Blackheads In Ears? Causes And Treatments To Get Rid Of Them
“Normal” blackheads on the face or back are already hard to remove. But when they appear anywhere on the body, blackheads in ears are especially terrifying to remove and clean since this is a sensitive area prone to infection.
So if you’re asking: “Why and how do I get blackhead in my ear? What can I do about it?”, read on to find out in the sections that follow!
1. What Are Blackheads?
Blackheads or comedones are small, dark bumps on your skin that appear due to clogged pores or hair follicles.
Regarding their composition, blackheads are made up of sebum or an oily substance produced by sebaceous glands, dead skin cells, and bacteria. These form a plug at the opening of a hair follicle.
Blackheads get their name because of the black or dark color due to the oxidation of sebum upon exposure to air. They can also be grayish, brownish, or yellowish.
Blackheads are a common type of acne that usually appears on the T-zone of the face. However, it can also occur in other parts of the body like your back, shoulders, arms, chest, neck, or even your ears. Basically, any part of the skin that produces too much oil is prone to blackheads.
When pimples or blackheads develop on your ears, it can be extremely painful or uncomfortable due to the sensitivity of the skin there. Removing blackheads from this area is also not that simple as simple mistakes can lead to wounding, scarring, or infection.
Blackheads in ears can develop both on the outer parts or the inner ear canal, both of which have hair follicles. Blackheads can also affect your ear cartilage, ear lobe, ear canal, or near a piercing site. Although possible, blackheads don’t usually appear behind the ears as there are no hair follicles in this area.
2. What Causes Blackheads In Ears?
There are many reasons as to why blackheads may occur in your ears. Here are some of the factors and causes that contribute to blackheads occurring in the ears.
- Excess production of oil by the sebaceous glands
- Bacterial build up on the skin surface, specifically of Propionibacterium acnes.
- Improper or infrequent shedding off and turnover of dead skin cells, which can cause irritation of the hair follicles
- Hormonal changes during menstruation, puberty, pregnancy, or due to birth control methods
- Side effects of taking certain drugs and medications such as lithium, androgens, and corticosteroids
- Certain foods and drinks like carbohydrates and dairy products, although there’s still no scientific evidence regarding this
- Accumulation of dead cells and ear wax because of failure to clean inside the ears as required
3. Tips On How To Get Rid Of Ear Blackheads
Because of the dangers of getting ear infections, the removal of blackheads as well as the cleaning process can be quite challenging. However, here are some tips that can help you get rid of blackheads in your ears:
- Using salicylic acid or glycolic acid on the affected area consistently. Products based on these acids can also work.
- Cleaning your ears properly. Removal of excess oil and ear wax should be done, but you also cannot constantly be picking on your ears with cotton buds. What you have to do is gently wash your ears every time you shower or take a bath. Then, dry them with a washcloth or soft towel carefully. A mild soap or cleanser like Rejuvoderm by Solvaderm can also help remove dead skin cells and dirt, as well as moisturize, clean, exfoliate, and rehydrate the skin.
- Exfoliate using a gentle exfoliant to get rid of dead skin cells. For your ears, you can exfoliate on the outer parts, but not inside, as this can lead to obstruction or the product reaching too far inside. Salicylic acid is a good exfoliant that you can apply on outer blackheads with a cotton ball.
- Open up your pores by soaking a washcloth in warm or hot water then holding it on your ears or wherever you have blackheads for at least five minutes. This will open up your pores and make cleaning easier. You can do this before extraction or exfoliation.
- Use a blackhead extractor, or consult a professional to do this for you. This is more effective and causes less skin damage. Part of the challenge with blackheads in the ears is that you can’t see them. So, it can be dangerous to try and use an extractor by yourself. If you have a willing friend that you trust, you can ask them to do it for you. First, disinfect the extractor and the skin to be extracted with rubbing alcohol. Then, carefully place the tip of the tool on the blackhead and apply a little pressure. Avoid pressing too hard. If it’s painful or the blackhead cannot be extracted, stop trying as forcing this can scar or infect your ears.
- Avoid touching and do not squeeze blackheads in the ears, or anywhere in the body. Your hands may contain dirt and bacteria that can increase your blackheads, or infect the area.
- Consult a dermatologist for persisting blackhead problems and for ways to prevent and remove blackheads.
- Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion can be recommended for rough skin and clogged pores. This is usually done by experts using special tools.
- Over-the-counter medications that contain salicylic acid, resorcinol, or benzoyl peroxide help treat blackheads, kill bacteria, and remove excess oil and dead skin cells.
- Dermatological expert Ellen Marmur of Mount Sinai Medical Center said that applying retinol on the skin with a cotton swab and careful, circular motions can prevent dead skin cell buildup in the pores and help avoid blackheads.
- Prescription strength topical Vitamin A medications like adapalene, tazarotene, and tretinoin prevent the formation of plugs inside hair follicles as well as promote rapid skin cell turnover.
- At night, you can use glycolic acid to clean the flat outer parts of the ear, allowing it to stay for around ten seconds. This can help, but you should watch out for redness, peeling, or irritation.
There are many ways to remove blackheads in the ears, but I would recommend consulting a dermatologist or specialist before attempting to do any of these. If you follow these tips and explore your treatment choices, you’ll surely be free from pesky ear blackheads!
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