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These Tips and Tricks Will Help You Banish Whiteheads for Good

Picture this: you finally have a date with that special someone you've been crushing on for months. You've picked out the perfect outfit. Your hair’s just right. But just as you start doing your makeup, you notice a small white dot on your cheek.

It's a whitehead, and it’s crushing your confidence and ruining your mood faster than you can say "zit cream." 

Lucky for you, whiteheads no longer have to spoil an epic evening. We’ve got a few tips to help you learn how to get rid of whiteheads fast. 

September 20, 2022
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What are whiteheads?

Whiteheads are bumps that appear on your skin when dead skin cells, sebum, and dirt clog your pores. They usually look like tiny white bumps (hence the name "whitehead"). 

People get whiteheads for many reasons, including hormonal changes, stress, dirt and sweat trapped under the skin, or genetics. Whiteheads are a fairly common skin condition that affects countless teens and 10-20% of adults.

If left alone, whiteheads usually disappear on their own. However, this can take up to seven days — and when you have a hot date or important event on the calendar, you don't have that kind of time. Thankfully, there are several methods worth trying to learn how to treat whiteheads.

Should I pop a whitehead?

Popping is a common whitehead removal method, but that doesn't mean it's the best. It depends on how the whitehead looks. 

Remember, not all bumps on your face are created equal. A red, inflamed whitehead might be rooted deep under the skin, and popping it might cause infection or even encourage the acne to spread. A colorless bump on your face might be milia, which can result in scarring if popped.

So, when should you pop a whitehead? If the whitehead is superficial (close to the skin's surface), it's probably safe to pop it and move on with your day. Just make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after and use proper tools (like a comedone extractor) to protect your skin — or better yet, have a professional handle it.

How to get rid of whiteheads

If popping’s not an option and you don't have seven days to wait, some products help eliminate those pesky whiteheads. Here are a few of our favorites.


Retinoids are a class of vitamin A compounds that help improve uneven skin tone and texture. You’ll find many skincare products with retinoids over the counter, but you can also get a prescription for them (and usually stronger concentrations) from your dermatologist. With regular use, a retinoid cleanser will unclog your pores and banish whiteheads. 

While many people see significant improvement in their skin with retinoids, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that retinoids are unsuitable for people with dry skin or certain allergies. Retinoids can be very stripping, drying, and sensitizing. Keep this in mind, and be prepared to use a little extra moisturizer if you try retinoids to remove whiteheads.

Acne treatments

Whiteheads are a form of acne, so it makes sense that many acne treatments help remove them. Adding a high-quality acne product (we recommend Kate Somerville's EradiKate Acne Treatment) into your skincare routine is a great way to keep your pores clean and whitehead free.

Remember, many acne treatments contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which might be too harsh for some people's skin. It’s essential to consider your skin type and check the ingredients before picking up a new skincare product. Always introduce new products to your routine slowly. 

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps reduce the look of whiteheads. Apply a little oil to a whitehead as a topical treatment (or use a cleanser that already contains tea tree oil), and you might notice that your whiteheads seem to disappear! This simple trick will make everyone think you learned how to get rid of whiteheads overnight.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera also helps with inflammation and contains antibacterial properties that reduce acne-causing bacteria. There are many ways to use aloe vera for whiteheads — we recommend applying it as a cleanser, gel, or face mask. 


Honey is a popular DIY remedy for whiteheads and other forms of acne. A thin layer of honey over your whitehead helps dry it out and balances the bacteria on your skin. Honey is particularly great for people with oily skin as it reduces excess oil production.  

How can I prevent whiteheads?

While it’s nice knowing there are methods for treating a whitehead outbreak, the best way to deal with whiteheads is to prevent them altogether. Here are some tips to keep your skin whitehead free. 

Wash your face and remove your makeup every night

Throughout the day, your face encounters dirt, sweat, makeup, and much more, all of which contribute to clogged pores and pimples. Wash your face every night with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water (not too hot — that can irritate your skin and make whiteheads worse) to keep your pores nice and clear.



Exfoliating your face once or twice a week will remove dead skin cells that could get stuck in your pores and cause whiteheads. Find a face scrub that works with your skin type, and remember not to scrub too hard.

Wash your hair regularly

Sebum from your scalp creates build-up on your hair that rubs off onto your skin. The best way to avoid this is to keep your hair out of your face and wash it regularly (every two or three days on average). Use high-quality hair products to keep those tresses healthy, too. 

Change your diet

They say, "you are what you eat," and your diet can certainly change the look of your skin. If possible, avoid a diet high in sugar, fried food, and dairy, and prioritize protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Before long, you'll have less oily — and more glowy — skin. 

Keep your stuff clean

If something touches your face — like your phone, pillowcase, or makeup brushes — keep it as clean as possible. This will limit the amount of dirt and bacteria on your skin and help eliminate acne. Clean your things regularly, throw away makeup when it expires, and avoid sharing brushes as much as possible.

Avoid oily makeup

If you have oily skin, oil-based makeup may cause whitehead outbreaks. Look for water-based products (we have several foundations you'll love) or products with natural ingredients to prevent excess oil from clogging your pores.

Find the right product for you

Whiteheads are annoying, inconvenient, and stressful. But if you have the right products, a gentle hand, and a dermatologist's number handy (just in case), you already know how to get rid of whiteheads and are on the road to gorgeous, clear skin. As you start this journey, check out product reviews on Flip. You’re guaranteed to find the perfect solution to help combat your next whitehead breakout.

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