Understanding Blackheads and Whiteheads: Causes, Differences, and Similarities

Haven’t we all been there at least once in our lifetime or some of us may still be suffering from these skin conditions? Why is that? Why does it keep coming? Or what is the difference between blackheads and whiteheads? Well, relax I’ll answer it all for you.

Have you ever heard of a “Skincare routine”, c’mon, you must have come across that word for sheezy! But, we neglect it and think our aloe vera-enriched face wash and weekly face steam would do. Let me burst the bubble for you, you need to have a skincare routine for skin that is free from skin concerns like blackheads and whiteheads.

Do you have:

  • Small bumps on your face?
  • Nose area filled with blackheads or whiteheads?
  • Tried all the ways to get rid of it?


Well before we go on the solutions, let’s first understand what they are and how they are caused.

What are Blackheads and Whiteheads?


Blackheads also referred to as comedo by dermatologists are simply clogged hair follicles or pores that appear dark on the skin.

When the opening of the hair follicles in our skin gets clogged with dead skin cells or bacteria, it forms blackheads that are evident from the surface of the skin. They appear black due to the discolouration and oxidation caused by the air the skin is exposed to.


It is also caused when the oil is excessively produced by the same hair follicle and clubs with the dead skin cells producing a bump with the skin open.


Whiteheads on the other hand are also called comedo and are in the form of bumps that are closed beneath the skin. They appear white or yellow in colour. These too are formed with the combination of dead skin cells, oil and sebum.

5 Causes of Blackheads

5 Causes of Blackheads

  • Excessive oil production by the glands.
  • Exposure to dirt and dusty air on a regular basis.
  • Some hormonal changes also trigger this skin condition.
  • Over accumulation of dead skin cells in the skin.
  • Excessive oil buildup in the hair follicle.
  • Accumulation of the bacteria Propionibacterium acne on the skin.

5 Causes of Whiteheads

5 Causes of Whiteheads

  • Overproduction of the sebum by the sebaceous glands.
  • The irregular formation of keratin in the skin.
  • Presence of acne-causing bacteria in the skin.
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Exposure to pollution and other impurities.

Differences between Blackheads and Whiteheads

  1. Blackheads can be extracted whereas whiteheads cannot.
  2. Blackheads have to be removed while the whiteheads can fade away with the passage of time.
  3. Blackheads, as the name suggests, are black in colour whereas whiteheads appear white or yellow.

Similarities between Blackheads and Whiteheads

  • They both form due to the accumulation of oil and dead skin cells in the hair follicles.
  • They are not severe skin conditions.
  • With a regular skincare routine, both can be treated.
  • Both can turn into pimples if left untreated.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment and Prevention


Be it blackheads or whiteheads, treatment and prevention for both are somewhat the same and here’s what you can follow:

  • Wash your face regularly.
  • Develop a proper skincare regime and follow it religiously.
  • Know your skin type and buy the products accordingly.
  • Use exfoliators that cleanse the skin and reduce oil buildup.
  • Use gel-based products and avoid creamy or thicker consistency-based products.
  • Do a skincare ritual both in the morning and at night.


Now that you know what causes blackheads and whiteheads, you should heave a sigh of relief that it is not much of a severe skin condition but yes, if it occurs more than usual and have it all over your face, you can consult a healthcare professional. Normalising and incorporating a skincare routine can help you achieve your flawless skin goals and also avoid such skin conditions.Check out this website CosIQ and find your blackheads & whiteheads skincare products. All the products are scientifically researched and proven to deliver the desired and amazing results.

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