To get rid of whiteheads, it may first be useful to know how we get the pasty devils. Our skin is made up of many pores that secrete natural oil (sebum) and sweat. Sometimes the oil and dead skin end up clogging the pores. When this happens, you’re either going to get a blackhead or a whitehead. A blackhead is formed when a clogged pore is exposed to air, and the gunk inside gets oxidized. When there is still a thin layer of skin over the clogged pore, it fills up with bacteria and pus — thus a whitehead was born.

Best Methods to Get Rid of Whiteheads

Be patient

Just like a jedi, you should practice patience while waiting for the right time to get rid of whiteheads. If you attempt to pop them too soon, you will most likely smash the mix of bacteria, oil, pus, and dead skin down further into the pore, which can lead to infection and even scarring. Scarring leads to the dark side. So be patient.

Gather supplies

Get all the stuff you’ll need. You’ll need a needle, a rag, some q-tips, hot water, and some rubbing alcohol. A bandage, especially for a big’un, might be necessary too.

Wash your hands and face

Now it’s time to wash your hands and face with hot water and mild, noncomedogenic soap. It is important that your hands and the area around the whitehead are clean, so it won’t become infected. After you are clean, wet the rag in hot water (if it isn’t already) and gently press it against your whitehead for a few minutes. This will open up your pores, and sometimes this is enough to get rid of the whitehead. If it breaks, gently wipe up the ooze and skip to sterilizing the skin.

Sterilize your needle

Sterilize your needle and use it to pop the whitehead. Keep in mind that this should be done gently, your whitehead isn’t an extra on Game of Thrones. Once you’ve stabbed it, use your cotton swabs to squeeze until you get blood or clear liquid (basically after the pus is out). You’ve gotten rid of the whitehead.

Clean the area

Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean the former whitehead.This is two fold protection: firstly, it disinfects the wound and secondly it cleans the oils from your fingers off the area. If necessary, put on the ol’ band-aid. That’ll keep the area clean in case of more drainage.

If You Don't Like That...

Benzoyl peroxide is the main ingredient in many products for acne, such as Clearasil and Proactiv. Benzoyl peroxide prevents pores from clogging by ridding them of dead skin cells and debris. It can also help to eliminate the treacherous bacterium that causes outbreaks. Benzoyl peroxide isn’t just used once you get an outbreak; it’s a daily cleanser to prevent the appearance of whiteheads. It’s kind of spendy, though…which is why celebrities use it. To add to the expense, benzoyl peroxide can lead to dry, flaky skin for some, so you may have to buy some oil-free lotion as well. I would go with a generic brand — it’s all made from pretty much the same stuff.

If you have more than just a few whiteheads to get rid of, you’ll need to see a doctor or dermatologist.It may be a medical condition like Cystic Acne, and doctors will know how best to handle that.

Lifestyle Changes

Oppressed by acne, you may be tempted to scrub your face fifteen times a day with a rasp, but obsessive washing can actually irritate the skin further. Try to wash with a gentle, noncomedogenic (won’t clog pores) soap no more than twice a day, but also shower or wipe off sweat after exercising. Do not use heavy makeup or foundation, as this will seal your pores like a tomb and cause whiteheads to pop up like gravestones. In fact, look to use water-based, noncomedogenic goods — including makeup, sunscreen, and hair products. Avoid wearing tight-fitting hats or clothing, as these tend to clog pores. If you must don the hat, make sure to wash it regularly to rid it of your body’s oils. People always say to avoid greasy food and chocolate, but there really isn’t any evidence to support this. If you find that certain foods seem to cause outbreaks, well . . . don’t eat them. Everyone reacts differently to food.

How to Get Rid of Whiteheads with Alternative Medicine

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a very popular home remedy for treating whiteheads, and one we’ve championed on our other pages dealing with acne issues. We recommend ArtNaturals Tea Tree Oil from Amazon.

Break Out

Break Out is made from — among many herbal ingredients — tea tree oil and witch hazel. I mention witch hazel simply because the name smacks of black magic. I had to look it up, and evidently it is an herbal antiseptic, which means it will help the Tea Tree Oil with germs and bacteria, which well then help you get rid of whiteheads. Amazon sells Kiss My Face Break Out cleanser.


Zinc been used as a home remedy for whiteheads. It isn’t as effective as tea tree oil or anything a physician could prescribe, so it should only be considered an option for those with very mild acne. If you go this route after checking with a doctor, you can order Zinc capsules online.

Visit our Facebook Page to discuss this article!

About the Author

Julianne Ragland

Julianne Ragland