Whiteheads and blackheads

Whiteheads are white bumps on the skin that are collections of oil and skin cells inside pores. Blackheads are pinhead-sized dark spots on the skin that are caused by small plugs in pores.

Whiteheads and blackheads, both symptoms of the skin condition acne, commonly appear on the face and shoulders, but they may also develop on the trunk, arms, legs, and buttocks. They are most common in teenagers but can occur at any age, even in infants.

Treatment for whiteheads and blackheads depends on the severity of the condition. Treatment may include lotions or gels placed on blemishes or sometimes entire areas of skin, such as the chest or back (topical medications). Oral medications, such as antibiotics, may be prescribed.

Last Updated: February 27, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology

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