blackhead removal singapore
Multiple blackheads on cheeks

Blackheads and Whiteheads

Treating comedomal acne can reduce the risk of inflammation and acne scarring.

Topical therapies are the mainstay for blackheads and whiteheads, they can be used as initial acne treatment or maintenance.

What Are 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.

Microcomedomes, which are invisible to the naked eye, are the precursor to visible comedomal acne. There are now effective treatments to arrest the formation and the progression of these microcomedomes. At the other end of the spectrum, macro-comedomes (which are larger whiteheads) and giant comedomes are occasionally seen.


HOW DR.NG TREATS blackheads and whiteheads

As a clinician with more than 15 years of experience, Dr Ng. understands the impact of how acne can affect an individual. Acne knows no boundaries, afflicting a wide range of age groups and affecting both genders for varying lengths of time. Dr. Ng provides a patient-centric approach that is backed by the latest scientific evidence as well as his own wealth of experience to create a care plan for the best acne treatment that is unique to your skin type. Early intervention can help prevent acne scars, restore your skin and confidence.

types of acne pimples

what causes Blackheads & Whiteheads?

The main reasons why you would have whiteheads and blackheads are due to the clogged pores and increase sebum (oil) secretion. This creates an ideal micro-environment for inflammation and infection by the C.acnes bacteria to take place. 

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:

  • Use a gentle non-alkaline facial cleaner
  • Oil free skin care products
  • Non-comedogenic skin care products
  • Powder-based foundation (to soak up excess oil)
  • Sunscreen that contains Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide to lessen risk of skin irritation.
  • Remove make up at the end of the day.
different acne lesions blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, acne scars
Various acne lesions and scarring on the skin is common in advanced acne vulgaris.

Can you get other types of acne besides blackheads and whiteheads?

  1. Papules: These are small, raised bumps that may be red and tender to the touch. They occur when the walls around your pores break down from severe inflammation.

  2. Pustules: Pustules are similar to papules but contain pus at their tips. They are often red at the base with a yellow or white center.

  3. Nodules: Nodules are large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin. They develop when clogged, swollen pores endure further irritation and grow larger.

  4. Cysts: Cysts are painful, pus-filled lesions that can cause scarring. They are deep within the skin and often require medical treatment.

  5. Scars – Atrophic acne scars are the most common, but you can also get keloid scars, red marks (post-inflammatory erythema) and dark spots (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).

comedomal Acne Treatments

Topical retinoids are vitamin A derivatives and serve as the cornerstone of acne treatment since they are comedolytic and anti-inflammatory, improve hyperpigmentation, and enable maintenance of acne clearance. There are 4 types of retinoids:

  • Tretinoin (1st generation)
  • Adapalene and Tazarotene (3rd generation)
  • Trifarotene (4th generation, more targeted and less skin irritation)

While they can cause initial worsening of acne, skin dryness, redness, itchiness and peeling, these side effects can be overcome with the use of a moisturizer and a gradual approach of application.

BP is an common over-the-counter topical antibacterial agent that releases free oxygen radicals and is mildly comedolytic. It can cause skin irritation to those with sensitive skin and can stain clothing. We usually recommend starting a low strength e.g. 2.5% benzoyl peroxide when applying for the first time.

Azelaic acid is a topical comedolytic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory agent, which may be particularly helpful for patients with sensitive skin or darker skin types due to its lightening effect on hyperpigmentation. It reduces the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and is generally well-tolerated.

The hydrodermabrasion 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 infusing essential nutrients  to restore your skin back to health.

ADVATx laser is clinically effective to target the inflammatory component of active acne vulgaris and improve the appearance of acne scars simultaneously. The 589nm laser targets inflammation, redness and post-acne erythema, while the 1319nm laser targets the sebaceous gland to reduce oil production and remodels the dermis to resurface acne scars. 

The Carbon Peel Laser is delivered using laser energy to improve pore size and acne vulgaris breakouts. This form of acne treatment is 100% drug free and utilizes laser energy to reduced inflammation, pore size, sebum production and stimulates collagen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blackheads and Whiteheads?

Typically, they are not painful on their own, but they can become inflamed and tender if bacteria infect the clogged pore, leading to acne breakouts.

Regularly cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil and dead skin cells, avoid using harsh skincare products that strip the skin of its natural oils, and use non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) skincare and makeup products. Regular use of topical retinoids are clinically proven to treat and maintain your skin from comedomes and inflammatory acne papules and pustules.

It’s generally not recommended to squeeze or pop them yourself, as this can lead to inflammation, scarring, and the spread of bacteria. Instead, consider using gentle exfoliation and topical treatments to help clear them.

Some people find that natural remedies like tea tree oil, witch hazel, or clay masks can help reduce the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads, but their effectiveness varies from person to person.

While more research is needed, some studies suggest that certain dietary factors, such as consuming high-glycemic foods or dairy products, may contribute to acne breakouts in some individuals. Maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated is generally beneficial for overall skin health.

If over-the-counter treatments are not effective, or if you experience severe or persistent acne breakouts, it’s advisable to consult a doctor for personalized treatment recommendations and management.

Dr Moses Ng dermatologist

blackheads and whiteheads | comedomal acne

Our goal is to achieve and maintain clear, healthy skin for our patients. By addressing both the symptoms and underlying causes of blackheads and whiteheads, we strive to enhance our patients’ skin health and overall well-being. Our holistic approach combines medical expertise, advanced treatments, and personalized care plans to deliver optimal results.

schedule a consultation for blackhead and whitehead treatment in singapore

We treat a range of acne and acne scars at both our clinics in Woodlands and Kovan. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, so that Dr. Ng can develop a personalized treatment approach for resolving your skin concerns and helping you to achieve long-term improvements in the health and appearance of your skin.

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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.
  3. Reynolds RV, Yeung H, Cheng CE, Cook-Bolden F, Desai SR, Druby KM, Freeman EE, Keri JE, Gold LF, Tan JK, Tollefson MM. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2024 Jan 30.