ZocdocAnswersDo blackheads disappear faster than whiteheads?

Question

Do blackheads disappear faster than whiteheads?

Should I expect a blackhead to disappear or clear up faster than a whitehead? I don't always know exactly what's going on with my skin, but things that I thought were blackheads seem to take forever to resolve. Is squeezing them actually a bad idea? It seems to speed the healing process.

Answer

Acne is a very common medical problem and many of us have questions about how best to deal with it. Blackheads and whiteheads are both different types of acne. Blackheads form when skin pores are clogged open with dead skin and other debris. Whiteheads, on the other hand, result when pores close off and skin oils and bacteria build up behind the blockage. Because whiteheads are more inflammatory than blackheads, they do tend to resolve more quickly (once they rupture, they heal up). Blackheads, because there is no rupturing process, tend to hang around for longer. It is never a good idea to squeeze blackheads. This can result in both skin infection and also trauma to the skin that can result in permanent scarring. Instead, a series of skin treatments can be helpful. First, using a good cleansing soap daily followed by an exfoliating treatment will keep the skin clean and free of the debris that causes new blackheads. You can follow this up with with the use of a comedonolytic, or debris removing chemical. Popular over the counter comedonolytics contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If these steps do not work, then it is time to talk to your primary care doctor or dermatologist to consider stronger treatment options.

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

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