What causes Blackheads


What Causes Blackheads and Whiteheads?

There are many types of Acne that can affect the skin, but comedomal acne is the most common. Comedomes are small little bumps on the skin that we like to call either whiteheads or blackheads. There are many reasons why you may develop comedones. What causes blackheads in one individual may differ from the next.

Blackheads (open comedomes) appear black because of oxidation of the opening of the hair follicle, and is commonly found on the sides of the nose, forehead and chin.

On the other hand, Whiteheads (closed comedomes) are mostly skin coloured bumps because the opening of the hair follicle is blocked, and is most commonly seen over the cheek and chin area. Whiteheads compared to blackheads have a higher risk of forming inflammatory acne vulgaris.

There also exist microcomedomes, which are invisible to the naked eye, and may explain why your acne appears to be popping out despite treating the visible acne spots. At the other end of the spectrum, macro-comedomes (which are larger whiteheads) and Giant comedomes are occasionally seen.


What causes blackheads and whiteheads?

The main reasons why you would have whiteheads and blackheads are due to the clogged pores and increase sebum (oil) secretion. 

Comedomal acne may be more obvious in times of stress, puberty, menstruation. Certain cosmetic products and dietary factors may contribute to acne formation. 

Skin Care Tips

  • Avoid penetrating oils such as Lanolin and Isopropyl myristate
  • Go Fragrance Free
  • Use Colour Cosmetics with Caution, especially if it contains Mica and Red dye.
  • Go easy on Eye cream because they have a thicker formulation.
  • Wash, Before and After Work Out
  • Avoid Wax and Petroleum containing Lipsticks and balms as they cause acne around the mouth.

What treatments are available for blackheads and whitehead?

Everyone has different skin types (whether oily, dry or a combination of the above), lifestyle, medical history and skin sensitivity. Our clinic will guide you to the best treatment plan that is tailored to your lifestyle and existing skin condition.

Depending on the severity of your acne, and the individual characteristics, we may recommend one or more of the following to get the best outcome.


The signature Hydra Plus+ Facial treatment is a non-invasive, multi-step treatment that uses a unique delivery system to cleanse, exfoliate, extract and oxygenate your skin. It performs multiple effect of clearing away impurities, dead skin cells, blackheads and whiteheads; and infuses essential nutrients, antioxidants and minerals to restore your skin back to health.

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  1. Cunliffe WJ, Holland DB, Jeremy A. Comedone formation: etiology, clinical presentation, and treatment. Clin Dermatol. 2004 Sep-Oct. 22(5):367-74.
  2. Gollnick H, Cunliffe W, Berson D, Dreno B, Finlay A, Leyden JJ, et al. Management of acne: a report from a Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Jul. 49(1 Suppl):S1-37.