Medical Definition of Whitehead

Whitehead: A familiar term for what is medically called a closed comedo. A comedo, the primary sign of acne, consists of a dilated (widened) hair follicle filled with keratin squamae (skin debris), bacteria, and sebum (oil). A whitehead is a comedo that has an obstructed opening to the skin. A closed comedo may rupture and cause a low-grade skin inflammatory reaction in the area.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2021