What Are Whiteheads?

Whiteheads are formed when excess oils from your sebaceous glands filter down through the sebaceous follicle and combine with old skin cells to harden under the skin. This forms a plug or "comedo" that blocks your pores. The oil and cells continue to accumulate, filling the pore so it bulges, and this shows up as a white "head" on the surface of the skin. 

The size of a whitehead is dependent on how open the pore has become and how long the whitehead is left to "grow" before a solution to reduce it is applied. Whiteheads can appear anywhere on the face and sometimes on the back and shoulders, too.

Accelerating the disappearance of a whitehead can be straightforward, but must be done in a way that does not cause scarring or increase infection. You should avoid picking or squeezing a whitehead and generally refrain from touching your face too much during the day to prevent bacteria from spreading.


The teenage years: restoring confidence

Whiteheads are perhaps most prevalent during the teenage years, as sebaceous glands are at their most active during puberty. This is attributed to the surge of androgen, a hormone found in males and females during this time. Excess levels of androgens encourage the sebaceous glands to enlarge, and the sebaceous oil, or sebum, has a tendency to over produce.

The impact of whiteheads can include far-reaching psychological implications, in addition to the more immediate concerns surrounding skin health. Whiteheads can be unsightly and, at such a sensitive age, this may cause teenagers to become withdrawn.

Effective treatment is not only important in providing a foundation for healthy skin long-term, but also in reducing any potential angst or stress related to a sufferer's appearance.

Treating whiteheads with Proactiv

Proactiv gets to the source of whiteheads thanks to its deep cleansing formula. The Proactiv Whipped Exfoliator removes dead skin cells, dirt, oil, grime, makeup and other pore-clogging impurities. This process also works well as a blackhead remover.

The Gel Cream Solution with CombiActiv™ then targets the four major causes of blemishes. The Water Gel Hydrator soothes these affected areas, nourishing the skin to leave it feeling supple, smooth, even-toned and bright.

Until the whitehead has dried up, it may be preferable to limit the amount of make-up worn. If foundation, blusher and/or concealer are applied during an outbreak, caution must be taken not to contaminate the products. If the bacteria spreads to the products' pots, it may re-infect the skin on the next application.

Prevent blackheads with routine use of the Proactiv skincare range. This luxurious line of anti-blemish products is designed for all ages and all complexions.