About Blackheads and Whiteheads

Blackheads, pimples and whiteheads can affect all skins and all ages and may be caused by a combination of genetics, health and environment. They are commonly seen in teenagers and those who are in their early 20’s, however there are cases where blackheads and whiteheads can affect those in their thirties and forties, especially those with oily skin.

Both blackheads and whiteheads are forms of acne. And like all acne, the problem with blackheads and whiteheads starts deep down the sebaceous or oil glands.

The sebaceous glands secrete oils called sebum, which are stored in the follicle. When the follicle is full, the oil overflows keeping the skin healthy and moisturised.

Blackheads and whiteheads form when the oil gets trapped inside the hair follicle causing bacteria to develop in the follicle and leads to forming comedones.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BLACKHEAD AND A WHITEHEAD?

Blackheads known as open comedones form when:

  • Excess sebum (or oil) production is stimulated;
  • Excess oil, dry skin and debris combine and become trapped in the pore; and
  • The pore becomes plugged and the surface oxidises to a dark brown or black colour giving it the blackhead name.

Whiteheads commonly known as a pimple or closed comedones (which may sometimes be characterised as Grade 1 Acne) form when:

  • Excess sebum (or oil) production is stimulated;
  • Excess oil, dry skin and debris combine and become trapped in the pore;
  • The pore becomes clogged and P. Acnes (Propionibacterium Acnes) bacteria proliferate creating infection; and
  • The lack of exposure to the air does not lead to the oxidation of melanin (like a blackhead), so the clogged matter stays white.

Blackheads and whiteheads are not affected by fatty or sugary diets and are a common condition that can be successfully treated.

Blackheads and Whiteheads

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