Whiteheads are small pimples, which are characterised by their white appearance. Simply put, they are a form of acne but are differentiated from the red spots by dermatologists as they often have to be treated in another way.
Spots and pimples are most commonly associated with teenagers but many adults experience worse skin when they are older, usually going into their twenties. This is particularly true for women, as a result of hormonal changes in the body, which continue to take place in the body throughout the adult years.
Whiteheads are also known as closed comedones. The spots are white in colour because the follicles, which are filled with sebum, have only a very tiny opening to the surface of the skin. This ensures that the vital oxidisation process is not possible.
Blackheads have a larger opening, as they form underneath the skin, which means that oxidation is possible. This results in the black colour of the pimple and this is the key difference between the two.
Why do adults get whiteheads?
Many assume that by the time they’ve reached the end of the dreaded teenager years, they will have perfectly clear skin. Unfortunately, most people still suffer from outbreaks during adulthood but why does this happen? And what can you do to help keep your skin radiant and blemish-free?
The main reason you’re still suffering from those pesky spots, when you are an adult, is due to hormones.
Hormonal changes in men and women contribute to increased levels of sebum, which cause outbreaks. In males, overproduction of androgens can contribute to bad skin but this usually only happens during teen years. Imbalances in oestrogen can cause outbreaks in men and women.
What’s more, many doctors will prescribe the contraceptive pill to women in an attempt to control acne if it is causing major problems. Strangely though, one of the possible side effects when taking the pill is also acne!
Using cosmetics and perfumed skincare products can trigger breakouts in some people. If you have sensitive skin or you have oily face skin, using certain products can contribute to whiteheads and acne, so it is important to stick to products that are specially designed for your skin type.
If you have oily skin, you already have a higher risk of developing spots and using oil-based products are likely to make the situation worse. Look out for cosmetics and cleansers that are designed for those with oily or combination skin.
Taking certain types of medication can trigger outbreaks of whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. Corticosteroids (steroids), which are commonly used to treat a range of different illnesses for a short period of time, have been linked to breakouts. Often, when you stop taking the medication, you will find that your skin clears up.
Nobody wants to be lumbered with bad skin in their adult or teenage years. If you feel self-conscious about your skin, this can really affect your confidence and the way you socialise with others and go about your daily life. If you have bad skin, you’re definitely not alone and the good news is that there are treatments and therapies out there can help.
One of the most important things to do is to stick to a good daily skincare regime. Find the right products for your skin type and take care to cleanse your skin to remove excess oil and clear your pores.
It’s a good idea to exfoliate your face once a week to remove dead skin cells and encourage new skin cells to regenerate. Be careful when moisturising if you already have oily skin. Again, look out for products for your specific skin type.
If your skincare regime and your diet are not helping your skin, see a doctor. There are certain types of medication and medication lotions and creams, which are designed to clear up the skin by killing bacteria.