The difference between black heads and white heads and how to treat at CURE


Most people have experienced some kind of acne in their lifetime. Approximately 85% of people ages 12-24 have experienced at least minor acne. About 15% of women experience acne well after their mid-20s. 


Blackheads and whiteheads are both types of acne, but they’re different in how they form and their presentation. Thankfully, their treatment is similar. 


Blackheads get their name because they look like small black dots. These are often most noticeable on the nose, back, and shoulders. Blackheads are also known as open comedones. Open comedones are follicles beneath your skin that are very large. These large pores are then clogged with excess sebum that turns a black color once the air hits it. 


Whiteheads are closed comedones. The follicles beneath your skin can become filled with bacteria. Because these follicles aren’t open and therefore don’t come in contact with oxygen, they don’t turn black in color. This type of acne is also most commonly found on the face, shoulders, and back. 


How do blackheads and whiteheads form?

Blackheads and whiteheads can form for a number of reasons. 


These are the most common:

  • Hormonal issues (hence why teenagers and pregnant women may often develop acne the most as they have a plethora of hormones)
  • Overhydrating with moisturizing products or living in humid areas
  • A reaction to skin, hair, body, or make-up products 
  • Smoking (those who smoke are more likely to develop acne)
  • Certain diet choices (those who eat a lot of dairy products, sugar, and fats are more likely to develop acne).


Treatment options for acne

Since both blackheads and whiteheads are acne, they can be treated similarly. 


These are the different options:


Over-the-counter products

Many products, including our own CURE Acne Defense Kit, are helpful in treating blackheads and whiteheads. Most often these products open the pores and allow the bacteria and dirt to be cleansed away.


Most acne products will include benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, both of which have been proven to help remove the sources of acne as well as erasing dead skin cells and oils that may clog your pores. Our Beta Enzyme Cleanser is a great choice for a daily cleanser as well. 


It’s also a great idea to exfoliate your face at least once a week with a product like our MicroDERM Scrub and then applying a Retinol cream or serum like our Tretinol Serum 0.5% to help prevent acne from reoccurring. 


Alternative Medicines

The efficacy of many of these have been unproven, but there is some evidence that some may help. Always discuss alternatives with your doctor before trying them.


Here are some that may be helpful, though many people have reported they may cause more acne instead of heal it.


  • Tea tree oil
  • Alpha hydroxy acid
  • Zinc
  • Green tea extract
  • Aloe vera



Here at CURE, we offer several different types of facials that can help address acne and have been proven to help our patients at all stages in life in their struggles against acne. 


Any facial you get will help cleanse the skin of bacteria, remove oils and dead skin cells that may clog the pores, reduce oil, and clear your pores, whether through manual extraction or vacuum technology (as is the case with our HydraFacials). 


The HydraFacials are the most beneficial to patients struggling with acne. Because it uses vortex technology instead of manual extraction, you’re less likely to deal with inflammation or redness following the facial. The combination of peeling and moisturizing can also help replenish your skin’s nutrients immediately following the procedure and reduce your skin’s production of oil for a longer period of time than after other facials.


Plus HydraFacials are completely customizable, so the serums your doctor uses will be specifically tailored for your skin’s needs and can target acne areas. For the month of March, as well, all Platinum HydraFacials are the same price as the Express HydraFacial. Book yours today!


Our other facials can also do a lot to help clear away your acne and encourage your skin to heal itself. 


Our Detox Facial works to penetrate your pores, dissolve blackheads, and kill bacteria. A Dermaplane Facial also sloughs off dead skin cells and unclog your pores. If you’re struggling with large pores or acne scars, MicroNeedling at our medspa helps your skin to generate new collagen which reduces the size of pores in order to minimize future breakouts—both of whiteheads and blackheads. 

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