What are white heads? Causes, prevention, and treatments

White heads are a type of acne that forms when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria become trapped in one of your pores. Whiteheads can be quite irritating, and they seem to develop at the worst of times. The good news is that white heads can be prevented with lifestyle changes and medications. In this article, we’ll be discussing what the causes and treatments are for white heads.

What are whiteheads?

Whiteheads are acne that stays under the skin but produces raised white bumps. These blemishes tend to appear in areas with higher concentrations of sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing sebum, or oil, in the skin. There are many causes of whiteheads, including increased sebum production and shedding of hair follicle cells. Clogged pores form when sebum cannot reach the surface of the skin and gets stuck. Whiteheads appear as more sebum builds up behind clogged pores. Acne usually occurs on the face, back, chest, and sometimes on the neck and shoulders.

Causes of whiteheads

There are many possible causes of whiteheads according to professionals. Here are some of the common causes of whiteheads:

  • Puberty
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy
  • Medications that cause hormonal changes
  • Foods with a high glycemic index
  • Food high in hormones, such as dairy products
  • Oil-based cosmetics
  • Facial massage oil
  • Premenstrual seizures
  • Anxiety and anger, possibly from stress hormones.
  • Contact sports equipment
  • Wearing a backpack, bra, or sportswear constantly
  • Pollution
  • Excessive sweating
  • Acne breakout
  • Scrubbing the acne area too vigorously
  • Lack of personal hygiene


Treatment varies from person to person because everyone’s skin is different. Certain methods and home remedies are better for certain skin types and sensitivities. Individuals should work with a skincare professional to find the best skin type and home remedies for them.

As with any whitehead treatment, it’s important to use good sunscreen before exposing your skin to the sun. Many home remedies for acne can make the skin sensitive to light. Use oil-free sunscreen to help prevent sun damage to your skin. Some general whitehead treatments and home remedies for whiteheads can be a good place to start.

Here are some examples of home remedies:


Raw honey can be a useful tool for dealing with various acne problems. Raw honey has many useful properties, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant products. It may help reduce redness caused by acne and kill and prevent bacteria that breed or cause acne.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a gel-like substance derived from the aloe vera plant. It soothes acne-prone skin, helps eliminate bacteria, and prevents scarring.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Many over-the-counter (OTC) products designed for the face contain tea tree oil because it helps to cleanse and condition the face.

Apple cider vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar is a naturally acidic substance that contains acetic acid and other acids. These types of AHAs can help exfoliate and act as an astringent, helping to dry out excess oil in pores and shrink pores.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice contains an acid that dries out the skin and removes excess oil. Fresh lemon juice also contains antibacterial compounds. These can be important properties for people with oily skin or bacterial whiteheads.