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Finally! The Ultimate Guide To Getting Rid Of Whiteheads For Good

How to get rid of whiteheads
PHOTO: Shutterstock ILLUSTRATION: Cyrille Calderon

Whiteheads are just as annoying as regular zits because they eventually "mature" into fully grown pimples. If you're absolutely determined to get rid of these bumps, read on to find out ~*everything*~ you need to make them go away for good.

What are whiteheads? What makes whiteheads different from blackheads?

Whiteheads, by medical definition, are clogged hair follicles or comedones. The thin layer of skin gives them a white, bumpy appearance because the sebum isn't exposed to oxygen. Blackheads are dark because the trapped oil has been oxidized.

What ingredients should I look for in skincare products that can get rid of whiteheads?

To get the trapped sebum out of your pores, it's important to use a chemical exfoliant like BHA which can penetrate deep into the pores to expunge the buildup. Look for products with salicylic acid, a type of BHA. Since this could be potentially intensive, it's recommended that you start low and slow. Choose a product with a low percentage of BHA, and then use it once a week first to ease your skin into it. Then, gradually increase the frequency of use per week.

Products that can treat whiteheads may also get rid of blackheads and pimples.

What ideal skincare routine should I follow to get rid of whiteheads?

Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ron Michael Dagala says that a simple and consistent skincare routine that includes a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen is enough. It's important to not overdo skincare because too much may even cause more irritation.

  1. Wash with a gentle cleanser.

    BHAs can dry out the skin so it's vital that you stay away from cleansers that will aggravate this. We love using sulfate-free cleansers because these are gentle on the skin while still being tough on dirt. According to this medical study, soap-free cleansers or those with a pH of 5.5 are recommended. (LIST: The Best Sulfate-Free Cleansers To Try If Your Pimples Won't Go Away)

    Happy Skin Hyaluronic Soothing Cleansing Gel

    Happy Skin Hyaluronic Soothing Cleansing Gel, P599, Lazada


  2. Always wear sunscreen.

    In all cases, sunscreen is a must. Protecting your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays will help you maintain the youthful glow of your skin, plus it can prevent dark spots and pigmentation. Chemical exfoliants like AHA BHA make the skin photo-sensitive—meaning the complexion could get irritated or inflamed when exposed to the sun. Never skip sunscreen in your morning skincare routine.

    Biore UV AR Watery Essence for the Face
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    Biore UV AR Watery Essence for the Face, P488, Lazada


  3. Don't over-exfoliate.

    As much as we want to speed up the process of eradicating whiteheads, we must resist using different exfoliating products all at once. (For example: Using multiple products with BHA all at once.) You're good with just one treatment type of product like an exfoliating toner, essence, or serum. Then, supplement with sulfate-free cleansers and basic non-comedogenic moisturizers.

    Oxecure Blackhead Clearing BHA PHA Toner

    Oxecure Blackhead Clearing BHA PHA Toner 150ml, P499, Watsons


  4. Hydrate the skin with an oil-free moisturizer.

    As mentioned above, oil-free or non-comedogenic moisturizers will help. These formulas do not have ingredients that will clog the pores or leave the skin too greasy. A hydrating moisturizer will help restore the oil-moisture balance of the skin, so the oil glands won't overproduce sebum. This gel moisturizer has hyaluronic acid that provides lightweight hydration, plus ceramides to protect the skin barrier.

    Hyaloo Aqua Plus Deep Hydrating Gel

    Hyaloo Aqua Plus Deep Hydrating Gel, P365, Watsons


  5. Combine active ingredients with caution.

    It's okay to mix and layer active ingredients, but just do it with caution. It's highly recommended that you consult with a dermatologist first so he can tailor-fit a routine for your skincare needs and lifestyle.

    Some ingredient combinations to try for healthy, glowing skin

    This essence-toner has salicylic acid and madecassoside to treat and soothe breakouts.

    L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro Essence Toner with Salicylic Acid

    L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Crystal Micro Essence Toner with Salicylic Acid, P799, Lazada


What professional treatments can help get rid of whiteheads?

According to Dr. Kaycee Reyes of Luminisce Clinic, you can try chemical peels, photodynamic light, lasers, and facials to get rid of whiteheads, blackheads, and other types of acne. For persistent acne, Dr. Ron says that a board-certified dermatologist may also prescribe topical and oral medications

The bottom line

Your first range of defense to getting rid of whiteheads and blackheads for good is by consulting with a dermatologist first. A medical professional can recommend the best products and treatments to address your current skin condition. It's also important that you're consistent with your skincare routine and in-clinic treatments.

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