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Whiteheads and Blackheads


Whiteheads are white bumps on the skin that are collections of oil and skin cells inside pores. Blackheads are pinhead-sized dark spots on the skin that are caused by small plugs in pores.

Whiteheads and blackheads, both of which are symptoms of the skin condition acne, commonly appear on the face and shoulders, but they may also develop on the trunk, arms, legs, and buttocks. They are most common in teenagers but can occur at any age, even in infants or in older adults.

Treatment for whiteheads and blackheads depends on the severity of the condition. Treatment may include lotions or gels put on blemishes or sometimes entire areas of skin, such as the chest or back (topical medicines). Oral medicines, such as antibiotics, may be prescribed.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAlexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last RevisedFebruary 3, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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