The Best Way To Get Rid Of That Huge Whitehead On Your Face

Not today, Satan! Here's how to get rid of whiteheads on your face for a clearer, glowier complexion.

Not today, Satan!

By Grace Gold, Women's Health

Bad skin can happen to good people. Especially freaking whiteheads, which are pros at popping up in the most noticeable places on your face, at the WORST times. And these facial party crashers love to bring their friends—so what starts as one blemish turns into a full-blown breakout. What fun!

But just because pimples can happen doesn't mean you have to deal with them forever. We asked two leading dermatologists how to get rid of whiteheads so you can get back to your naturally-glowy self, ASAP.

What To Do At Home

Thankfully, most whiteheads don't require a trip to the dermatologist or a pricey drugstore haul. Dermatologists recommend these three ingredients: salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol.

“Salicylic acid is an example of a beta hydroxy acid, which is better than other acids to unclog pores,” says Chicago dermatologist, Lady Dy, M.D. Unlike other acids (say, glycolic acid), salicylic acid is lipid-soluble, meaning it can dive deep into your pores to attack the sebum (a.k.a. oil!) that can cause breakouts, says Dy. For the most effective results, look for a cleanser with a 2 percent concentration of salicylic acid.

You can also do what is basically an antibacterial treatment. “Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria that can contribute to acne as well as help unclog pores,” says New York City dermatologist, Hadley C. King, M.D. It’s a powerful anti-acne ingredient, usually found in cleansers and leave-on creams. King also suggests using a dab of benzoyl peroxide cream overnight as a spot treatment. But two important FYIs: It can sometimes bleach colored fabrics, so switch to white towels and thoroughly suds your hands after using. Also, it can be drying, so don’t skimp on your moisturizer.

Finally, retinol—and the stronger version known as retinoid—is the top pick of both dermatologists for especially stubborn whiteheads. Retinoids promote cell turnover, preventing skin cells from accumulating and clogging pores, says Dy. The ingredient is special because it has desquamation ability—a science-y word for exfoliating and peeling action, says Dy. King adds that retinoids also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help decrease the discoloration that so many with chronic whiteheads suffer from. While retinoid used to be available only through a prescription, Differin Gel ( is a retinoid that you can now buy on the cheap at the drugstore.

“My recommendation is to cleanse with a salicylic acid wash, use a benzoyl peroxide cream each morning, and then Differin gel at night,” says King. You should kick your whiteheads to the curb in no time.

What NOT To Do

Please. Don’t. Pop. Your. Pimples. Both dermatologists couldn’t stress this enough—despite how tempting it is to give a whitehead a good squeeze. “Popping or picking at them will only increase inflammation, increase the risk for infection and scarring, and prolong the healing process,” says King. You also risk pushing the bacteria around underneath the skin, causing the breakout to spread on your face. Not worth it!

You also don’t want to harshly scrub whiteheads, which can further inflame them. If you’re dying to use an exfoliator, look for one with fine magnesium silica crystals, advises Dy. These type of grains are gentle enough to exfoliate without hurting your skin. Just be sure to massage softly.

When To See A Doctor

If your whiteheads don’t improve after a few weeks of using these ingredients consistently, definitely see a dermatologist for prescription options. Also, if you have a big whitehead that’s inflamed and painful—or if you have a special event coming up, and you really want it gone ASAP—you can see a dermatologist (or their physician’s assistant) for a professional cortisone injection. This quick procedure is usually covered by insurance, and resolves most eruptions within a day or two.

See more at: Women's Health


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Women's Magazine: The Best Way To Get Rid Of That Huge Whitehead On Your Face
The Best Way To Get Rid Of That Huge Whitehead On Your Face
Not today, Satan! Here's how to get rid of whiteheads on your face for a clearer, glowier complexion.
Women's Magazine
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