What always seems to pop up at the very worst time? Uninvited, unwanted guests? You’re close. Uninvited, unwanted whiteheads. Meeting your future in-laws, interviewing for the dream job, speaking at a convention—and there they are.
The medical term for whiteheads is closed comedones. It has a nicer sound, but a whitehead by any other name remains an unsightly blemish caused by dead skin cells, excess oil, environmental debris, and bacteria trapped within a pore.
Fortunately, unlike people who barge into our lives, it’s not difficult to get rid of whiteheads. You have the ingredients in your pantry or as close as your local supermarket.
One reminder: Please refrain from popping whiteheads—it will only lead to more problems. As does popping rude people.
Now that you’ve been warned, here are the best home remedies for whiteheads. Feel free to mix and match!
You know there’s nothing new under the sun, right? Well, oatmeal was used for skin care in Egypt four thousand years ago. It remains an effective skin treatment.
Oatmeal banishes whiteheads by absorbing excess oil, preventing it from clogging the pores; opening up the pores; and drying up blemishes, shrinking them down to nothing. It also washes away toxins and impurities, and its antimicrobial agents kill bacteria.
Oatmeal contains saponins and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9. Saponins have detergent qualities that absorb dirt and debris, and the vitamins are essential to skin cell regeneration.
The gentle, soft grit of oatmeal also makes a gentle scrub for sensitive skin.
Cornstarch is a new kid on the block compared to oatmeal. It wasn’t discovered until the 19th century. It’s made by milling maize seeds into a fine white powder. That powder is highly absorbent and can be used to counteract the oil on the skin that causes whiteheads.
A cornstarch paste can be dabbed directly onto the whiteheads to dry them out. If you mix in vinegar, you’ll exfoliate your skin as well as sop up that oil.
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- SOOTHES SKIN due to the naturally anti-inflammatory and cooling effects of rice. Many studies have shown that...
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If you need any convincing that rice works wonders on the skin, think of the Japanese geishas with the flawless, porcelain skin.
Ground rice powder creates a scrub with a soft texture that opens up clogged pores and removes whiteheads, dead cells, and impurities from the skin. Rice’s amino acids and vitamins nourish the new skin that’s been trapped under those dead cells and restores your skin’s natural glow.
Rice powder enzymes also make for the perfect, gentle yet effective facial cleanser – here's our hands down favorite!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Here’s a natural whitehead treatment you’ve already got in your pantry. Apple Cider Vinegar is made from organic apples that are put through a double fermentation process. Malic acid, an organic compound found in many fruits and vegetables, perseveres through the process. When applied to the skin, malic acid clears the face of whiteheads by removing dead cells, absorbing excess oil, and restoring the proper pH levels to the skin. An out-of-balance pH level results in skin being too oily or two dry.
Malic acid is a powerful antibacterial agent and reduces inflammation and infection as well clearing your face of whiteheads.
A dab of diluted apple cider vinegar left on whiteheads overnight will help reduce their appearance. Please take “diluted” seriously. The cider is so acidic that it would damage your skin if used full strength. Start with a 1:1 mix.
Honey speeds up the overall healing of whiteheads and gives your skin a healthy glow. Raw honey (hasn’t been heat-treated or pasteurized) contains phytonutrient antioxidants and enzymes that help eliminate the bacteria that allows whiteheads to thrive.
It’s also a natural moisturizer thanks to its humectant properties. It may sound illogical to put a moisturizer on oily, whitehead-prone skin, but the skin tends to compensate for lack of oil by producing too much oil. Keeping your face moisturized with honey can assure the oil glands that there is sufficient oil, and the glands will not be working overtime and contributing to whiteheads.
Curious what sort of honey to use? Here’s a guide to the best types of honey for skin care!
Lemon juice is high in vitamin C (ascoric acid) and will dry out whiteheads, seemingly miraculously, and prevent excessive oil secretion. It contains antibacterial properties that reduce the swelling and inflammation that accompany whiteheads.
You can use undiluted lemon juice on your whiteheads. You may feel a burning sensation, but don’t be alarmed. It won’t damage your skin, but instead leaves your skin radiant. If you feel it’s too strong for your sensitive skin, dilute the lemon juice with water or green tea.
Strawberries inhibit the growth of whiteheads and remove excess oil and dead cells from your skin. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and salicylic acid. They are a natural exfoliant due to a high concentration of alpha-hydroxyl acid, which effectively sloughs off dead cells on the outer surface of the skin.
The acidic nature of strawberries removes the excess oil and opens up clogged pores. The salicylic acid clears away dead skin and inhibits the growth of whiteheads. Strawberries make excellent face masks to combat whiteheads as well as nourish and revitalize your skin. Simply blend up some strawberries with yogurt and a bit of oatmeal, rice powder or cornstarch for an instant face mask!
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Fuller’s Earth is a clay mined from volcanic ash left from the Cretaceous Age (when dinosaurs roamed). It has been used for skin care as far back as 1800 BCE. It obtained it name because it was used by textile workers (fullers) to clean wool as part of the finishing process.
There are wildly diverse applications for Fuller’s Earth, such as for decontaminating of military equipment, cleaning marble, and creating special effects in the film industry when “clean dirt” is needed. It most famously was used for the tornado in The Wizard of Oz.
For our purposes here, Fuller’s Earth has a natural absorbent quality and removes excess oil from the skin. It can also unclog skin pores and balance the natural pH level of the skin, making it a great natural way to get rid of whiteheads.
You can dab a little dollop on each whitehead. It’s also used as a homemade face pack that will help prevent whiteheads and limit oil secretion. Find it here!
Eggs whites, like some of our other natural remedies for whiteheads here, have been used for beauty treatments for as far back as recorded history—in Egypt, China, and the Arabian Peninsula.
Egg whites are rich in protein and albumin. Their astringent properties tighten large pores that secrete too much oil and minimize their appearance. The major thing for whitehead sufferers, though, is how egg whites draw out oil and debris trapped with the pores. As they tighten the pores, all that “junk” is brought to the skin’s surface.
Want a potent, natural way to remove whiteheads? Spice it up with cinnamon! Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner barks of the trees belonging to the Cinnamomum plant family that grows throughout southeast Asia. It contains cinnamaldehyde, a property that is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, micro-dermabrasive, and antioxidant.
Cinnamon will deep clean your skin, scrape off the dead cells, encourage skin regeneration, and promote the production of collagen. As it opens up pores and absorbs excess oil, it robs whiteheads of their ability to survive.
Cinnamaldehydek also inhibits the production of an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase, which is a major cause of inflammation process and reduces the swelling that we see as as whiteheads.
Yes, humble, everyday olive oil is one of the best home remedies for removing whiteheads. Why? Olive oil is rich in polyphenols—your body’s antioxidants that detoxify, flush away harmful chemicals, promote healing, and prevent infections. Olive oil exfoliates the skin and unclogs pores.
As with honey, it may be counter-intuitive to put oil on an oily face, but if you wash your face with olive oil, massaging just a little bit into your skin with a circular motion, you will actually see the whiteheads being pushed out of the pores.
You can also do this with any of the other oils that are perfect for oily skin!
It’s difficult to figure just what tomatoes don’t do for the skin. They balance the skin’s pH levels and tighten pores to lessen the chances of bacteria, dirt, oil, and dead cells clogging them, making them a great home treatment for whiteheads.
Tomatoes also contain salicyclic acid which cleanses and exfoliates to remove toxins from the pores. Vitamins A, C, K, E, B1, B2, B3, and B6 help shrink pores and nourish skin. Vitamin C also rejuvenates dull skin and fights off whiteheads before they take root. Natural antiseptic properties dry up whiteheads.
The pulp rubbed on your face at night can be left on while you sleep. You’ll see results very quickly.
Coriander is a herb that is used as a condiment or garnish. Its leaves and fruits have a pleasant aroma and they are used raw and dried in cooking. So what does that mean for the destruction of your whiteheads?
Coriander is an antibacterial, antiseptic, detoxifer, and anti-inflammatory agent for the skin. It has six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, vitamin C), minerals, and vitamins, all of which benefit the skin. The reduction in inflammation increases the functioning of the skin, reduces discomfort, and improves the skin’s appearance. The disinfectant, detoxifying, and antiseptic qualities of coriander are ideal for clearing up skin disorders such as whiteheads.
There are possibly a limitless number of “home spun” ways to get of whiteheads. We’ve shared some of the most effective and popular remedies, so you don’t need to fret when you see the whiteheads coming next time. As for the next time you see the guests arriving, you’ll have to work that out for yourself.