What’s The Real Difference Between Blackheads and Whiteheads?

acne around mouth

Understanding your skin can be very confusing, especially if you have a ton of skin problems! How to treat each problem can take a while to figure out. But once you do, and you stick to your treatment plan, it will do wonders for your skin! So if you have been wanting to understand some important skin issues, you’re at the right place!

Two of the most common skin problems have got to be whiteheads and blackheads. They are everywhere! On noses, cheeks and even on foreheads. Many times, people confuse the two and can’t seem to figure out how to get rid of them. In this article, let us look at the difference between blackheads and whiteheads and how they can be treated effectively.

How Are Blackheads and Whiteheads Formed?

You are not entirely wrong for confusing the two. Blackheads and whiteheads are similar as they both come under types of acne! Yes, both of these skin issues are essentially non-inflamed acne, in other words, these two types are uninfected acne.

So how are blackheads formed? And are whiteheads formed in the same way? Well, yes. They are both formed when oil, dead skin cells and dirt are trapped in pores, which leads to clogged pores.

Blackheads vs. Whiteheads: Know The Difference

You must be thinking that if they are formed due to the same reasons then what’s the real difference between blackheads and whiteheads? Here’s what you should know:


Blackheads are also known as open comedones. They are the result of oil, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria clogging open pores. When this material reacts with the open air of the environment, it oxidises and causes the material to turn black. This is the reason why blackheads are more easily visible and simple to remove too.


Whiteheads are formed when excess sebum, dirt and dead skin cells clog pores, causing a bump to appear but a thin layer of skin covers it. This layer of skin prevents the whitehead from reacting to the environment and stops the process of oxidation which is the reason why these comedones are white and not easily spotted by the naked eye. However, if you do run your fingers across your face, you are very likely to feel them on your skin!


  • Open comedones
  • Exposed to the air which oxidises it and turns it black
  • Often easy to spot in dark brown or black colours
  • Accumulated sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria exposed to air and oxidised


  • Closed comedones
  • Trapped by a thin layer of skin
  • A bit harder to spot as they are white or flesh coloured
  • Accumulated sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria trapped within the pore

Tips to Get Rid of Blackheads and Whiteheads

Now that you know that the main difference between these two types of acne is their colour and their position on the skin’s surface, you can assume correctly that their treatment and prevention methods are similar too. There are many ways you can get rid of blackheads and whiteheads however, you should note that there is no permanent fix to this skin issue. So you will have to regularly take initiatives to prevent and treat these two types of non-inflamed acne. Here’s how you can go about it:

  • Use an exfoliating face scrub with natural exfoliants like walnut powder etc at least 2-3 times a week to get rid of dead skin cells, oil and blackheads and whiteheads.
  • You can also you an excellent exfoliating feel like our be bright AHA BHA exfoliating peel which contains the power of mandelic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid to expertly remove dead skin cells, revive dull skin, fight blackheads and whiteheads and lighten dark spots too!
  • You can choose regular oil control facials by makeO skinnsi for optimum care for your skin. This oil control facial can be done smoothly from the comfort of your home while giving your skin the pampering and cleaning it deserves. Doing this facial every 4-6 weeks can get rid of greasy skin, purify pores, clear breakouts and result in happy and acne-free skin!

A few other ways you can maintain your skin are:

  • Wash your face twice a day to keep it oil-free. Use facial wipes when you sweat profusely to keep bacteria away from your pores.
  • Always cover your face in places with excess smoke or pollution to keep your pores clear.
  • Never pop your blackheads and whiteheads, especially with unclean hands. Use steam to open up your pores and then exfoliate your skin to satisfactorily remove pesky whiteheads and blackheads and free your skin!

To conclude, the difference between blackheads and whiteheads is not too stark. Since they are both non-inflamed acne types, they can be treated through exfoliation, peels and facials easily. The key is to ensure that your skin is oil-free, germ-free and dirt-free to keep your skin away from blackheads and whiteheads! If you like to understand your acne issues better and get best quality acne services, then you can book a free consultation with our dermatologists through the makeO website.


Which is better: whiteheads or blackheads?

Both blackheads and whiteheads are pretty similar since they are both formed when excess oil, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria clog pores.

Is it good to remove whiteheads?

You can get rid of some amount of blackheads and whiteheads through exfoliation but the best way to remove them is through a professional extraction in a skin clinic.

Is it okay to squeeze out blackheads?

Just like it is advised to never pop a pimple, you should never squeeze out or poke a blackhead. Use an exfoliator like a face scrub or a peel to get rid of your blackheads safely instead.

How do you remove whiteheads?

Since whiteheads are trapped in the skin, cleanse the area, and use topical ingredients that prevent and fight acne like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, aha and bha etc to safely work on the whiteheads and eliminate them.

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