remember to remove make up from your face before bed every night. Sweat and oil on your skin is what leads to both whiteheads and blackheads so be sure to clean those off as well.