Difference Between Whiteheads and Blackheads

The skin of an individual happens to be the most precious part of the body for some people, but to our dissatisfaction, not always the skin happens to be in its best form.

A very common issue, but the skin of many people happens to be acne, and there can be many types of this particular problem.  

Whiteheads and blackheads are basically two varieties of acne that can be found in many people. Some people tend to use these two terms interchangeably, but the reality is that these two terms differ from one another so much. 

Whiteheads vs Blackheads 

The main difference between Whiteheads and Blackheads is that the former represents those hair follicles on the skin of an individual that remain hidden inside the skin and thus seem to be white in color but on the other hand, the latter represents those hair follicles on the skin of an individual that remains exposed outside of the skin and thus turn into a darker shade. 

Whiteheads vs Blackheads

Whiteheads are simply some hair follicles on the skin of an individual that becomes clogged due to certain reasons.

A very distinguished feature about these follicles is that they stay hidden inside their skin and do not expose themselves to the outer atmosphere. Because of this particular reason, these follicles do not turn into any darker shade and remain whitish in color. 

But on the other hand, Blackheads are those follicles that somehow get exposed in the air and, because of certain specific reasons, turn into a darker shade of color.

These are very similar to whiteheads but differ in terms of certain properties, color shades, etc. Because of being exposed to the atmosphere for too long, their color changes, and they become something that looks like black. 

Comparison Table Between Whiteheads and Blackheads 

Parameters of Comparison Whiteheads Blackheads  
Meaning  The term refers to certain hair follicles inside of a person’s skin the term refers to certain hair follicles found outside of a person’s skin 
Position  these follicles are present inside the skin and happen to be hidden these follicles are present outside the skin and happen to be exposed 
Colour  whitish in color blackish in color 
Causes  excess production of sebum on the skin can be the reason behind this disease The presence of Propionibacterium acne bacteria on the skin of a person can be a reason behind this disease 
Other names  Closed skin follicle open skin follicle 

What are Whiteheads? 

At certain times, the excess sebum produced on the skin of a person or the dead cells of the skin may clog some of the pores of the skin, and due to this particular process, the skin pores become clogged and eventually covered by a thin layer of the skin.

When these clogged pores are covered by the skin, they appear just like a bump up on the skin, and no one can actually see what is behind those bumps. 

Such bumps are known as whiteheads and can occur in many people between the age of 18 to 26. These are also known as closed skin follicles because they do not expose themselves in the outer atmosphere and stay hidden inside the skin of a person.

In most cases, whiteheads affect the face, neck, chest, etc. 

After certain scientific studies, it has been found that the excess production of sebum in the skin of a person can cause whiteheads, but in reality, there can be many other reasons behind this particular situation.

For example, there can be hereditary reasons, or these can also be caused by certain medicines or due to hormonal changes. 

What are Blackheads? 

When some of the skin pores become clogged due to certain reasons, there is a probability that they appear right on the surface of the skin.

These particular follicles that appear on the surface of the skin are known as blackheads, and as the name suggests, they happen to be blackish in color.  

The reason behind their particular color is that due to being exposed to the atmosphere, they gain certain colors because of pollution and many other factors.

In most cases, it is found that blackheads affect the nose of a person, but the probability of these affecting other parts of the body cannot be denied at any cost as it is a form of acne and can occur to almost any person on any part of his body.  

Although there can be many reasons behind how this particular situation occurs but the most prominent one among them is the presence of Propionibacterium acne bacteria on the skin of a person.

Also, if the dead cells on the skin of a person do not go away by themselves, they can also lead towards this particular situation. 

Main Differences Between Whiteheads and Blackheads 

  1. Whiteheads refer to those hair follicles that are found inside of a person’s skin, while on the other hand, Blackheads are found outside of a person’s skin. 
  2. Whiteheads stay hidden inside the skin while, on the other hand, Blackheads stay exposed on the skin. 
  3. Whiteheads happen to be whitish in color, while on the other hand, Blackheads happen to be blackish in color. 
  4. Whiteheads are also known as closed skin follicles while on the other hand, Blackheads are also known as open skin follicles. 
  5. Whiteheads are usually caused because of the excess production of sebum, while on the other hand, Blackheads occur due to the presence of a particular bacteria on the skin. 
Difference Between Whiteheads and Blackheads


The skin of many individuals happens to be prone to many types of different diseases, and acne happens to be one of the most common and normal ones.

However, there can be many ways in which acne can occur to any person, and whiteheads and blackheads are two of such ways. 

Because of the similarity found between the names of these two diseases, there can be confusion for many people as to what they entail and what they actually mean, but in reality, there are a lot of differences that lie between these two terms that need to be understood for the better understanding of acne in a person’s skin. 


  1. https://www.getroman.com/health-guide/blackhead-vs-whitehead-vs-pimple/ 
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2133.2000.03531.x  
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