ZocdocAnswersHow long do whiteheads last?

Question

How long do whiteheads last?

How long should a whitehead last? I have had this raised white bump on the side of my nose that I believe is a whitehead for a long time, more than a week. I know how bad it is to pop them so I am not doing that, but it just isn't going away. What should I do?

Answer

Whiteheads are one of the most common questions for which people seek medical advice. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor and your dermatologist Whiteheads are a form of acne that forms when a skin pore becomes clogged and closed off by dead skin debris. This allows the natural skin oils, the bacteria that feed on them, as well was immune cells to build up and created a thick white liquid. The best treatment for whiteheads is to gently remove the skin debris clogging the pores. Your instinct is correct, that squeezing whiteheads is not generally the best as it can lead to inflammation and infection. However, if the whitehead is present for more than a week and still growing, it may require lancing to remove the pressure and allow healing. To prevent further whiteheads, scrubbing the face daily with an exfoliating preparation removes skin debris. Sometimes additional chemical agents, such as benzoyl peroxide, are required to further remove debris . As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular skin concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor or your dermatologist is advised.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.