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whiteheadsA whitehead is a type of acne that forms when dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria become trapped within one of your pores. Whiteheads can be annoying, and they may seem to develop at the worst times. The good news, however, is that whiteheads can be prevented with a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatments.

Understanding the cause of whiteheads can help you know what to do to prevent future breakouts. Clogged pores are the main cause of whiteheads. Your pores can become blocked for several reasons.

One cause of blocked pores is hormonal changes, which are common triggers of acne. Certain life stages can increase the amount of sebum, or oil, your pores produce. The increased oil production causes clogged pores and whiteheads. These stages include:

  • puberty
  • menstruation
  • pregnancy
  • menopause

Taking birth control pills can also increase hormone levels and cause acne in women. Likewise, some women notice more acne during certain stages of their menstrual cycles once they stop taking birth control pills.

A whitehead can develop anywhere on your body. The nose, chin, and forehead are collectively known as the T-zone. The oily parts of your face, such as the T-zone, are the most prone to acne. But you may also develop whiteheads on your chest, back, shoulders, and arms. Acne can occur in both genders and at any age. Even if you never had problems with whiteheads as a teen, you can still develop them at some point during adulthood.

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