Whitehead woes

BEAUTY CORNER

Whitehead woes

Whiteheads should not be pinched in an effort to remove them. This can lead to infection and scars on your face.  PIC GETTY IMAGES

Whiteheads are different from blackheads, although they both contain sebum (natural skin oil). The excess oil collects in the pores and hardens. In blackheads, the pores are open. The tip oxidises since it is exposed to the air and turns black.  

In whiteheads, oil and dead cells collect in pockets just beneath the skin. The pores are not open. Whiteheads, or milia, as they are called, are tiny, raised spots and usually occur where the skin is fine textured and delicate. Since the pores are not open, whiteheads are difficult to remove. While blackheads occur mostly on oily skin, whiteheads can occur even on dry skin. They generally occur on the forehead, under the eyes, cheekbones and jaws. Whiteheads can also be part of an acne condition.
 
Don’t touch them

Whiteheads should not be  scratched or pinched in an effort to remove them. This can lead to infection and will leave marks on the skin. Depending on the skin type, a proper cleansing routine is important. After cleansing, wipe your skin with a rose-based skin tonic. Or, you can mix rose water with witch hazel. If you have oily skin, mix them in equal quantities. For dry skin, mix witch hazel with 3 parts of rose water. Witch hazel is available  in pharmacies.

Use a skin toner regularly. Wash your face several times a day with plain lukewarm water, especially if you have oily skin.

Facial scrubs can prevent the formation of whiteheads. If the skin is very dry, use a scrub only once a week and only on areas with whiteheads. For oily skin, a facial scrub can be used more often. But scrubs should not be directly applied on pimples, acne or rashes. 

Rice powder and rose water make a good scrub. You can also mix dried and ground orange/ lemon peel with rose water or honey. Almond meal (ground almonds) can also be used along with the fruit peel or by itself. The scrub should be rubbed gently on the skin with circular movements, kept on for a few minutes and then washed off with water. Ready-to-use scrubs are also easily available in the market. 

DIY face masks

Mix together one  teaspoon of curd, one teaspoon of honey, four teaspoons of oatmeal and an egg white. Apply on the face, avoiding the lips and area around the eyes and wash off after 20-30 minutes. Oatmeal is available in food stores. Mix the liquid ingredients gradually to get the right consistency. It should be a thick paste that does not drip off your chin! 

Stubborn whiteheads can be referred to a skin care clinic, where they may be treated through exfoliation or extracted. Consult a dermatologist who can remove them with a sterile probe. It is a very simple procedure but cannot be done at home.  
Kitchen cures

Make a paste of fenugreek (methi) leaves and apply on the face daily, washing it off after an hour. Grate a potato and apply it on the face.  Mix multani mitti with rose water to form a paste and apply it on the face once or twice a week. Wash it off when it dries. A little rose water can be mixed with sandalwood paste and applied. Wash it off after 15 minutes.

Watch what you eat

Your meals should include fresh fruits,  raw salads, sprouts and yogurt. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Fresh fruit juices should be diluted with water. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning. Drinking barley water is also said to prevent the formation of whiteheads.

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