Alison's Blog

Black Skin Teacher


Preventing & treating Whiteheads & Blackheads


Those suffering from whiteheads and blackheads are mostly placed on medications like Accutane, Adapalene, Salicylic acid (read on how to apply salicylic acid below) and other antibiotics by skin care professionals. But why go through all that if you can prevent them instead. It is true that whiteheads and blackheads can come as a result of normal body changes like puberty, menstruation, menopause but other causes can be prevented; for as we know, prevention is better than cure.

The following can be done to prevent them;

  • Seek advice from a skincare professional.
  • Steaming the skin is a great way to keep pores open. To steam face, heat about 3 litres of water to a desirable temperature, place in a bowl and put your head over the bowl so that steam from hot water goes up to your face. Do this for about 10 minutes daily and wash gently after. Avoid very hot water as steam may damage your skin and cause dryness.
  • Drink lots of water to remain hydrated. This helps to reduce the production of too much oil matter (sebum) on skin outer surface.
  • Exercise more so as to keep pores open.
  • Avoid sleeping with makeup.
  • Avoid greasy cosmetics and scrubbing hard.
  • Avoid touching face at all times because of bacteria on the palms and fingers. This bacteria grows and feeds on the excess sebum on the hair follicles leading to spreading.



  • Do not pick whiteheads or blackheads with fingers.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Wash face twice a day with good but not harsh medicated soaps. This is to remove dirt, oil, sweat and bacteria from face keeping pores open.
  • You can also use a gentle cleanser morning and evening to remove sebum and dead skin cells.



Salicylic acid also available OTC (over the counter, meaning it can be sold to consumers without a prescription from medical personnel). It comes in forms of creams, lotions and gels that is as an ingredient in them.

Salicylic acid helps in the skin’s natural exfoliation which means it removes dead skin cells from the outer skin layer. By doing this, it reduces excess oil and keeps the pores open.


  • Note that applying MORE salicylic acid than you need won’t make the whiteheads or blackheads go any faster and can lead to serious skin dryness.
  • Visible results may be seen after about 2 to 3 weeks in some people so be PATIENT.
  • For BEGINNERS, wash face, dry and apply salicylic acid just on affected areas once a day preferably in the evening and wash after about 45minutes. This is to monitor its reaction to skin, side effects and sensitivity.


  • If skin is not sensitive then use treatment twice a day and on entire face when skin is use to the treatment. Avoid sensitive areas (Eyes, Mouth, and Nostrils).
  • Salicylic acid works by drying out excess oils (sebum) in your pores. However, it could remove too much oil, making face unusually dry.
  • If you get dryness, you can reduce the amount of salicylic acid applied and use a face moisturizer after washing treatment off.
  • Do not stop treatment immediately after whiteheads and blackheads have disappeared. Use regularly in smaller amounts to prevent future comedones from forming.
  • Avoid using salicylic acid alongside Benzoyl peroxide.
  • Visit the Doctor in case of severe allergies.



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