Helpful link: www.acne.org  | AcneNet

 

What is Acne?

: A normal folicle looks like this

For reasons no one completely understands, follicles, often called pores, sometimes get blocked. Sebum (oil) which normally drains to the surface gets blocked and bacteria begins to grow. Both whiteheads and blackheads start out as a "microcomedone". The picture below is a "microcomedone".

 

 

The result of a microcomedone can be one of two scenarios. A blackhead or a whitehead:

Whitehead
When the trapped sebum and bacteria stay below the skin surface, a whitehead is formed.

Blackhead
A blackhead occurs when the trapped sebum and bacteria partially open to the surface and turn black due to melanin, the skin's pigment. Blackheads can last for a long time because the contents very slowly drain to the surface.


Either way, blackheads and whiteheads are filled with trapped sebum and bacteria. The treatment advice is the therefore the same for both whiteheads and blackheads.