White pimples, or whiteheads, are acne bumps caused by clogged pores. They occur when a hair follicle gets blocked with oil or sebum, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Whiteheads can be treated for most people with proper washing and over-the-counter topical medications. Unfortunately, up to 40 percent of teenagers will require treatment for their acne from a dermatologist. It is worth a visit to the doctor if your acne is severe or does not respond to non-prescription medications.
Use a mild face soap to cleanse your skin of surface oils twice a day, no more. Be gentle and apply the soap with your fingers using circular motions. Wash with warm water. Avoid wash cloths and harsh scrubbers as they may irritate your skin and increase your acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology in their article "12 Ways to Get Better Results From Acne Treatment."
Let your skin dry for five to 15 minutes and then apply a topical acne medication for whiteheads in the morning. Choose a cream, gel or lotion with resorcinol, sulfur and/or salicylic acid. These ingredients may help eliminate whiteheads, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health. Apply the product once a day unless otherwise instructed by your dermatologist.
Apply a topical medication containing benzoyl peroxide at night after washing your face. Bezoyl peroxide may cause your skin to make less oil, so there is less of a chance of oil clogging your pores to produce more whiteheads. It also kills P. acnes, a skin bacteria that contributes to the formation of whiteheads, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
Follow this regimen for at least eight weeks before deciding if it is working. If no improvement is seen, ask your dermatologist for prescription-strength topical medications and possibly an oral antibiotic. Follow your doctor's instructions precisely. He or she may give you more than one medication, as there may be more than one cause for your acne. Use only the products prescribed and use them only as directed.
Do not try to pop or pinch a whitehead. At best, you will simply increase how long the acne will remain and the likelihood of developing more acne, and at worst you can cause permanent scars, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.