Nose whiteheads can be one of the most annoying forms of acne. Not only are the blemishes some of the most difficult to treat, but they also appear in one of the most conspicuous parts of the body. Read on for more information about how you can most effectively combat pesky nose whiteheads.

What Causes Whiteheads on Your Nose?

1. Oil and Impurities

Because the nose contains more sebaceous glands than other parts of the face, it also tends to become more oily. As part of the dreaded t-zone, the nose is more likely to experience clogged pores that lead to whitehead and blackhead breakouts. The clogged pores are exacerbated by excess oil and dirt, along with dead skin cells and tiny hairs.

2. Puberty and Hormonal Changes

The inevitable rite of passage known as puberty brings about a host of hormonal changes. This explosion of hormones is responsible for many of the most common instances of adolescent acne. The increased androgen in a teen's body increases the size of the pores and leads to excess production of sebum.

3. Makeup

Although many people use makeup to camouflage skin imperfections, the irony is that these products could be making the problem worse. Makeup that is not thoroughly washed off at the end of the day can lead to clogged pores and a variety of acne issues.

4. Medications

Unfortunately, acne can be a side effect of a host of medications. Drugs such as lithium, barbiturates, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and androgenic steroids are all guilty of possibly leading to what is called an acneiform drug eruption.

Do Nose Whitehead Removal Strips Work? (Biore Strips)

The majority of dermatologists interviewed were not impressed by pore removal strips for whiteheads. Firstly, they are not powerful enough to penetrate deep into the pores. Secondly, the alcohol and astringents in many of them can also prove to be drying and irritating to many skin types. With so many better options available to clear up whiteheads, you are better off directing your money and efforts elsewhere.

Whiteheads on Nose Treatment Options

1. Regularly Cleansing

Not only is it imperative that you develop a solid cleansing routine, but it is also important to choose water-soluble facial cleansers. Cleansers that are water soluble will completely wash away without leaving a grimy residue on the skin. A gentle and non-abrasive cleanser containing no alcohol will prevent irritation. Additionally, use lukewarm water your hands. Loofahs or washcloths are not necessary. After you have thoroughly massaged the cleanser into the face, rinse with water and pat lightly with a clean towel.

2. Exfoliating Your Nose

Once the skin has been thoroughly cleansed, it is time to start the exfoliation process. There are many benefits in getting in the habit of exfoliating the skin. Not only will you remove many of the harmful impurities that sit on the skin and lead to breakouts, but you will also reduce the appearance of pore size and other skin imperfections. Studies have shown that exfoliating with a product containing a BHA such as salicylic acid of two percent for best results.

3. Using Spot Treatments

As the primary workhorse in the fight against acne, benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria that causes acne. Benzoyl peroxide is an extremely versatile treatment, available in a variety of forms and strengths. This versatility makes this spot treatment easy to personalize in order to suit many different skin types and issues. Benzoyl peroxide can also be combined with other treatments and prescription medications to provide a comprehensive protocol.

4. Moisturizing

Although this step is optional, an effective moisturizing process might be necessary to negate some of the dryness that often accompanies many acne treatments. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be culprits in drying out the skin and causing flakiness. Although many acne sufferers worry about introducing new oil to the skin with a hydrating routine, there are many moisturizers on the market that are non-comedogenic and will not lead to further aggravation of breakouts.

Best Products for Nose Whiteheads

De La Cruz 10% Sulfur Ointment Acne Medication

This topical ointment penetrates deep into pores to clear up pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. After a thorough cleansing, the product is applied in a thin layer over the surface of the skin that is prone to breakouts. Users are directed to leave the product on the skin for ten minutes before rinsing off for best results. This allergy-tested ointment is free of fragrances, dyes, artificial colors, and preservatives, making it safe for all types of skin. With a formula containing ten percent sulfur, the natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties all work together to deliver a clearer complexion.

Paula's Choice  2% Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

This exfoliant is specially formulated for the treatment of blackheads, enlarged pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. The leave-on treatment contains a two percent beta hydroxy acid (BHA) designed to unclog pores and stop whiteheads from forming. As dead skin cells are sloughed away, the appearance of the pore size is also reduced. The non-abrasive ingredients are gentle enough to be used every day. Because the product is designed to be left on and not rinsed off, the hydrating features will continue to deliver moisture to the skin throughout the day. 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

This ointment contains the gold standard of medication proven to fight off pesky acne flare-ups. The 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide stops acne before it can even take root. As one of the most common ingredients in the fight against acne, benzoyl peroxide is available in strengths varying from two to ten percent, with the stronger concentrations only available in prescription form.

Studies examining the efficacy of this organic acid demonstrate that products containing 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide are just as effective as those boasting up to ten percent. Treatments containing the higher amounts of benzoyl peroxide are also more likely to dry out the skin and irritate it further, hindering the effectiveness of the products. This research proves that sometimes less is more when it comes to the successful treatment of acne.

Professional Options:

1. Chemical Peels

By applying a chemical solution to the face, these peels work by exfoliating and peeling off the dead skin cells. The treatment can work to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as ridding the skin of harmful acne-causing bacteria. Most chemical peels use a variety of alpha or beta hydroxy acids in varying degrees of strength to exfoliate the skin. These popular treatments are available at a myriad of locations, including dermatologist offices and day spas. Chemical peels are also used for acne scars.

2. Topical Retinoids

Considered the best way to treat intrusive blackheads and whiteheads, topical retinoids promote the production of new skin cells in an effort to clear pores of dead skin and acne-causing oils. As a derivative of vitamin A, topical retinoids are generally available in either gel or cream form. The treatment takes a two-pronged approach by reducing the existing whiteheads and blackheads while also working as a preventative measure to stop new blemishes from forming. As one of the strongest protocols available for acne sufferers, topical retinoids must always be prescribed by a doctor. The three retinoid drugs used in a variety of treatment options are tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene.

When to See a Dermatologist

A consultation with a trained dermatologist may be in order if you have exhausted all of the OTC options. If none of the many OTC choices seem to be working, calling a professional will help to ensure that you are choosing the best options for your skin type and kind of acne. It is important to not let acne breakouts affect your self-esteem.


Can you get rid of nose whiteheads overnight?

Like any type of acne, there is no miracle cure that exists to rid the skin of nose whiteheads overnight. The only option is to remain consistent and dedicated to your skincare routine. A regular routine will deliver results if you are choosing the right products. Although it can be discouraging to not see visible results right away, it is important to have realistic expectations.

How long does it take for nose whiteheads to go away?

The length of a whitehead outbreak is dependent on many factors, making it difficult to quantify exactly how long it will take for the blemishes to fade. An effective treatment protocol can certainly expedite the process. An average expectancy to see improvements is four to six weeks if the protocol is effective in treating your specific type of acne. Because it can take some time for the results to become visible, it is important to give any treatment at least four weeks to determine its effectiveness.

Do home remedies for nose whiteheads work?

Although it may be tempting to start with home remedies to treat a case of nose whiteheads, there is limited scientific evidence speaking to their effectiveness. Because there are so many proven and effective treatment choices available both over the counter and as a prescription, it is a better use of your time and effort to start with these options.

Can lemons and baking soda help get rid of nose whiteheads?

Despite lemons and baking soda having a plethora of natural uses around the house, using them on your face to eliminate whiteheads is not one of them. The high antioxidant content in lemons is said to help fight free radicals in the skin. On the other-hand,  the citric acid is purported to reduce oil on the surface. Some people try using baking soda as a natural exfoliant intended to strip away dead skin cells and soothe inflammation. However, all of these benefits are purely anecdotal. Your face is not the place for these household items. Lastly, they interfere with the skin's natural pH level and barrier protection.

Can you get rid of nose whiteheads naturally?

Many acne sufferers prefer to try to get rid of nose whiteheads naturally rather than relying on chemical drugs. However, there are very few clinical trials that demonstrate solid effectiveness and safety of the use of plants to treat whiteheads. Because of this lack of evidence, chemical formulations are still the first line of defense in treating these skin imperfections. 

Why do I get whiteheads inside of my nose?

Similar to other acne, nose whiteheads caused by excess oil production and clogged pores. Additionally, it could be that what you think is a whitehead is actually an ingrown hair. This is even more possible if you pluck your nose hairs.

Whiteheads on Nose: Summary

  • Nose whiteheads are caused by: excess oil buildup, puberty and hormone changes, leaving on makeup, some medications
  • You can prevent nose whiteheads by regularly cleansing, exfoliating and using spot treatments
  • Best products for nose whiteheads contain: sulfur, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide
  • Professional treatments include chemical peels and topical retinoids
  • Severe whiteheads on your nose should be treated by a professional