Whiteheads On Nose: Causes, Treatments, And Prevention

Take a deeper look into this acne condition and learn possible treatment options.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Manasi Shirolikar, MBBS, DDVL Dr. Manasi Shirolikar Dr. Manasi ShirolikarMBBS, DDVL facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA Medha Deb Integrated MA Experience: 5 years

Whiteheads are a moderate kind of acne that affects almost everyone. Whiteheads on the nose are closed comedones that occur due to clogged pores caused by excess oil, among other things. This article delves into everything there is to know about whiteheads on the nose, including their causes, possible treatments, whether they can be eliminated, and some preventive tips. Keep reading to learn more!

How Are Whiteheads Formed On The Nose?

Mild acne occurs when excess sebum, keratinous material, dead cells, and dirt clog the sebaceous glands in your skin’s pores (1), (2). This clogging allows bacteria to colonize the pore, leading to closed comedones or whiteheads. Whiteheads may be white to flesh-toned in color. They can appear anywhere on the body, but they are mostly noticed on the T-Zone of the face – nose, chin, and forehead.

But, why do these comedones or whiteheads form? Find out in the next section.

Causes Of Whiteheads And Comedonal Acne

1. Acne-Causing Bacteria

Propionibacterium acnes is a bacteria known for causing acne. This bacteria can get clogged in your pores and lead to the formation of whiteheads and other types of breakouts like pimples and blackheads on your face, including on your nose (1).

2. Lifestyle

Lifestyle factors also play a significant role in the development of whiteheads on your nose. Stress, pollution, urban noise, variations in sleep patterns, smoking, and ultraviolet radiation from the sun can be potential risk factors that cause whiteheads (1).

3. Dietary Factors

Image: Shutterstock

If you’re not careful, your diet can increase the chances of whiteheads on your nose. A study found that the sebum of people with acne contains less essential free fatty acids, like linoleic acid (1). Thus, it is important to eat foods that are high in healthy fatty acids and avoid junk food that contains trans fats and other unhealthy fats.

4. Genetics

Your genetics also play a role in the development of acne and whiteheads on your nose. Several studies have found that if you have immediate family members, the chances are higher that you will develop acne and whiteheads (1).

5. Hormonal Changes

Image: Shutterstock

Changes in your hormone levels can cause the sebaceous glands on your nose to produce more sebum than your skin needs, which can lead to whiteheads (1).

protip_icon Quick Tip

Whiteheads are common in teenagers due to erratic hormones. But adult men and women in the 25-45 age group also can be affected by it.

Now that you know what could be causing the whiteheads on your nose, let’s take a look at the treatments you can try out.


Salicylic acid as one of the treatments for acne
Image: Shutterstock

Whiteheads are generally treated with topical retinoids, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. There are other ingredients such as azelaic acid, antibiotic medication, dapsone, topical erythromycin, and topical clindamycin that can also be used to treat mild to moderate acne (3).

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is commonly used to treat patients with acne. It is used in concentrations from 2.5-10% and various formulations (cream, gel, wash, foam, aqueous gel, leave-on, and wash-off). It is a comedolytic, keratolytic, anti-inflammatory agent with antimicrobial properties. It is bactericidal mainly against P. acnes by the production of reactive oxygen radicals and has not developed resistance (3).
  • Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is a comedolytic agent that is available over the counter in 0.5 to 2% concentrations and in both wash-off and leave-on preparations. It is generally well-tolerated by people and can greatly benefit people with acne-prone and oily skin type (3).

Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are used in OTC, topical, and acne treatments and are commonly paired together for improved effectiveness.

  • Antibiotics: Topical antibiotic medications have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. The main topical antibiotic medications are clindamycin and erythromycin. Topical antibiotic medications are best used in combination with benzoyl peroxide (3).
  • Retinoid: Topical retinoid medications are often used as the first line of treatment for people with mild-to-moderate acne, especially comedonal acne.
  • Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acidacts as a comedolytic (comedone inhibiting), antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Dapsone: Dapsone, like other topical antibiotic treatments, treats the redness and inflammation caused by whiteheads.
  • Oral Antibiotic Medications: Oral antibiotic medications are commonly prescribed to people with mild-to-moderate acne on whom topical medications haven’t worked. They are also used as the primary acne treatment in people with moderate-to-severe inflammatory acne. Oral antibiotic agents may be used in combination with a topical retinoid and benzoyl peroxide, if it can be tolerated (3).

Apart from these treatments and medications, you can also use peels and pore strips to treat whiteheads on the nose.

protip_icon Quick Tip

It is a myth that blood purifying products can treat whiteheads and other types of acne. Blood purity has nothing to do with acne.

Many people squeeze and pop their whiteheads. But, is that healthy or safe? Find out below.

Should You Squeeze Or Pop Whiteheads?

Whiteheads should not be squeezed as it can spread the acne-causing bacteria to the surrounding area, causing more acne breakouts and eventually leading to blemishes. Popping whiteheads is considered safe, but do not pop them on your own. If you pop them incorrectly, it can cause scarring. The bacteria in the comedones can also spread easily and cause breakouts on other parts of your face. Instead, consult a dermatologist. They can pop the comedones easily. There are other methods of extraction they may use to remove whiteheads.

Now, let’s answer the most important question.

Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Whiteheads Permanently?

Whiteheads may remain on your nose for a long time, but they fade away on their own eventually. There are a few remedies to reduce the appearance of these open comedones. Here are some ways to treat whiteheads

  • Over-The-Counter Medication

You can use over-the-counter moisturizers, cleansers, and other skin care products that are specifically formulated to treat acne and whiteheads. They usually contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If you don’t notice a reduction in the whiteheads, consult a dermatologist. They can provide you with a more focused treatment plan.

  • Prescription Medication

There are oral antibiotics that can treat acne. A dermatologist can also help you get prescription-grade skin care that contains higher doses of the active ingredients found in over-the-counter products.

  • Skin treatments
Laser treatment helps in improving the appearance of acne
Image: Shutterstock

Laser treatments and chemical peels are recommended for more severe forms of acne and whiteheads. These treatments primarily serve to make acne scars less noticeable, but they may also help prevent future breakouts (4).

Check out the risks you should be aware of in the next section.

Risks To Be Aware Of

Nursing and pregnant women experience hormonal changes that can cause whiteheads and acne breakouts. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a dermatologist before trying any products or medication on your own. Erythromycin is the oral antibiotic medication that is usually prescribed to pregnant people with acne (3).

If you do not want to take medicines, you may try the following remedies to manage whiteheads at home. Check out the section below.

Home Remedies For Whiteheads On Nose

Whiteheads on the nose can be treated with simple home remedies. Here are some effective options:

  • Facial Steaming: It helps decongest the pores, making it easier to remove whiteheads.
  • Baking Soda: It is abrasive and may help exfoliate the skin and remove whiteheads. Use a paste of water and baking soda once or twice weekly.
  • Honey And Cinnamon: Honey possesses antibacterial properties and cinnamon is known to have anti-inflammatory properties (5), (6). Mix them and apply the paste to the affected area.
  • Tea Tree Oil: It has antibacterial effects and can be diluted and used as a spot treatment to eliminate whiteheads (7).
  • Witch Hazel: It reduces inflammation caused by acne and whiteheads (8). Apply it to the affected areas with a cotton pad.

Learn how to use turmeric to remove whiteheads from your nose! Click the video below to learn an easy and effective way to get rid of those pesky whiteheads.

Infographic: What Causes Whiteheads On The Nose + Treatment Methods

Whiteheads on the nose can be very frustrating. Knowing the causes behind them can help you get the right treatment on time. What are the different factors behind whiteheads on the nose and the different treatment options available? Scroll down and check out the infographic to learn more.

what causes whiteheads on the nose and treatment methods (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Whiteheads are a mild type of acne that develops when your pores are clogged with dirt, oil, or dead skin. Factors such as poor lifestyle, genetics, or hormonal imbalance result in the development of whiteheads on your nose. You can opt for over-the-counter medications and topical creams such as clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide, or retinoids for treating whiteheads. If you have a severe form of acne, you can opt for medical procedures such as laser treatment for whitehead removal. Pregnant and nursing women should consult their doctor before they use any product on their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does apple cider vinegar get rid of whiteheads?

Yes, the antibacterial properties of ACV can help clear whiteheads.
Mix 2-3 tablespoons of ACV with warm water and apply to your face. Rinse after about 20 minutes for best results.

How does baking soda get rid of whiteheads?

Baking soda helps clear whiteheads by balancing the skin’s natural pH.

What is the difference between milia and whiteheads?

Milia are small white bumps that occur on the skin due to trapped keratin underneath the skin surface. Whiteheads, on the other hand, occur due to clogged pores and could also contain pus.

Can tea tree oil get rid of whiteheads?

Yes, tea tree oil is a natural way to help clear whiteheads over time.

Does lemon juice get rid of whiteheads?

Yes, high in ascorbic acid, lemon juice can help clear whiteheads. However, make sure to do a patch test if you have sensitive, acne-prone skin.

Is aloe vera good for whiteheads?

Yes, aloe vera helps cleanse your skin and remove the excess oil. Mixed with a few drops of lemon, it can help clear whiteheads eventually.

Key Takeaways

  • Whiteheads can appear anywhere on the body, but they are mostly noticed on the nose, chin, and forehead.
  • Genetics plays a role in developing acne and whiteheads on your nose.
  • Dapsone can help treat the redness and inflammation caused by whiteheads.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Acne Vulgaris
  2. A Brief Review on Acne Vulgaris: Pathogenesis Diagnosis and Treatment
  3. A review of diagnosis and treatment of acne in adult female patients
  4. Laser Treatment of Acne Vulgaris
  5. Antibacterial Potency of Honey
  6. Antiinflammatory Activity of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Bark Essential Oil in a Human Skin Disease Model
  7. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties
  8. Moisturizers for Acne
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