Prone to whiteheads? Then make sure you're washing your face with the right cleanser. According to dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, the best face washes for whiteheads contain the acne-fighting ingredient benzoyl peroxide. "Benzoyl peroxide washes and treatments decrease the inflammation associated with pustules, while salicylic acid washes are better for clogged pores and blackheads," Dr. Skotnicki explains.
A cleanser that contains 10% benzoyl peroxide will be too strong for your face, so look for formulas with a lower concentration, like the three doctor-approved picks below. Dr. Skotnicki also suggests avoiding face washes that contain oils, as they can aggravate inflamed acne. One other tip from the expert: Don’t scrub, rub, or use a facial cleansing brush on your whiteheads, as that will make them worse.
Most over-the-counter washes can be paired with other topical acne-fighting treatments, since they usually contain low enough concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, but if you’re using a prescription-strength acne medication, the expert says it’s best to use a gentle, non-medicated cleanser to avoid irritation, unless otherwise directed by your dermatologist.
If you wish to remove a whitehead, carefully extract the pus by using a tissue and gently pressing on either side of the pustule. “If it doesn't come [out] easily, treat [it] with medication and try again the next day,” says Dr. Skotnicki. “Forcing it could disrupt the pore and damage it, leaving it enlarged.”