What Are Whiteheads? 6 Things You Need To Know


You’re probably already aware that whiteheads are one of the most common forms of acne—but do you know what they actually are, and why you get them? Here, the basics on these blemishes, plus one course of action you simply must avoid!

  1. Whiteheads are classified as non-inflammatory acne, meaning there is no redness or swelling associated with them.
  2. Because they’re just one type of acne, what causes whiteheads is the same combination that causes all blemishes: sebum (oil), a pore clogged with sticky dead skin cells, and p. acnes bacteria.
  3. A whitehead looks exactly the way it sounds—whitish in appearance. That’s due to what makes a whitehead a whitehead: a thin layer of skin covering the pore, which keeps the oil and dead skin inside from being exposed to oxygen. (Blackheads lack this thin layer of skin, meaning that the pore’s contents do become exposed to oxygen, in turn oxidizing and turning black.)
  4. Whiteheads are also referred to as open comedones. (Singular: open comedo.)
  5. Whiteheads are most commonly found on the face—but they may also occur on other areas of the body.
  6. Although it’s incredibly tempting to do so, it’s best that you don’t squeeze whiteheads. As is the case with all types of acne, prevention is the best course of action.