The Whitehead Plague
If you have been plagued by whiteheads and skin breakouts, you need to find out if you are using the wrong skin products or not maintaining the right skincare regimen. Find out more on tackling and removing whiteheads.
What are whiteheads?
Whiteheads occur due to sebum, oils and cellular fragments, which combine and become rigid to form unbreakable plugs inside the hair follicle. Whiteheads are closed from the top of the skin by the cellular fragments at the follicle opening. Due to the closed top surface, whiteheads are not exposed to oxygen. Oxidisation does not take place and the whiteheads do not turn brown. They appear light yellow in colour and are also termed as milia. In combination with bacteria, these whiteheads can cause acne and in severe cases lead to cystic acne.
The skin around the eyes and cheeks and areas with fine skin is more prone to whiteheads. Some skins inherently do not do a good job of exfoliating or might secrete excess sebum. Using skin care products that do not suit the user's skin type or using inferior quality skin care products. Continuous exposure to sun can also cause milia. The skin gets thicker and this becomes a stumbling block in exfoliation of the epidermal layer.
How to get rid of whiteheads
* Use a mild soap or face wash and wash your face with warm water at least twice a day.
* Cleansing with gentle exfoliation helps get rid of those unwanted whiteheads, it also prevents fresh whitehead formation.
* Gentle exfoliating scrub used once a week helps remove the surface debris thus preventing whiteheads. Try using oatmeal and curd and scrub your face with this combination, it works wonders on whiteheads.
* Clay mask used once a week also helps.
* Peels containing alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid can be used periodically at home to get rid of whiteheads.
* Use facial products that are oil free. Do not use products that do not suit your skin type and do not touch your skin with bare hands regularly.
* Use oil-free moisturisers. If you let your facial skin get dry, this will lead to more whiteheads instead of reducing them. Thus keep your skin well moisturised.
* Keep your skin clean and do not pinch whiteheads with fingernails.
* If whiteheads persist, consult a dermatologist for professional advice.
How to remove whiteheads
Whiteheads are commonly removed using an extractor. Boil water in a pot and let it to steam. Steam your face in this water for about 6-8 minutes. Cover your head with a towel while you are steaming. Steaming the face allows all the pores to open up. Look into the mirror and place the extractor loop right on the whitehead to be removed and gently press; this will remove the whitehead completely. Apply either a small amount of alcohol or benzoyl peroxide on the treated area. This will keep bacteria away from the open pores.
Many dermatologists opine that it may be better not to use extractors to remove whiteheads. Use of exfoliators can help in dealing with whiteheads. Use of gentle exfoliating scrubs or gentle peels may instead help in removing surplus surface debris on the skin, thereby tackling formation of whiteheads. Washing the face with warm water a couple of times a day might help dislodge the whiteheads. Alternatively you can place a towel dipped in warm water and squeezed dry on the face.
Golden rules for a whitehead free skin
* Drink plenty of water.
* Drink plenty of fresh fruit juice.
* Eat fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance.
* Try a glass of warm water and honey in the morning first thing in the morning to detoxify your skin.
* Don't touch your skin when not required.
* Avoid use of heavy makeup regularly as this can clog the skin pores.
* Use of heavy sunscreens may prevent sloughing of the dead epidermal skill cells.
Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2007