Difference between Blackheads & Whiteheads


Blackheads and whiteheads impact millions of people around the world today. There are several products that have come onto the market to address this problem but how well do they work? They might seem similar but there are some important differences between blackheads and whiteheads.

What are blackheads and whiteheads?

The biggest difference between a blackhead and a whitehead is that a whitehead is a closed comedone and blackhead is an open comedone.

The open comedone is exposed to air or oxygen and that is what turns it black. The white comedone has a membrane over it and so the material isn't exposed to oxygen, and you do not get the same colour.




Open comedone


Closed comedone

Occur when pores become clogged with a surplus of natural oils from the skin


Also occur due to excess sebum or skin cells

Dark in colour


White or yellow in colour

Can be addressed with regular use of an effective wash or treatment


Can also be addressed with an appropriate skincare routine

Do blackhead extractors really work?

Research has suggested that comedones might be able to be successfully treated using a blackhead extractor. However, it is extremely easy and even likely to accidentally harm your skin if you don’t know how to properly use an extractor or if you’re using a poor-quality tool.

Can you safely use an extractor on Blackheads?

There is a high risk of irritating or even scarring your skin if you try to remove blackheads at home if you don’t know what you’re doing. While some experts may know how to properly use extractor tools, it is recommended that the average person avoid picking at their skin and instead use the right products to help address the root cause of the issue.

What is the best blackhead remover tool?

There are different types of extractor tools to deal with blackheads. The most popular options you find are those like spoon extractors, lancet extractors, small loop, eye loop, flat loop, and angle loop. Each tool serves a different purpose when it comes to removing blackheads or whiteheads.

How to select the right extracting tool for blackheads:

The key to choosing the right extraction tool is considering the size of the blackheads you are dealing with and what approach you might like to take for cleaning.

  1. Remove closed comedones with great precision - Angle Loop Extractor
  2. Address whiteheads and blackheads that are small - Small Loop Extractor
  3. Deal with blackheads while minimizing skin damage - Flat Loop Extractor
  4. Pop And Clean with Precision - Lancet Extractor

If you want to start using a blackhead remover tool, make sure you’re using the right one and that you’re using it the right way. Always be gentle with your skin to prevent irritation or scarring.

Do blackhead pore vacuums work?

Pore vacuums are a gentler method, so they can be a safer option for many people. Blackhead pore vacuums can help remove some blackheads, but they aren’t a cure-all for every blackhead or whitehead.

Blackhead poor vacuums are going to be able to remove some dirt from the face that could have clogged the pores. The vacuums can be used in an overall cleaning method to address blackheads and whiteheads. They can clean your face and pores, but they might not provide a completely transformative experience.

How do you draw out a deep blackhead?

One of the most effective ways at drawing out deep blackheads is by gently heating the skin. You can place a warm cloth over the blackhead to draw it out before addressing it with a blackhead tool. You can also warm up the skin before using skincare that targets blackheads and whiteheads for a more effective skincare routine.(Engelman, 2019)*

Is bleeding after extraction normal? How to best take care of it?

When trying to remove blackheads, you should avoid pushing so hard as to cause bleeding. The last thing you want is to cause damage to your skin, so always be gentle. If you do notice bleeding, it’s possible that you might have caused a blood vessel to burst while cleaning your blackheads. Gently clean and disinfect the area to prevent infection, and let the skin recover on its own.

Trying to physically extract your blackheads always comes with the risk of potentially irritating or harming the skin. A safer method may be using in the form of a face wash or gel that targets your blackheads or whiteheads.

Whiteheads And Dealing with Them

Whiteheads and blackheads are both acne comedones, but they differ in their structure. Whiteheads are not exposed to the air or oxygen, and so they don't have the same colouring that blackheads do on them. A whitehead is a closed comedone while a blackhead is an open comedone.

How do whiteheads occur?

Whiteheads occur when there is a follicle gland that is inflamed. The inflammation could be a result of increased oil material or sebum or abnormal formation of keratin.

To prevent whiteheads, you can regularly clean your face with specialised skincare that helps your skin look its best.

What are the over-the-counter products for whiteheads?

Over-the-counter products for whiteheads will most often feature ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, other chemical exfoliants and retinoids.

The Benzac treatment gels and wash products feature Benzoyl peroxide and are specially designed to help manage acne-prone skin.

The difference between whiteheads and pimples

Whiteheads are clogged pores, and they have closed comedones. Whiteheads are a form of acne called comedonal acne. While pimples are a form of acne vulgaris. The two can appear independently or go hand-in-hand. The Benzac Treatment Range of Products is designed to help you deal with all types of acne.

As with any new skincare treatment plan, make sure you consult your healthcare professional for advice on what works best for you.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Benzac AC is indicated in the treatment of mild acne.

*Mychaskiw, M 2019, ‘If You’re Going to Remove a Blackhead, This Is How to Do It’, Well and Good, online article, viewed 16/05/2022, < https://www.wellandgood.com/how-to-remove-blackheads/>