The forehead is part of the infamous T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), which is familiar for the excess production of sebum as compared to other parts of your face.
Other than being part of the T-zone, the hair follicles around the forehead region tend to be bigger than other areas, making it a strategic location for forehead breakouts.
What are whiteheads?
Typically, whiteheads are a form of acne which results from oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria clogging pores. In this case, whiteheads on your forehead are basically forehead acne.
According to studies, In the united states about 80% of the population suffers from some kind of acne especially between the ages of 11 to 30 years.
Whiteheads are sebaceous plugs or closed comedones (the hair follicle is completely plugged) which result from blockage of the skin pores by bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil.
Generally, whiteheads appear white or yellow in color, are firm to the touch, and can’t be removed by popping. In most circumstances, whiteheads don’t get inflamed unless bacteria penetrate the comedone, infecting it and causing it to become a papule or a pustule.
Causes of forehead whiteheads
While the reason behind the development of acne is not entirely comprehended, but factors such as hormonal fluctuations due to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and discontinuation of the use of oral contraceptives are believed to play a big role.
Additionally, studies indicate that an increased production of sebum, the use of certain cosmetic or facial products, high levels of humidity, sweating and clothing (sports gear), pimple popping, and hard scrubbing can contribute to forehead acne.
On the other hand, according to face mapping forehead acne is associated with the digestive system problems (problems breaking down certain foods), liver problems, stress or sleep depravity.
However, recent studies indicate there is no association between acne breakouts and diet, stress or poor hygiene.
How to get rid of whiteheads on forehead or treatment
Treatment for whiteheads on forehead includes a hands-off approach, the use of either over the counter drugs, creams, and prescribed medication.
Hands off approach
Surprisingly, the first step in treating whiteheads is to leave them alone-basically the hands-off approach. Constantly touching your face not only deposits more dirt, bacteria, and oil which lead to clogging of the pores but can also cause irritation.
While in most cases people opt to pick and pop whiteheads, this only exacerbates the problem and may lead to irritation or permanent scarring.
Naturally made remedies are possibly the most affordable and easiest whitehead treatment options available.
However, make sure you’ve carried out sufficient research as some ingredients could potentially be harmful to your skin. Also, it’s advisable to immediately stop using any remedy that irritates your skin.
- Tea tree oil- this is a natural anti-inflammatory with some antimicrobial properties. Therefore, tea tree could help get rid of whiteheads.
The oil can be obtained in form of an extract or as an ingredient in some skin care products such as masks, cleansers and spot treatments.
- Witch hazel: due to its astringent properties and pore opening qualities, witch hazelnut can help get rid of whiteheads.
- Vitamin A: this is a very powerful anti-oxidant which has the potential to minimize redness or swelling as well as promote healthy cell growth.
Vitamin A can easily be obtained in some over-the counter-creams, which is then directly applied to the affected area at least twice a day.
However, use of vitamin A products can cause redness and increase sensitivity to the sun.
Over the counter products
This treatment method involves the use of lotions, soaps, creams or gels that may contain;
- salicylic acid: salicylic acid is an effective measure against whiteheads since it decreases oil production in the skin cells and dries up the surface of the skin, which eliminates dead skin cells that clog up pores.
- benzoyl peroxide: benzoyl peroxide can be used as both spot treatment and full-face treatment. It works by eliminating bacteria, excess oil and reduce inflammation in the affected area.
Look for a product with at least 2% benzoyl peroxide and apply it to the affected area at least once a day, while gradually increase to twice a day once the skin gets used to it.
Wash your hands immediately after applying products with Benzoyl peroxide as it may bleach clothing and hair.
Retinoid creams contain stronger versions of vitamin A, which when used offer anti-aging benefits as well as unclog pores.
For people with sensitive skin, it’s important to try the cream for at least 2-3 nights first then increase to a nightly basis depending on skin toleration.
However, these ingredients are usually associated with side effects such as increased sun sensitivity, irritation, burning or redness of the skin.
Nonetheless, if over-the-counter products fail to work, prescription medication is also available but the type of medication prescribed will depend on the severity and the type of acne.
If the forehead acne is associated with hormones, then oral contraceptive, an antiandrogen medication or corticosteroid may be prescribed. Additionally, if the whiteheads are inflamed or infected then antibiotics may also be recommended.
In extremely severe conditions, Isotretinoin or Accutane may be recommended. this treatment is orally administered and is used to treat all kinds of acne.
However, this treatment is associated with extremely serious side effects which include, possibly making the condition even worse. Additionally, if the medication is taken during pregnancy it may lead to severe birth defects.
As a matter of fact, before Isotretinoin is administered an I PLEDGE agreement from the united states food and drug administrations and is only administered under close medical supervision.
Using isotretinoin takes about 4-5 months and there is no guarantee that the acne will not be recurrent post-treatment and if it comes back its only mild.
Tips to better self-care
- wash your face gently at least twice daily with mild soap and lukewarm water.
- Avoid as much as possible to pop or squeeze the pimples or constantly touching the affected area.
- Be extra careful when shaving.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure that may lead to sunburns or tanning.
- Avoid excessive use of cosmetics and always remember to remove any makeup product before bed.
- Try using oil-free skin products.
- Always go for noncomedogenic, non-pore blocking products.
- Wash your hair on a regular basis and ensure hairspray does not get on your face.
- Use fragrance-free water-based emollient to treat dry skin.