Whiteheads can be distinguished from blackheads by their color (although some blackheads can be yellow in appearance), and by their size: whiteheads have a smaller opening in the skin as compared to blackheads. In fact some whiteheads may not be visible to the casual eye. Due to the size of this opening, the buildup under the skin does not come in much contact with air, and thus remains white. (Remember that in the case of blackheads, the black color of the buildup is caused by oxidization.)
Whiteheads are different from pimples in that they are primarily under the epidermis and must be removed with care. Whiteheads should not be squeezed as this may result in lasting scars. The only effective treatment against whiteheads is to create and follow a skin care regimen.
Salicylic acid and alpha hydroxyl acid are two ingredients that are known to be effective against whiteheads. Choose products that contain these or similarly effective ingredients, and make them part of a larger regimen which includes regular moisturizing, exfoliating and steaming the pores to help the skin breathe.