25 Natural Remedies To Get Rid Of Whiteheads

natural remedies to get rid of whiteheads naturally

[pullquote]Did you know: a comedo (skin’s pore) that is closed at the surface of the skin is called a whitehead while the one that is open is a blackhead.[/pullquote]

We’d all like to have blemish-free skin, but working towards it can be quite the challenge. And even if you don’t tend to break out as an adult, you might still have a few whiteheads. Sadly, whiteheads or comedones, the small, round, white bumps that may look like tiny white threads, are in fact a mild form of acne. Also known as closed comedo acne in dermatologist parlance, a whitehead is a hair follicle that is clogged up with dead skin cells and oil with a very narrow opening.1 If the pore opening is stretched, air enters and oxidizes the oil, turning the pore black. The result is a blackhead.2 Removing whiteheads doesn’t require an expensive parlor visit. Here are some of the common home remedies that you can try instead.


1. Lemon/Lime

Both lemon and lime are rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for the skin. Besides this, they also exhibit antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, making them good for the skin and skin blemishes. Both lemon and lime can effectively get rid of blackheads as well as remove oil under the skin that might be causing whiteheads.3

[pullquote]Caution: Don’t apply lemon juice directly. It is too acidic for your skin. Also, don’t step out into the sun after applying it.[/pullquote]


How to use it

  • Lime juice: Mix lime juice with groundnut oil to make a solution. Apply this on the affected areas. Leave it on for about 15 minutes before washing it off. Do this regularly for best results.
  • Lemon skin: Slice a lemon in half, take out the juice, and remove the lemon skin. Rub the skin on the face for a few minutes. Do this 2 times a week.

2. Strawberries

Strawberries are effective in getting rid of whiteheads because of their grainy texture which makes them a good exfoliant. Moreover, like most berry fruits, strawberries contain salicylic acid that acts as an astringent and prevents excessive oil buildup.4 Strawberries also boast of high antioxidant capacity, making them effective at taking care of inflamed acne, whiteheads, and blackheads as well.5


How to use it

  • Mash a couple of strawberries to make a paste. Add a tablespoon of honey to thicken the paste.
  • Spread the paste evenly on the face or affected area and leave it on for 15 minutes. Then wash it off with normal water.
  • Do this twice a week for a few months.

3. Tomato

Tomatoes are high in salicylic acid, a popular ingredient in most acne-busting creams. It also shrinks large pores, lowers inflammation, and prevents excessive oil production. This is why tomatoes can effectively bust whiteheads.6


How to use it

  • Cut a tomato into two and rub the inside of the fruit onto your face.
  • Leave this on for an hour and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat this every day for a couple of weeks.

4. Potato

Potatoes contain potassium, sulfur, phosphorous, and chloride acid which together aid in the removal of whiteheads and other blemishes. In addition to this potatoes help brighten skin.7


How to use it

  • Rub raw potato juice all over your face using a cotton swab and let it dry for 15–30 minutes.
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water and repeat every day for a few months.

5. Yogurt

Yogurt has been an age-old therapy for skin ailments. While having yogurt improves your digestion by nourishing the healthy gut bacteria, topical application produces antibacterial proteins that directly inhibit the acne-causing P. acnes. It also helps restore healthy fats and even counter common side effects of various acne therapies. All this will leave you with healthy skin that is clear of acne as well as whiteheads and blackheads.8


How to use it

  • Take a tablespoon of yogurt. Make sure you get the watery whey as well. Mix the yogurt to get a smooth paste.
  • Apply this paste to your face and neck. Leave it on for about 15 minutes.
  • Wipe it off with a wet washcloth. Rinse with water. Do this twice a week.

6. Oatmeal

[pullquote]Caution: Oatmeal can be abrasive. Don’t use if you have cuts or scrapes on the skin.[/pullquote]


As you may have noticed, there are quite a few beauty products that are oatmeal based. This is because oatmeal contains a number of compounds with moisturizing, cleansing, buffering, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic (anti-itch), and antioxidant properties. Oatmeal works by exfoliating the skin, ridding it of dead skin as well as bacteria.9 Studies show that oatmeal lotions also have multiple anti-inflammatory properties with known effects on regulating several inflammatory agents within the body. This makes oatmeal an ideal ingredient against whiteheads.10

How to use it

  • Powder some oatmeal and mix it with a cup of unflavored yogurt. Apply this paste on the skin for about 15–20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and then with cold water to close the pores. Do this twice a week for a few months.

7. Egg White

The high protein content in eggs doesn’t just help strengthen muscles and hair. Studies indicate that it also tightens pores and repairs skin, helping you get rid of whiteheads.11

How to use it

  • Add the whites of one egg to your whiteheads with the help of a cotton swab.
  • Leave this on for up to an hour before washing it off. You should feel a tightening sensation as the egg white dries up on your skin.
  • Repeat this twice a week for a few months.

Alternatively, you could add lemon juice or rose water to egg whites before applying it to your whiteheads.

8. Turmeric

[pullquote]Be careful while trying out this remedy since turmeric can easily stain your clothes.[/pullquote]

This traditional spice does more than just add flavor and color to your food. Studies indicate that turmeric has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in the treatment of acne. In addition to this, it also brightens skin and prevents aging.12 So, be sure to pick a few extra eggs on your next grocery run.

How to use it

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder with 1 tablespoon of rose water until you’ve got a thick paste.
  • Apply this on your whiteheads and leave it on for 15–20 minutes before washing it off with cold water. Repeat this every alternate day for a few months.

9. Garlic

[pullquote]Caution: Garlic might burn sensitive and dry skin. If you notice this happening, add garlic juice to equal parts of rose water before applying it to your skin.[/pullquote]

Here’s another spice that zaps whiteheads. Studies indicate that the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic rid the skin of whiteheads and prevent them from recurring.13

How to use it

  • Thinly slice a clove of garlic and rub the clove and its juice onto your skin, paying attention to the areas that tend to break out in whiteheads.
  • Leave this on your face for an hour before washing it off. Repeat this remedy twice a week for a few months.

10. Honey And Cinnamon

[pullquote]Caution: Some people are allergic to cinnamon. Make sure to do a patch test.[/pullquote]

Honey doesn’t just kill microbes and leave your skin disease-free, but it also moisturizes the skin. Moreover, it helps balance the pH of the skin, an important factor in preventing pathogenic infections.14 Cinnamon too has antimicrobial properties that help prevent whiteheads and acne. Studies have shown that the combination of cinnamon bark extract and honey has potential activity against acne-causing bacteria and can be effectively used as a topical anti-acne preparation.15

How to use it

  • Mix 1 tsp honey with 1 pinch of cinnamon powder.
  • Apply this smooth paste to your whiteheads affected area.
  • Leave it for about 20 minutes. Then wash off with water.

11. Coriander Leaves

Coriander leaves are believed to have many medicinal properties. Many of the healing properties of coriander can be attributed to the phytonutrients it possesses. Coriander is also known for its antioxidant properties as well as its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. A paste of coriander leaves is believed to have highly beneficial effects on pimples and whiteheads.16

How to use it 

  • Ground coriander: Grind a small bunch of coriander leaves to make a smooth paste. Apply this paste to your face and other affected areas. Allow it to remain on the face and dry. After about 15 minutes, wash it off with water.
  • Boiled coriander seeds: Boil some coriander seeds in water. Allow the water to cool. Then strain it and wash your face with it. Do this every day to get desired results.

12. Fenugreek Leaves

While most of the remedies we have seen so far help remove whiteheads temporarily, fenugreek can ensure whiteheads are removed for good. Applying fenugreek paste on the face is believed to improve the quality of the skin, thereby making it resistant to acne, whiteheads, and blackheads. Studies show that using fenugreek extract substantially increased skin elasticity, hydration, and the ability of skin to resist photoaging – that is, aging brought on by UV rays and harsh lights.17

How to use it

  • Make a paste with fenugreek leaves by grinding it with water in a mixer.
  • Apply the paste on your face and leave it on overnight.
  • Wipe off the paste in the morning, then wash with cold water.

13. Sugar

[pullquote]Caution: Avoid scrubbing with sugar if you have cuts and scrapes on the skin.[/pullquote]

Being rough and granular, sugar is a good exfoliant. Using sugar as a scrub can effectively remove dead skin cells as well as dirt and bacteria underneath the skin.18

How to use it

  • Mix a small amount of honey with sugar to form a coarse paste.
  • Apply this paste all over the face or the area affected by whiteheads.
  • Gently massage the paste over the area in a circular motion and let it dry.
  • After about 10 minutes, wipe it off with a washcloth. Rinse off any remaining residue.
  • Repeat the process once a week to ensure all whiteheads are removed.

14. Baking Soda

[pullquote]Caution: Baking soda could make your skin dry and itchy. If you notice that happening, stop using.[/pullquote]

Baking soda is a readily available and exceptionally good ingredient to get rid of whiteheads. It can remove or clean just about anything, even the oil and dirt clogging your skin pores.19 What’s more, baking soda also possesses antibacterial properties, ensuring that any acne and inflammation on the skin will be duly taken care of.

How to use it

  • Mix water with baking soda to form a thick paste.
  • Massage the paste onto the affected area in circular movements.
  • Leave it on for about 5 minutes and then wash off. Do this 3 times a week for a few months.

15. Cornstarch

If you’ve got oily skin, cornstarch can help get rid of excess sebum from your pores and, in turn, bust whiteheads. It is also gentle on the skin making it a good option for people who have sensitive skin.20

How to use it

  • Mix two tablespoons of cornstarch with one tablespoon of water.
  • Apply this paste to your whiteheads and leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off. Repeat this 2 times a week for a few months.

16. Jojoba Oil

[pullquote]You could also add jojoba oil to a non-comedogenic moisturizer and use that regularly.[/pullquote]

Apart from moisturizing your skin, jojoba oil balances the skin’s natural oil production, hence preventing excessive sebum production that’s the primary cause of whiteheads. In addition to this, jojoba oil doesn’t block the skin’s pores like most other oils. And if you have dry skin, this is one remedy that won’t dry out your skin further.21

How to use it

  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba oil with 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree oil.
  • Apply this solution to your whiteheads with the help of a cotton swab.
  • Repeat this every night before going to bed.

17. Tea Tree Oil

[pullquote]Caution: Tea tree oil is potent and may irritate your skin. Don’t use it without diluting.[/pullquote]

Diluted tea tree oil is another home remedy that can work effectively as an astringent, removing excess oil trapped under the skin. It also has potent effects against Propionibacterium acnes, the acne-causing bacteria.22 Studies have shown that tea tree oil can reduce the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions (blackheads and whiteheads) with little to no side effects.23

How to use it

  • Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in pure water.
  • Using a cotton swab, dab this on the affected areas.
  • Allow it to remain on the skin for about 30 minutes. Then wash with cool water.

18. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a natural healer for cuts, scrapes, and even minor burns. Thanks to the salicylic acid and sulfur it contains, aloe vera may be good for getting rid of whiteheads as well. Both salicylic acid and sulfur are known to reduce acne.24 However, while aloe has many benefits for the skin, there’s limited evidence for its acne-relieving properties.25 That said, aloe vera’s healing properties coupled with the antioxidants from honey will leave you with smooth and clear skin.

How to use it

  • Take some aloe vera gel and mix it with honey. Apply it on the face or affected area.
  • Leave it on for about 20 mins and then wash off with water.
  • Do this regularly for about one week.

19. Apple Cider Vinegar

[pullquote]Caution: Apple cider vinegar is a strong astringent and can dry out your skin. Avoid this remedy if you have dry or sensitive skin.[/pullquote]

If you’ve got a bottle of apple cider vinegar lying around in your kitchen cabinet, use it to bust your whiteheads. Studies show that apple cider vinegar’s acidic properties enable it to dry out and shrink skin’s pores. In addition to this, it also reduces inflammation and has antibacterial and anti-microbial properties. Make sure to use pure, organic apple cider vinegar for the best results.26

How to use it

  • Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Apply this directly to the affected skin and leave it on for 20 minutes. Wash this off and repeat every day. If you notice any irritation, discontinue use.

20. Rose Water

[pullquote]Be sure to opt for good quality rose water for the best results.[/pullquote]

Rose water has been one of the most popular skincare ingredients in Ayurveda for a long time now. And recent studies have found that it aids in the treatment of acne and acne-prone skin. However, there isn’t enough evidence to suggest exactly how it does this, which is why most experts recommend combining it with other acne-busting ingredients.27

How to use it

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of rose water with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  • Apply this mixture to your face with the help of a cotton ball. If you’ve got dry skin, apply it only to the affected areas.
  • Leave this on your face for about 10 minutes before washing it off. Repeat twice a week for a few months.

21. Sandalwood

There’s a reason why sandalwood has been such a popular skincare ingredient in India for centuries. Sandalwood possesses strong antibacterial properties. Studies show that even the herpes simplex virus is inhibited in the presence of sandalwood oil.28 It is also known to work against acne-causing bacteria.29 Applying sandalwood powder on the skin can stop further infections as well as remove excess oil from the skin so that the appearance of whiteheads is reduced.

How to use it

  • Mix some sandalwood powder and rose water together to form a paste.
  • Apply the paste on the face or affected area and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Wash with warm water and pat dry.

22. Witch Hazel

[pullquote]Caution: Witch hazel might irritate sensitive skin. If you notice any such irritation, discontinue use.[/pullquote]

Like apple cider vinegar, witch hazel has astringent properties, which dry out the skin and shrink its pores. In addition to this, studies indicate that witch hazel controls oil production and its regular use rids the skin of whiteheads.30

How to use it

  • Dip a cotton ball in witch hazel solution and apply it on your whiteheads.
  • Let it dry and don’t wash it off. Do this twice a day for a few months.

23. Fuller’s Earth

Popularly known as multani mitti in India, fuller’s earth absorbs excess oil from skin and unclogs its pores, in turn preventing whiteheads from forming. In addition to this, fuller’s earth also dries up whiteheads.31

How to use it

  • Mix 1 cup of fuller’s earth with 1/2 cup of rose water.
  • Apply this mixture to your face like a mask.
  • Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this twice a week.

24. Chamomile

Apart from being the perfect way to get a good night’s sleep, chamomile might be effective at busting whiteheads. Research indicates that it contains anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce and prevent blemishes.32

How to use it

  • Grind dried chamomile leaves with a few tablespoons of water in a grinder until you get a paste-like consistency.
  • Apply this mixture to your face like a mask and leave it on for half an hour before washing it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this about twice a week for a few months.

25. Steaming

Heat expands and melts oils. As a result, steaming the affected areas, especially the face or nose, helps open up the pores of the skin, making it easier to remove whiteheads. Other bacteria and dirt are also removed during this process, making the skin smoother and clearer.33

How to use it

  • Place a pot of just boiled water on a flat surface.
  • Place your face over the container, making sure not to burn yourself.
  • Allow the steam to hit your face. Do this for about 10 minutes, then remove the whiteheads by pressing with the tips of your fingers or using a comedo/blackhead remover tool.
  • Once done, wash your face with cool water and pat dry with a towel.

Prevent Whiteheads From Forming

  • Wash your face using a mild facial cleanser. Do this only twice a day as washing more often can worsen the condition.
  • Harsh soaps not only make your skin dry but also increase sebum production.
  • After cleansing your skin, use a toner to eliminate dirt residues and reduce the size of your skin pores.
  • Moisturize your skin daily so that it stays soft and supple.
  • Exfoliate your skin at least once a week.
  • Try to use noncomedogenic cosmetics.
  • Always wash out and dry your makeup tools like brushes and sponges as they may become breeding grounds for bacteria.
  • Always remove your makeup before going to bed. Otherwise, you may end up with clogged pores.
  • Change your pillow covers at least once a week.
  • Do not pop your whiteheads. This may worsen the condition.
  • Have lots of fruits and green vegetables in your diet to keep your gut clean.
  • Avoid any food that triggers breakouts.
  • Wash your hair regularly. Greasy hair can lead to more oil on your skin surface.
  • Manage stress since that is believed to trigger breakouts as well.