Best Products for Whiteheads: From Cleansers to Peels

Choosing the best products for whiteheads can make the difference between bumpy, whitehead-ridden skin and a smooth, clear visage. And by the “best,” we don’t mean the “harshest.”

In fact, piling on strong, harsh facial products can actually make the situation worse! By drying out your skin and causing dry skin cell buildup, harsh products can lead to more clogged pores and ​even increase oil production!

And that’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to get rid of whiteheads. So instead of slathering on the harshest creams, we advise going about your skin care selection in a smart, strategic manner.

To help you navigate, we’ve selected the best products for whiteheads – you’ll find out all about what works best and how, as well as how to use the products together for the best, quickest results! Ready to get started?​

Best Face Wash for Whiteheads

Put that bottle of Proactiv down. Whereas acne bacteria-fighting ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide might be great for getting rid of pimples, they’re not the best bet when it comes to whiteheads.

Pimples are usually red and painful, which is caused by inflammation – whiteheads, on the other hands, have no infection so using the same sort of harsh ​bacteria-killing ingredients on whiteheads can actually make them worse.

This doesn’t mean you need to shy away from effective active ingredients – just choose them wisely. If you want whitehead-banishing benefits in your face wash, look for things like Salicylic Acid – which clears pores and helps break down whiteheads – or gentler, natural options like Activated Charcoal and Tea Tree Oil.

If you already have overly oily skin, we also recommend going for a super gentle, natural face wash that won’t strip your skin of any natural oils. It sounds counter-intuitive but taking it easy on your skin can actually encourage it to stop producing so much oil, resulting in less sebum production in the long run!

So what’s the best face cleanser for whiteheads? Here are some of our favorites…


The Foreo Luna2 delivers 8,000 T-Sonic pulsations per minute which go deep into the skin to drive out impurities like oil, dirt and makeup residue from your pores.

Acne/Sensitive Skin Face Wash Cleanser

Sensitive Skin Face Wash Cleanser; 72% Organic & Loaded with The Best Natural Botanical Ingredients;...
  • You Can Get Great Results for your face and skin!ion, Blemish Prone Skin Types!***
  • ~ Plant Oils Maintain Integrity Of Your Skin Without Stripping * Organic Geranium...
  • ~ Lavender, Tea Tree, & Oregano*

This gentle, effective face wash is sulfate-free and contains Tea Tree Oil to disinfect pores and dry out whiteheads.

Best Face Mask for Whiteheads

A deep cleansing face mask is one of the best ways to purge your pores of the excess sebum, dead skin cells and other gunk that’s clogging them up. When it comes to choosing the best face mash for whiteheads, look for one that meets two criteria:

  • Absorbs. The best whitehead masks should contain ingredients that are very absorbent and can draw out and soak up impurities. Activated charcoal and clays like Bentonite, Kaolin and Fuller’s Earth top the list.
  • De-gunks. While absorbent clays and charcoal can draw out and absorb, they fall short of actually breaking down excess sebum or dead skin cells in your pores so look for active ingredients like salicylic acid that can.

So what are the best face masks for whiteheads? Here are our favorites…


Exfoliating & Clarifying UltraMUD - Enhanced with salicylic, tea tree, glycolic, mandelic, and...
  • Salicylic acid, a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is oil-soluble which makes it ideal for the...
  • Glycolic acid is an AHA that is best for improving texture and reducing the...
  • Mandelic acid helps treat a wide range of issues from acne, scarring, fine lines and...

This clay mask is the most potent whitehead mask, formulated with clarifying Bentonite and Kaolin clays as well as a powerful combination of Glycolic, Salicylic, Mandelic, and Azelaic acids to de-clog pores and control sebum production.

Therapeutic Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask

Therapeutic Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask, Maximum-Strength Sulfur Mask for Acne, Clears Up and Helps...
  • Inspired by the refreshing lemongrass
  • Hair is deeply cleansed without drying for a clean and fresh fee
  • Apply to wet hair and lather with a massaging

This face mask for whiteheads also uses Bentonite and Kaolin clay but the star ingredient is the 10% Sulfur, which exfoliate the top layer of your skin, resulting in less oiliness, unclogged pores and fewer whiteheads.

Best Face Scrub for Whiteheads

When it comes to exfoliating whiteheads, we’re not huge fans of traditional exfoliants simply because whiteheads are embedded beneath the skin. So using rough, abrasive beads like St. Ives Apricot scrub won’t do your whiteheads much good.

Instead, look toward facial scrubs that contain other beneficial ingredients for whiteheads along with a gentle scrub. The key is to draw whiteheads out and dissolve them rather than irritating the skin with an abrasive scrubbing.

So what is the best face scrub for whiteheads? Here are our favorites…​

Diva Stuff Face Scrubbie India’s Secret

Diva Stuff Face Scrubbie India’s Secret, Dissolves Blackheads, Whiteheads & Acne, Face Exfoliator...
  • Tumeric, Lemongrass, Cinnamon,Baking Soda,Lemon
  • Blackhead Dissolving Face Scrubbies

Don’t let the simple packaging fool you – this stuff is phenomenal. “Scrubbies” are simply a cotton cloth that come pre-prepped with a solution of turmeric, cinnamon, lemon oil and other goodies to draw whiteheads to the surface so you can scrub them off.

Colbert M.D. Intensify Facial Discs

Colbert M.D. Intensify Facial Discs
  • Helps remove dead cells and stimulate cell renewal
  • Enhances the effectiveness of Colbert MD's daily products
  • Unveils a fresher smoother revived and more radiant complexion

This is unlike any exfoliator you’ve ever tried – these exfoliation “discs” are super soft pads soaked in natural exfoliants like pineapple enzymes and lactic acid. So gentle, so effective – this makes one of the best face scrubs for whiteheads and blackheads.

Best Daily Lotion for Whiteheads

Ah, the daily lotion. It’s probably the most important product when it comes to the fight against whiteheads – after all, what other product stays on your face as long and as often as your lotion?

None, right? And if you think about it…you could really be taking advantage of all those hours your lotion just sits on your face. ​If your current face lotion doesn’t contain any active ingredients that can be beneficial for eliminating whiteheads, you might want to toss it for a daily lotion that comes with benefits.

So what is the daily lotion for whiteheads? Here are our favorites…

Alba Botanica Acnedote

Alba Botanica Acnedote Maximum Strength Oil Control Lotion, 2 Oz
  • One 2 oz. tube of Alba Botanica Acnedote Maximum Strength Oil Control Lotion
  • Treats and prevents acne and breakouts
  • Made with a 2% salicylic acid and willow bark solution

This lightweight yet moisturizing oil-free lotion contains 2% salicylic acid to break down whiteheads and prevent new ones from forming. Perfect to wear during the daytime.

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead

No products found.

Like the matte look? This creamy lotion has 1% salicylic acid and oligopeptide-10 (an antimicrobial peptide) to help clear pores. Goes on great, lets your skin breathe and dries to a matte finish.

Best Cream for Whiteheads

You skin naturally repairs and heals itself while you sleep so it makes sense to take advantage of these rejuvenating hours.

Enter whitehead creams and serums.

Choose ones that contain whitehead-eliminating active ingredients like salicylic acid (can you tell we love this for whiteheads?) and retinols to promote cell turnover and clear whiteheads while you slumber. ​

Skinceuticals Retinol 1

Skinceuticals Retinol 1 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream, 1 Fluid Ounce
  • Contains 1.0% pure retinol and advanced delivery technology
  • Stimulates cell regeneration and collagen production
  • Eliminates appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots

This potent retinol cream works on your skin to increase cell turnover, making it harder for oil to block pores and create whiteheads. ​Extra perks? It also diminishes fine lines and fades dark spots and discoloration.

SkinMedica AHA/BHA Cream

SkinMedica AHA/BHA Brightening Cream, 2 Oz
  • Formulated with alpha, beta, hydroxy acids and antioxidants
  • Helps remove dead cells from skin surface
  • Defends skin from the damage of external aggressions

You already know BHAs like salicylic acid are oil soluble and great for “de-gunking” sebum but they don’t penetrate very deep in to the skin. On the other hands, AHAs like glycolic acid is great for penetration. Combine the two and you have the best cream for whiteheads.

Best Natural Whitehead Treatment

There are creams and serums galore that’ll help you combat whiteheads but some of the most effective whitehead treatments are 100% natural and can be done right at home.

Our favorites? They’ve got to be the oil cleansing method (OCM) which has become super popular, even for people with whitehead and acne-prone skin. If you’re worried that rubbing oil on your skin will lead to more even more excess oil and breakouts – rest assured, oils can actually make your skin less oily. The trick is to use only non-comedogenic oils and choose oils that contain a higher percentage of linoleic acid rather than oleic acid.

You don’t even have to do it every night. Simply massaging your skin every once in awhile with an acne-friendly oil – hemp oil is great – is ​an effectively way to gently dislodge embedded whiteheads. You’ll actually feel the little bumps coming out as you massage which is both disgusting and satisfying.

Another natural whitehead treatment you can do at home is facial steaming, which you can get a facial steamer for or simply heat up some water and then hold your head over it with a towel draped on top to prevent the steam from escaping. This helps open up your pores and soften the sebum for easier whitehead removal. ​

Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Unrefined Hemp Oil

Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Unrefined Hemp Oil, 8 Ounce
  • Nutiva Organic, Cold-Pressed, Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil contains the ideal 3:1 ratio of...
  • All-natural cold press extraction process yields a 100% pure, nutty-tasting,...
  • Hemp Seed Oil known for helping relieve pain, reduce anxiety, provide stress relief,...

Hemp oil has a comedogenic rating of 0 and is made up of 57% linoleic acid which helps signal to your skin that sebum is not needed, leading to less oil production over time.

Panasonic EH-SA33-P Pink

Panasonic EH-SA33-P Pink | Nano-e NanoCare Facial Steamer 100V 50-60Hz (Japanese Import)
  • Panasonic EH-SA33-P Pink | Nano-e NanoCare Facial Steamer 100V 50-60Hz (Japanese...
  • Pink

This facial steamer is small but powerful – it goes up to 40 degrees C (104 F) and helps hydrate your face and open up your pores.

Best Spot Treatment for Whiteheads

Got an annoyingly stubborn whitehead that refuses to get off your face? Dab some spot treatment on the sucker.

Just keep in mind that you don’t want to reach for the typical harsh, acne-bacteria-fighting treatments that’s available for acne. Whiteheads differ from pimples in that there’s no infection or inflammation in whiteheads so using harsh acne products on them can actually make them worse by causing dry skin cell buildup, which traps the oil in the skin longer.

So what’s the best spot treatment for whiteheads? Again, acids are your friend…

Unblemished Acne Spot Treatment

Unblemished Acne Spot Treatment by Elements of Beauty - Best Skin Care Acne Removal Treatment:...
  • ALL-NATURAL, ORGANIC ACNE TREATMENT INGREDIENTS: Our pimple treatment contains...
  • REDUCE BLEMISHES AND ACNE SPOTS: Acne forms when oil, dead skin and bacteria become...

This lightweight spot treatment combines de-gunking salicylic acid with exfoliating retinols to break down and purge whiteheads.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, 1 Fl Oz
  • The best acne spot treatment period.
  • For ALL skin types.
  • Shrinks whiteheads overnight.

This classic pimple product is equally great for whiteheads  – it’s also got salicylic acid along with zinc oxide and sulfur to control oil production and dry out whiteheads.

Best Chemical Peel for Whiteheads

Chemical peels are an intense whitehead treatment and one that you want to make sure you’re ready for before you try. That being said, they’re not as scary as they sound and you can do them right at home as long as you follow the instructions to a T and start slow.

That means, choosing the lowest concentrations and working your way up. Remember: chemical peels are potent and that’s the very thing that makes them so useful for treating whiteheads.

Here’s how they work: They deliver a super concentrated ​of exfoliating, de-gunking acids that work by bringing the pH of your skin to a higher acidity level. This chemically loosens the “glue” that binds dead and damaged skin cells, promoting exfoliation and stimulating new cell growth.

What are the best chemical peels to get started with? Here are our favorites…

Philosophy Microdelivery

Philosophy Microdelivery Triple-Acid Peel Pads, 12-count
  • A microdelivery, skin brightening peeling treatment
  • With a triple-acid formula that illuminates dull skin
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines, dark spots and discoloration

If you’ve never had a peel before, start with this one. It’s a very gentle peel that combines Mandelic Acid (great for blemishes), Azelaic Acid (great for oil control) and Phytic Acid (great for cell turnover). Perfect for beginners.

Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel

Salicylic Acid 20% Gel Peel Including After Peel Neutralizer Facial Peel Contains Retinol Enhanced...
  • THE MOST EFFECTIVE PEEL FOR ACNE. This 20% Salicylic Acid Chemical Peel by RC Retin...
  • CORRECTS SUN DAMAGED SKIN, AGE SPOTS & WRINKLES. Salicylic Acid was once used mainly...

If you’re a little more familiar with chemical peels, this is a great at home starter peel kit that has an effective concentration of pore-clearing salicylic acid combined with skin-brightening and exfoliating ingredients.

Best Treatment for Whiteheads

Okay, we’ve arrived at the end – by now, you’re armed with an arsenal of the best products for whiteheads but the list would not be complete without these whitehead treatments…

Alba Botanica Acnedote Maximum Strength

6 Piece Set Blackhead Remover and Acne Extractor Kit Specifically Treats Face Blemishes, Pimples,...
  • ✅ PACKAGED IN A BEAUTIFUL GIFTBOX AND CASE – Got a friend or family member...

Sometimes, whiteheads refuse to come out with gentle coaxing and need to be physically removed. This kit contains everything you need for whitehead removal, including a needly pick to get out even the most stubborn whiteheads.

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead

Baby Quasar MD Blue Skincare Therapy Device
  • Kill Acne Bacteria
  • 50% Larger Treatment Area
  • Lifetime Warranty

Blue light is best for zapping acne bacteria but it also has the effect of causing oil glands to shrink in size, which cuts down on oil production over time, eliminating whiteheads without pain or irritation.

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