How to Drain Whiteheads

by Melissa King ; Updated July 18, 2017

Lancing lets you drain whiteheads safely.

Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Whiteheads pop up when pores get clogged with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. It's tempting to squeeze and pick at your whiteheads, but that's a ticket to bleeding, scarring and even an infection. If you just can't wait for the bump to go away on its own, lancing is a better idea. To lance, insert a sterilized needle into the whitehead. This drains the sebum and other fluid and allows the skin to heal more quickly.

Dip a cloth in rubbing alcohol and use it to sterilize a sewing needle.

Apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the whitehead with a cotton swab. This sanitizes the skin, killing germs and bacteria that can cause infection.

Stand in front of a well-lit mirror, then hold the needle parallel to the whitehead.

Slide the needle carefully into the white tip of the pimple, then push it through to the other end.

Lift the needle up slowly to pull away the tip of the whitehead. Allow the sebum and other fluid to drain.

Moisten a cloth with a benzoyl-peroxide solution, then dab the lanced whitehead gently. This disinfects the broken skin.

Smooth a bit of antibacterial cream over the drained whitehead, then cover it up with a small, round bandage. This will soak up any remaining fluid and protect the skin from infection.


  • If you're not comfortable draining a whitehead yourself, a dermatologist may be able to do it for you.

    Lance whiteheads at night before bedtime so your skin has time to heal.

    Cleanse your skin with products containing salicylic acid to encourage skin-cell turnover and clear acne.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.