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The 5 Best Whitehead Treatments For 2022

By March 22, 2021August 4th, 2022Skin

Searching for the best whitehead treatments can be devastating. Whiteheads are a type of acne. They form when dead skin cells, excessive oil, debris, and bacteria get trapped within skin pores and hair follicles.

Blocked skin pores due to hormonal changes are the main cause of acne breakouts. Besides, at certain stages, the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands increases such as puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy.

In addition, progesterone-only contraceptive pills increase hormone levels and may lead to acne breakouts in women. Moreover, genetics can play a role in the appearance of whiteheads. In other words, if one of your family members has whiteheads, there is a chance that you might develop them at some point. (1)

Whiteheads can appear anywhere, but the most common areas include:

  • The T-zone (forehead, chin, and nose)
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Arms

Furthermore, they appear in both men and women equally and at any age.

We have done the search for you and collected the 5 best whitehead treatments for you. Also, we will explain why we have chosen these products and how they work. 

Read our in-depth article on what under-eye contour depression is; their causes, prevention and surgical treatment here.

4.8/5 Rating;
Editor's Pick

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

3.8/5 Rating; Budget Option.

Hydrocolloid Acne Pimple Patch

1. Bolden Clear Skin Clay Mask

$19 USD on Amazon

Value For Money


  • Non-irritating
  • Contains effective ingredients
  • Exfoliating effect


  • Might not work for all skin types
  • Does not work for some people
  • May cause dryness

Bolden Clear Skin Clay Mask is highly recommended for treating acne and preventing acne breakouts. The main ingredients include:

  • Sulfur: It reduces the appearance of blemishes. (2)
  • Cleome Gynandra Lead Extract: It prevents the overproduction of sebum and treats skin inflammations. (3)
  • Willow Bark Extract: It also prevents the appearance of blemishes. (4)
  • Bentonite: It is a type of clay that absorbs any sebum or debris in order to cleanse the skin pores. (5)

According to most customer reviews, it is effective in preventing the blockage of skin pores and soothing whiteheads’ breakouts without causing any skin irritations. On the other hand, some customers complain that it may cause skin dryness. Also, it might not work for all skin types.

2. Differin Acne Gel Treatment

$15 USD on Amazon

Value For Money


  • Powerful Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Incredibly popular and reviewed
  • Photo-stable


  • Possibility of a burning sensation
  • Might cause rashes
  • Does not work for everyone

Differin Acne Gel Treatment is one of the best whitehead treatments on the market nowadays according to many dermatologists. It has more than 40,000 customer reviews on Amazon, which makes it one of the most popular. The active ingredient in this product is retinoids.

Retinoids do not only normalize skin cell turnover but also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Adapalene, the active ingredient in Differin, is one of the most common forms of retinoids.

Adapalene is one of the most perfect acne treatments. It makes the skin desensitized to inflammations, prevents the accumulation of debris and excessive oil in skin pores, and inhibits the excessive growth of skin pores lining.
Besides, adapalene can be used at any time day or night since it is photostable. (6, 7)

Over time, it can treat and prevent the appearance of whiteheads, improve skin texture, and enhance skin tone.
On the other hand, some customers complain that it may cause a burning sensation and/or rashes. Also, it may not be suitable for all skin types.

3. Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

$16 USD on Amazon

Value For Money


  • Has a peeling effect
  • Strong exfoliating effect
  • Can be used for the whole body


  • Harsh formula
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Might cause dryness

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser is another popular whitehead and acne treatment. The main active ingredients in this cleanser are glycolic acid and Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA).

Glycolic acid creates a peeling effect. It dissolves the strong bonds between the superficial skin layer and deeper skin layers, which exfoliates the skin pores and prevents the accumulation of debris, bacteria, and debris. Over time, it will treat and prevent acne including whiteheads.

Glycolic acid also promotes the outer skin barrier, which improves skin hydration and prevents its dryness. If you have acne-prone skin, this is a huge advantage since other products usually include drying ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. (8, 9)

Moreover, the main benefit of AHA is its exfoliating properties. It removes dead skin cells, which allows the skin to create new skin cells. (10, 11)

So, this cleanser can treat your whiteheads. On the other hand, its formula is too harsh, especially when you use it at night. Many dermatologists recommend using a lighter cleaner from time to time, especially if you have sensitive skin.

4. COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

$18 USD on Amazon

Value For Money


  • Mildly exfoliating
  • Effective for most people
  • Hydrating effect


  • Might not work for some people
  • Harsh formula
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin

COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid Serum is our fourth choice in our best whitehead treatments list. It has a strong blend of ingredients including glycolic acid, apple water, and niacinamide. This formula is harsh, but it is effective for most people.

Due to the presence of glycolic acid, it has powerful exfoliating effects. With regular use, it treats and prevents whiteheads. In addition, niacinamide reduces the size of skin pores, regulates oil production, and can protect your skin against sun damage. (12)

However, some people say that it does not work for them at all. It might even make acne worse, especially for people with sensitive skin.

5. Hydrocolloid Acne Pimple Patch

$13 USD on Amazon

Value For Money


  • Results in 6-8 Hours
  • Incredibly popular and reviewed
  • All-Night Adhesion


  • Possibility of negative skin reaction
  • Might not work for some people
  • No strong science behind it

With more than 84,000 customer reviews on Amazon, Hydrocolloid Acne Pimple Patch is one of the best whitehead treatments of all time.

The idea behind this product is simple. You stick one on the targeted acne and within 6 to 8 hours, it will be gone. Most people use it before going to bed and wake up with clear skin.

This hydrocolloid patch absorbs oil, bacteria, debris, and any other junk in your skin pores.
It is an easy to apply, comfortable choice if you want to get rid of a few blemishes. They stick to the targeted area as long as needed. It is also easy to remove and does not cause any redness, itching, or irritation for most people.
On the other hand, some customers reported that they suffered from burning sensations and rashes while using them. One customer wrote:

Seemed great at first. Worked on a few blemishes I had. Until the third day using them: I went to sleep with a small white head, covered with a mighty patch, and woke up to this. A giant red mark in the exact size and shape of the patch. The pimple was still there. It’s been two weeks and the spot has barely faded. I contacted the company and gave them time to reimburse or remedy the situation and they never got back to me.

Ballanger F, Baudry P, N'Guyen JM, Khammari A, Dréno B. Heredity: a prognostic factor for acne. Dermatology. 2006;212(2):145-9. doi: 10.1159/000090655. PMID: 16484821.
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Narendhirakannan RT, Kandaswamy M, Subramanian S. Anti-inflammatory activity of Cleome gynandra L. on hematological and cellular constituents in adjuvant-induced arthritic rats. J Med Food. 2005 Spring;8(1):93-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2005.8.93. PMID: 15857216.
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Piskin S, Uzunali E. A review of the use of adapalene for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2007;3(4):621-624.
Waugh J, Noble S, Scott LJ. Adapalene: a review of its use in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Drugs. 2004;64(13):1465-78. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200464130-00005. PMID: 15212561.
Wang CM, Huang CL, Hu CT, Chan HL. The effect of glycolic acid on the treatment of acne in Asian skin. Dermatol Surg. 1997 Jan;23(1):23-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1997.tb00003.x. PMID: 9107290.
Atzori L, Brundu MA, Orru A, Biggio P. Glycolic acid peeling in the treatment of acne. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 1999 Mar;12(2):119-22. PMID: 10343939.
Kim SJ, Baek JH, Koh JS, Bae MI, Lee SJ, Shin MK. The effect of physically applied alpha hydroxyl acids on the skin pore and comedone. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2015 Oct;37(5):519-25. doi: 10.1111/ics.12244. Epub 2015 Jun 26. PMID: 26032934.
Baldo A, Bezzola P, Curatolo S, Florio T, Lo Guzzo G, Lo Presti M, Sala GP, Serra F, Tonin E, Pellicano M, Pimpinelli N. Efficacy of an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA)-based cream, even in monotherapy, in patients with mild-moderate acne. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2010 Jun;145(3):319-22. PMID: 20461041.
Gehring W. Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004 Apr;3(2):88-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2130.2004.00115.x. PMID: 17147561.

Dr Khaled Mahmoud

A medical researcher with more than 5 years of professional academic and medical writing experience. My main goal is to provide readers with evidence-based, data-driven, detail-oriented content to help them make the best choices.