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How to get rid of whiteheads at home


If you have oily skin, you may experience timely visits by whiteheads on your face. Unlike acne, they are hard to conceal with makeup and announce their presence with their protruding white mound and red base.

Whiteheads are one of the most common type of acne that dermatologists treat in a clinic. When sebum, oil or hair follicle get trapped under the skin, they form whiteheads. Clogged pores are the main cause of whiteheads which can happen for reasons like stress, pollution, smoking, hormonal changes or menstruation cycle. Here’s the low down on how to get rid of whiteheads at home.

Facial steam

Steam exposure helps open up clogged pores. You can hold the affected area of your face over a bowl of boiling water. Place a towel over your head to create a steam tent. Alternatively, you can use a facial steamer.

Apple cider vinegar

With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, apple cider vinegar can reduce skin bacteria, which can help prevent whiteheads.

Lemon juice

An acidic astringent, lemon juice can be used in its concentrated form or diluted with equal parts water. Using a cotton pad, apply it to whiteheads and leave it on for 20 minutes. Wash it off thoroughly.

Tea tree oil

A common ingredient in face cleansers is tea tree oil which has antibacterial properties that can help decrease the amount of bacteria that causes whiteheads. Apply it directly to the affected area using a cotton pad or your fingers.


It contains hydrogen peroxide naturally and with low acidic levels, honey is considered to have potent antibacterial capabilities. With its high viscosity, it can create an infection-preventing barrier on the skin. Honey can be used as a mask or a spot treatment. Alternatively, you can apply a mixture of honey and lemon juice on your face as a mask and then rinse it off after 15 minutes.

Inputs by Sonali Devarkar, product formulation scientist, Plum; Dr Hitasha Patil, consultant dermatologist, Kaya Clinic

Everyday tips to avoid getting whiteheads:

Use a salicylic acid-based face cleanser

Wear a sunscreen and moisturiser daily

Use clay masks once a week

Do not pop whiteheads

Avoid facial scrubs

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