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Prevent Acne, Whiteheads, And Blackheads

When you take a look at celebrities, it’s hard not to get envious of their smooth, blemish-free skin. Fortunately for us, we can achieve that too. There’s a lot we can do to avoid skin problems such as acne, whiteheads, and blackheads.

Before we delve into how we can prevent them, let’s first find out what exactly these skin ailments are, what causes them, and some ways to get rid of them.

What’s the Difference Between Acne, Whiteheads, and Blackheads?

Take a cue from Sun Tzu and know your enemy. Before we go about avoiding these skin problems, let’s first learn basic terminology:

Acne is a condition wherein sebum (oil) and dead skin cells clog our skin follicles or pores. It causes inflammation in our skin, leading to those pesky blemishes we hate. We can diagnose acne if they show signs such as papules, pustules, nodules, cysts, or comedones.

Comedones are what blackheads and whiteheads are. Blackheads are comedones that break through the skin. The air oxidizes this, causing it to develop its dark color. As for whiteheads, these stay under the skin.

Infographic on the formation of whiteheads and blackheads

What Factors Influence These Skin Problems?

Certain factors can influence how likely we are to develop these issues:

  • Genetics – Genes are indeed a crucial factor in determining how we look. That includes the color of our eyes, our height, and also our skin condition. Certain people are simply more likely to develop acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. Their pores could be larger, and their skin could produce more oil.
  • Hormones – Think about the common depiction of young teenagers. We often see young teens suffering from acne because these teens are going through puberty, a time when our hormones act up. The same is true for ladies going through their period. Hormonal changes can lead to oil buildup in our body, thus leading to pimples.
  • Stress – We may have discovered the reason why that annoying pimple showed up right before prom night. Stress is also a crucial factor that can make you more likely to get a zit. While scientists aren’t sure how stress affects your acne, there does seem to be a correlation between the two.

How Do I Get Rid of Them?

On the Internet, zit popping videos are widely popular. Something about them that feels so satisfying to watch. However, you shouldn’t do this unless you’re a trained professional. Instead, there are much safer ways for you to get rid of pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads:

Pore Strips

These adhesive strips are usually what most people reach out for when it comes to blackheads. They’re simple: you moisten your nose, stick the strip on, wait a few minutes, and pull out the strip with all goop on it. It is a good and quick solution to your problem—for now. It is often temporary, and they don’t solve the underlying causes of skin issues.


Okay, this sounds odd, but many ladies swear by toothpaste. The minty oral product helps in drying out pimples without the sting. Opt for the classic paste type instead of the gel variant as the latter contains chemicals that can be too harsh for your skin.

Salicylic Acid

Don’t be scared by the word “acid.” Salicylic acid can do a lot for your skin. It’s all a matter of using the right amount. The acid essentially melts away the extra sebum on your face. A two-percent salicylic acid solution is safe for your face while you can use up to three percent on the rest of your body. People often save higher concentrations to treat warts.


If you’re too worried to reach out for a bottle of the previous product, you can use aspirin. The main ingredient of this tablet is salicylic acid. You crush up the aspirin, mix it in with water to make a paste, and then apply it to your acne.

Tea Tree Oil

It may sound a bit counterintuitive, but beauty oils can also be good for treating skin problems.

A small vial of tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is especially useful because of its antibacterial properties. It helps in reducing inflammation, meaning it can help shrink your pimples. It can also dry them out. You can use this as it is on a ball of cotton or you can mix it in with aloe vera gel to use as a face mask.

Vitamin A/Retinoid Creams

If you’re looking for something that packs a punch, you can reach for vitamin A cream or retinoid. Vitamin A is especially powerful in getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads. It does this by exfoliating your skin to decrease the amount of oil on your face. But watch out: vitamin A can make you sensitive to the sun. Make sure you also have your sunblock ready.


In cases where acne gets severe, a doctor may prescribe you antibiotics. The way this works is by getting rid of bad bacteria that cause skin inflammation. If the doctor does put you on antibiotics, make sure to follow their guidelines to the letter. Misuse of antibiotics could cause resistance. It means that they become less effective as time goes on.

How Do I Stop Them From Coming Back?

Now that you know the basics, let’s find out how you can prevent these skin problems from pestering you again:

1) Buy Products that Are Suitable for Your Skin Type

Before anything else, you have to figure out what your skin type is. You can have normal, dry, oily, or combination skin. People with oily and combination skin are more likely to develop blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. However, those who have normal or dry skin aren’t completely safe either.

After you figure out your skin type, find skin care products that are suitable for it. That means those with oily skin shouldn’t reach for heavy cream moisturizers that could end up clogging your pores. Similarly, those with dry skin have to be careful with exfoliating products to avoid further drying out their skin.

2) Cleanse Your Face Twice a Day

That’s it; no more, no less. Washing your face is crucial to maintaining sebum levels in your skin. Not cleansing enough will lead to a buildup of oil and dead skin cells. Washing too often will dry your skin out and cause it to overproduce oil to compensate.

Young smiling woman cleansing face in the shower

Follow a basic routine and again, find the right cleanser for your skin type. To open up your pores, first wash with warm water. Gently wash your face with your cleanser, and then rinse with cold water to close up your pores. Do this once in the morning and another time in the evening before bedtime.

However, if you work out, it’s best to save one of your cleansing sessions for after your trip to the gym. An intense workout means a lot of sweat and dirt. These can clog your pores; thus, it’s crucial to rid yourself of them ASAP.

3) Use Sunscreen

Many of us only think about using sunscreen when we’re at the beach. Just because the scorching sun isn’t directly upon you for hours doesn’t mean you don’t need the SPF. While getting some sunshine is good, UVA and UVB rays can be harmful to your skin in many ways. It can lead to sunburn, premature wrinkles, dark spots, acne, and even skin cancer.

When looking for sunscreen, focus on SPF. The American Academy of Dermatology prescribes products with at least SPF 30 for your daily activities. You’ll need more if you’re planning on staying under the sun for a long time.

4) Exfoliate Your Skin

Cleansing is indeed important, but it isn’t always enough. To get rid of dead skin cells that could clog your pores completely, it’s essential to exfoliate. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this that often. For most skin types, you only need to exfoliate two to three times a week. Those with sensitive skin can do so only once a week. Exfoliating too often will irritate your skin and speed up skin aging.

Again, exfoliation is important in removing dead skin cells and excess oils in your face. Opt for gentle ingredients such as finely ground oats and baking soda. Avoid products that have microbeads as these are often made out of plastic and thus pollute our oceans.

Alternatively, you can make use of your regular cleanser with the addition of a cleansing tool. Options available include silicone cleansing pads, Konjac sponges, and facial brushes.

5) Try a Face Mask

Face masks are very popular today. There’s a whole slew of options on the market: from DIY honey and oatmeal masks to luxury options such as the Lionesse Black Onyx Mask. The way this works is that you let essential ingredients sit on your face to give them time to work its magic. These components can help reduce oil production, clear up pores, and soothe inflamed skin.

We usually use face masks all over the face, but you can also use this as a spot treatment. Simply apply the product right onto the blackheads or whiteheads, wait a few minutes, and then rinse off.

6) Give Your Skin a Day-Off from Makeup

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying makeup. For many of us, it helps in raising our self-confidence, and it’s also a way of expressing our creativity. However, your skin also needs a break once in a while.

As much as possible, schedule at least one day to go makeup-free. Although companies strive to make their makeup skin-friendly, their ingredients can still damage our skin in small ways.

If you absolutely must wear makeup every day, look for non-comedogenic products. These are products that companies specially formulate not to clog up your pores.

7) Change Your Pillowcases and Sheets Regularly

Laundry can be a tiring chore. But it’s either you change your sheets and pillowcases more often or risk developing acne from it.

Loving couple making the bed together

Changing these regularly is a must because oil can build up there. Imagine lying on a mini pool of oil and dirt. Doesn’t sound very appealing now, huh? Dermatologists will recommend that you change your beddings at least once a week.

8) Avoid Touching Your Face Excessively

Your habits could be negatively affecting your complexion. A lot of us mindlessly pick at, touch, or rub our faces which is bad because our hands are likely to have bacteria or dirt on them. We then transfer this onto our face, which in turn—you guessed it—blocks our pores.

Try to be mindful of what you do with your hands; keep them occupied with something else. Also, try your hardest to keep them from your face. Self-awareness and self-restraint are important.

9) Take a Look at Your Diet

No matter what the problem is, preventive measures always seem to involve your diet. Well, there is a reason behind that. It’s true when they say that, “You are what you eat.” If you eat a lot of oily, salty junk food, expect the same to come out of your face.

Similarly, you’re more likely to develop problems such as whiteheads and blackheads if you don’t stay hydrated. Make sure that you get enough water in a day to help cleanse toxins from your body from the inside.

10) Get Enough Sleep

A list of anything related to health isn’t complete without mentioning this. Because many of us live life at a fast pace, we underestimate how sleep is. 

When we’re asleep, our body works overnight to regenerate energy and repair itself. When we don’t get enough rest, we feel tired. From there, we become stressed because we lack the energy to complete our tasks the following day. As mentioned earlier in the article, stress does play a factor in developing skin problems.

For some people, blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples are just small nuances sitting on their skin. For others, it can be a pain point that seriously affects their self-confidence and influences their self-perception.

Managing these issues starts with educating yourself with the condition you’re suffering from. From there, we can learn about their causes, quick and long-lasting treatments, and ways to prevent them.

But in the end, we can only find acceptance within ourselves. Even if your acne issues are hereditary and thus difficult to treat, we are more than just our skin. Find comfort in knowing that beauty from within still stands out more than clear skin.


By Lionesse

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