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Whiteheads: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2023

What is the treatment?

Whiteheads are also known as Skin Inflammation, Rosacea, Zits.

How is the treatment done?

Blackheads and whiteheads are kinds of sebaceous plugs, or comedones. They are formed of dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria that block the pores in the skin. A blocked pore that stays open is a blackhead, but in a pore that closes up, a closed comedo, or whitehead, will develop.Whiteheads are white or yellowish in color, are firm, and cannot be extracted with squeezing. Normally, a whitehead does not become inflamed. If bacteria enter the comedo, however, it can become infected and turn into an inflamed papule or pustule.Treatment of whiteheads typically includes the use of either over-the-counter (OTC) creams or medications, or medications that are prescribed by a dermatologistOTC medications include gels, lotions, creams, soaps, or pads.

These may contain include benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, or sulfur. These medications can cause unwanted side effects, such as irritation, burning, and redness of the skin.If OTC solutions do not work, prescription medicines are available. The type of medication prescribed will depend on the type and severity of the acne.If the acne is hormonally driven, an oral contraceptive, an antiandrogen medication, or a corticosteroid may be recommended.If there is infection and inflammation, antibiotics may help.The last resort treatment for acne is isotretinoin, or Roaccutane.This is an oral treatment that works on all kinds of acne, including whiteheads, but it can have severe, adverse effects.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If there is infection and inflammation, antibiotics may help.The last resort treatment for acne is isotretinoin, or Roaccutane.This is an oral treatment that works on all kinds of acne, including whiteheads, but it can have severe, adverse effects. These include a potentially severe worsening of the condition at the start of treatment, with painfully dry and cracking skin.If a woman takes this medication while pregnant, it can lead to severe birth defects. A woman cannot use isotretinoin without first signing an iPLEDGE agreement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drug must be used under close medical supervision. Isotretinoin is not a rapid solution. A course of treatment lasts 4 to 5 months, and there is no guarantee that the acne will not return, although many patients find that even if it does come back, it will be less severe.

Decreasing the frequency of breakouts might be as simple as changing your makeup routine. Instead of applying foundation all over your face, spot treat with concealer. This way, you can build up coverage on troublesome acne spots without applying too much makeup on the rest of your skin that may result in breakouts.While whiteheads might be a bit unsightly, they generally don’t present a health concern, but it’s always a good idea to seek treatment and rid your skin of these pesky blemishes in case you have an underlying condition.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Acne can be experienced at every age depending on a variety of factors. While Acne Vulgaris isn’t exclusive to any particular age in life, there are ages and situations in which whiteheads and other acne lesions become more prevalent, usually due to hormonal fluctuations.These can be due to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and stopping the use of oral contraceptives. High production of an oily substance called sebum that protects the skin is also a factor.Other factors that increase the chance of acne include using certain cosmetics and other facial products, clothing, high levels of humidity, and sweating.

Acne can result when clogged pores become infected with the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes that occurs naturally in the skin.However, certain medications, pressure from sports equipment, backpacks or sports uniforms, pollution, pimple popping, and hard scrubbing all appear to worsen acne. Women and girls may find their acne gets worse between 2 and 7 days before the start of menstruation.


Are there any side effects?

Whiteheads are one of the most challenging forms of acne to get rid of, but you don’t have to go at it alone. At-home extraction tools can help you safely remove the pimple on your nose without causing infection or scars. You should never pick at the whitehead with your fingers.If you aren’t comfortable with home extraction, or if you can’t fully get rid of the whitehead, contact your skin care professional. They can help you remove the whitehead with professional-grade extraction tools.It’s also a good idea to make an appointment if the whiteheads spread or keep coming back.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Side effects of acne treatments vary depending on the method you choose and the strength of the medication.For topical acne drugs, the most common side effects are skin dryness and irritation. Fortunately, these symptoms are temporary. They often improve as your body gets used to the medication. If your skin itches, burns, or peels heavily, tell your doctor.The potential side effects for oral medications can be more serious. Antibiotics can give you an upset stomach or make you dizzy and lightheaded.

If you’re also taking birth control pills, use a back-up birth control method. Some antibiotics reduce how well birth control pills protect you from pregnancy.If you’re using birth control pills to manage your acne, be aware that side effects of oral contraceptives include an increased risk of blood clots and high blood pressure.Oral isotretinoin can cause severe side effects, especially if you become pregnant while taking it. Severe birth defects have been reported in babies whose mothers took isotretinoin during pregnancy.The medication can also increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts and affect your cholesterol levels and liver function.

How long does it take to recover?

Wash your face twice a day (no more) with warm water and a mild soap made for people with acne. Gently massage your face with circular motions. Don't scrub. Over washing and scrubbing can cause skin to become irritatedPicking is a major skin sin. It can spread bacteria, cause additional breakouts, and even lead to permanent scarring. So try to keep your hands off! But if you absolutely can't control yourself, here's how to cope with the aftermath: Dab the area with witch hazel to disinfect it, then apply an antibiotic salve, like Neosporin, which will continue to fight bacteria and help the spot heal.

If you wear glasses or sunglasses, make sure you clean them frequently to keep oil from clogging the pores around your eyes and nose.Remove your makeup before you go to sleep. When buying makeup, make sure you choose brands that say "noncomedogenic" or "nonacnegenic" on the label. Throw away old makeup that smells or looks different from when you first bought it.Protect your skin from the sun. It may seem like a tan masks acne, but it's only temporary. A tan may worsen your acne, not improve it. Tanning also causes damage to skin that will eventually lead to wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

It is very important to realize that although results can sometimes begin in as little as 1 week, it often takes 4 to 6 weeks to really see significant improvement. It is important to continue the regimen for at least the full 6 weeks before you decide that the treatment is not working for you.Initially, you should notice the pimples drying up. They can leave red marks behind that can last for months. The red marks are not affected by the acne treatments because they are simply remnants of the acne that was present earlier, rather than active acne.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The cost of laser treatment for acne scars depends on the severity of your acne, skin thickness, affected area and type of laser treatment that you are opting for! Prices for a single session range from as little as 1000 Rs to 30000 Rs.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The only medication that we have that potentially cures acne is some people is Accutane (isotretinoin). Rarely is it 100% resolved. Mostly it is significantly improved. Even people who get excellent results from isotretinoin sometimes have to use a topical retinoid for maintenance. The difference is that after taking Accutane the topical medication works.

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Written ByDr. Ganesh Avhad MD, DNB, FIDP, FILDermatology
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