- Using an overnight acne treatment can contribute positively to clearer, cleaner skin
- There are a variety of home remedies and natural treatments that may help get rid of whiteheads
- It’s less demanding to try to prevent acne from developing rather than doing damage control once you have a full-blown breakout
- Exfoliating cleansers are an ideal treatment for Whiteheads, as they help unclog the pores to prevent them from occurring
Making whiteheads disappear over the course of a single night may not be feasible, but there are a number of nighttime acne treatments that are capable of loosening clogged pores of dead skin cells, oil, and debris and contributing to clearer, cleaner skin while you sleep.
Daily Skincare Routine
An excellent starting point for removing whiteheads is washing your face twice daily to remove impurities, dead skin cells, and extra oil from the surface of your skin. Warm water and a mild cleanser provide the best results. Using makeup and skincare products that are labeled non-comedogenic, specially designed not to block pores is also recommended.
Treatment Options for Whiteheads
Home and natural remedies, as well as over-the-counter and prescription treatments that can help get rid of whiteheads and control breakouts include the following:
Natural and home remedies
There are a number of nighttime home remedies that can help prevent and remove whiteheads. But before applying any of these treatments on your face, try them on the skin of your arm or leg, first, to ensure that your skin does not react negatively.
- Sea salt. Mix one part sea salt with two parts of warm water. Apply the saltwater directly to the whitehead with a cotton swab. Do not rinse off. The sea salt will both dry out the whitehead and kill bacteria simultaneously.
- Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that remove bacteria from the skin. Moisten a cotton swab with a few drops of tea tree oil and apply it directly to whiteheads as needed.
- Crushed aspirin. Combine a crushed aspirin with water to create a paste. With a cotton ball pat the paste onto whiteheads. The anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin will help reduce the size of the whitehead.
- Lemon juice. Citric acid not only kills bacteria it also tightens the skin. Slice a lemon and gently dab it onto whiteheads.
- Witch hazel. Witch hazel is an astringent that can help clean pores of sebum and dead skin cells. Apply directly to affected areas.
- Green tea. Green tea is also astringent. After steeping a tea bag in some hot water, remove the bag and squeeze out the excess liquid. Dab the whiteheads with the bag.
- Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is acidic, and its astringent qualities help clean the pores. Mix apple cider vinegar with equal parts water and apply directly to whiteheads with a cotton ball.
Over-the-counter nighttime treatments that remove and prevent whiteheads include:
- Benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that cause acne, removes excess oil from the skin and clears away dead skin cells, which can clog pores. Over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide products come in strengths varying from 2.5 to 10 percent.
- Retinol is a vitamin-A derivative. Moderate-strength retinol that contains 0.04% to 0.1% retinol can be applied every third night to the face, but once the skin becomes accustomed to the treatment it can be used every second night
- Salicylic acid prevents pores from becoming clogged. Over-the-counter salicylic acid products are available in strengths from 0.5 to 5 percent. Possible side effects may include stinging and skin irritation.
- Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid remove dead skin cells and reduce inflammation. They also trigger the growth of new, smoother skin.
- Sulfur removes oil and dead skin cells that clog pores. It is often combined with other acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol. Products containing sulfur may cause dry skin.
Prescription medication and whitehead
If over-the-counter products aren’t helping, you may want to speak to a dermatologist about prescription options, including oral and topical Retin-A, a stronger version of retinol. There are also antibacterial medications such as oral and topical antibiotics, as well as prescription salicylic and azelaic acids that kill the bacteria that causes acne.
Although making a whitehead disappear overnight may not be entirely plausible, there are a number of natural, over-the-counter and prescription treatments that can be applied before bed that can clean your pores of oily debris and dead skin cells while you sleep. But try not to overwhelm your skin with too many treatments at the same time as it can potentially irritate your skin.
- Leyden J, Stein-Gold L, Weiss J. Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2017 Sep;7(3):293-304. doi:10.1007/s13555-017-0185-2