It is hard to miss a blackhead when it makes an appearance. This pesky form of acne is particularly conspicuous. Blackheads that form in the ear can be especially irritating. Read on for more information about how to treat this issue.
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What Are Blackheads?
Blackheads are tiny bumps found on the surface of the skin. These skin annoyances form when hair follicles become clogged with excess dirt and sebum. Their name comes from the black appearance that the bumps exhibit. This black color occurs when the excess material becomes oxidized by air. As a form of mild acne, blackheads often require special treatment if you want to reduce their appearance.
Where Can Blackheads Develop?
Although blackheads are most commonly found on the face, their location can vary. Other areas that are susceptible to blackhead breakouts include the neck, back, chest, arms, inner ears, and shoulders. The treatment options remain the same regardless of the location of the blackheads.
What Causes Ear Blackheads?
An ear blackhead forms when the hair follicles on the skin become clogged with too much sebum. Sebum is the natural oil that is produced by the body to keep skin soft and supple. An excess of sebum production leads to a bump forming on the surface of the skin. Exposure to air causes the bump to turn black, giving the blemish its name.
There are a variety of factors that lead to ear blackheads:
- Hormonal changes such as puberty and pregnancy can aggravate the skin and cause breakouts.
- An excess of too much oil or acne-causing bacteria can also lead to the formation of inner ear blackheads.
- Hair follicle irritation is one of the most common triggers of ear blackhead formations.
- Some types of medications make the skin more susceptible to ear blackhead flare-ups.
As a reminder, ear blackheads form for the same reasons as other types of blackheads. Fortunately, the treatment is the same.
How to Get Rid of Ear Blackheads
1. Wash Regularly
A regular cleansing routine is the first line of defense against ear blackhead formation. A thorough cleansing twice daily will remove the excess dirt, oil, and other environmental impurities that lead to the formation of acne. Daily cleansing prevents the buildup of the elements that clog pores.
A proper cleansing routine also prepares the skin to more effectively receive the benefits of other skin care products such as exfoliants, masks, moisturizers, and more. Because you do not want to use these products on dirty skin, it is important to start with a clean slate.
2. Exfoliate with a BHA Exfoliant (Salicylic Acid)
Salicylic acid is the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) proven to be effective in the treatment of acne and ear blackheads. Studies show that a leave-on exfoliator will strip away dead skin cells and help to prevent ear blackheads. The treatment sloughs away dead skin cells, revealing clearer skin in its place. BHA exfoliators also dig deep into the pores to cleanse away impurities.
3. Use an Oil-Absorbing Mask
Oil-absorbing masks help to reduce plugged pores. Clean pores lead to clear skin. The key ingredient that you want to look for in an oil-absorbing mask is bentonite. In studies, bentonite clay has been used to draw out excess sebum. Because of it’s ability to draw out sebum, it will also reduce oil and ear blackheads. Many people erroneously believe that masks pull out blackheads. This is a myth that is perpetuated online and is not true.
4. Use a Blackhead Extraction Tool
A specifically designed blackhead extraction device can be an invaluable device in your treatment regiment. These tools are for use on mature acne. Although the skin may be slightly red after extraction, this irritation should fade quickly. The tool needs to properly sanitized and used only according to the included directions. Additionally, a comedone extractor tool may help with the hard to reach inner ear blackheads.
Best Products for Ear Blackheads
1. Stridex Red
These pre-moistened pads are a convenient and budget-friendly cleansing product. These pads boast a concentration of two percent salicylic acid for maximum effectiveness. The cleansing pads are the highest strength of acne medication available over the counter. The design of the textured pad strips away sebum and dirt particles, working deep into clogged pores. Because this product carries a slight fragrance, it is not a good choice if your skin is sensitive to perfumes. Although this is a good value-driven choice, there are more premium products available if you can afford them.
2. Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Exfoliant
This product boasts a cult-like following and it is easy to see why. The exceptional ability of this product to clean out pores and even overall skin tone has won over many users. With a concentration of two percent salicylic acid, the exfoliant peels always old skin cells to reveal the new. The leave-on formula works hard all through the night. Although this product is slightly more expensive than the Stridex pads, the formula will likely yield better results.
3. Paula’s Choice RESIST 4% BHA
The high level of BHA in this product makes it a good choice for when the two percent BHA formula is not performing as desired. Although the four percent may be too strong for use on the face, it may be an ideal choice for the tougher areas of skin inside the ear. The antioxidants in this leave-on treatment unclog pores and minimize the visible appearance of ear blackheads. The powerful concentration of salicylic acid delivers a strong treatment choice.
4. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay
This distinctive facial mask uses a concentration of 100 percent calcium bentonite clay to provide a deep cleansing of the pores. For best results, the clay combines with your choice of apple cider vinegar or water. Then apply the mixture to the face in a thin layer of healing power. After the mixture sets for 5-15 minutes, rinse off the mask so that no residue is left behind. The skin will feel thoroughly cleansed and rejuvenated after the treatment.
5. BESTOPE Blackhead Remover and Comedone Extractor Tool
Although it is not good to pull out blackheads with bare fingers, a specially designed tool can be useful when used properly. This six-piece kit comes equipped with everything that you need to safely and effectively extract ear blackheads from the surface of the skin. The expertly engineered stainless steel antibacterial coating protects even the most sensitive skin. The tool is ideal for mature acne extraction.
If you have exhausted the many OTC treatment options designed to combat ear blackheads, it may be time to look into the professional options. Here are three of the most common professional treatment recommendations in the fight against ear blackheads.
1. Chemical Peels
Chemical peels work by exfoliating and stripping off dead skin cells. The treatment serves a variety of purposes. In addition to helping to unclog pores, chemical peels can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The skin becomes more clean and clearer when the acne-causing bacteria is stripped off.
Most peels use a combination of either alpha or beta hydroxy acids. There are a variety of strengths available to consumers. Light peels are fast and efficient with little visible effects after the procedure. Chemical peels are available at a variety of locations, including day spas or dermatologist offices.
2. Manual Extractions
It is not uncommon for trained estheticians to perform manual extractions as part of the facial process. During this process, the thick plug of excess oil and dirt is gently encouraged out of the pore. The greatest benefit of this treatment is that the results are immediate.
After the skin is lightly steamed, the esthetician will coax the impurities out of the pore using either fingers or a tool. Manual extractions are ideal for treatment on blackheads on any part of the body. Inflamed blackheads should never be manually extracted. Extraction performed on inflamed acne can lead to scarring and further irritation of the skin.
3. Topical Retinoids
Derived from vitamin A, topical retinoids are some of the most powerful weapons in the fight against blackhead breakouts. Topical retinoids are available through prescription only. As the gold standard for treating blackheads and whiteheads, this treatment works by encouraging the production of new skin cells. The acne-causing oil and dirt are pushed out of the clogged pores when the new cells are formed. The three topical retinoid drugs are tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene.
When to See a Dermatologist
There is a myriad of OTC products available today designed to treat inner ear blackheads. However, not all people experience the same level of results. If these treatment options have not brought you success, it is wise to consult the help of a trained dermatologist.
If your ear blackheads continue to come back, a dermatologist can help to excise the issue once and for all. Professional extraction tools help because they reach the areas that cannot be accessed on your own at home. A dermatologist can also prescribe stronger medications that might prove more helpful than OTC options.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to address get rid of and prevent ear blackheads is to practice effective preventative measures.
- Taking care to wash your ears carefully every day goes a long way.
- Washing your hair daily will also keep oil from landing in the ear and clogging pores.
- Anything that is near or in your ear also needs to be cleaned regularly. This includes pillowcases, earbuds, and cell phones.
- It is tempting to want to pop the blackhead using your fingers. However, this act can cause even more irritation and scarring. Using a specially engineered extraction tool is a better choice.
- When selecting skin care products, be sure to look for non-comedogenic ingredients. Avoid anything overtly thick/creamy in texture.
- Lastly, sometimes less is more. Applying too much acne treatment to the affected area can exacerbate the problem. Be careful to not dry out the skin with too much of a good thing.
Can you use essential oils to treat inner ear blackheads?
Essential oils are not an effective treatment protocol for removing inner ear blackheads. Although their use may be safe, essential oils will not produce satisfactory results. You are better off sticking to the scientifically proven methods that are recommended above.
A study reported this conclusion – Many plants seem to have inhibitory effects on the growth of bacteria, fungi and viruses in vitro. However, there are a few clinical evidences about the effectiveness and safety of these plants in the treatment of acne and other skin infections.
Does blackhead removal hurt?
Nope – having blackheads removed professionally is a painless procedure and is nothing to fear. A trained dermatologist has the tools and knowledge to make this a quick and easy procedure.
Are inner ear blackheads different from other types of blackheads?
It does not matter where on the body the blackheads pop up. All blackheads are the same. Inner ear blackheads require the same treatment protocol of any other type. However, ear blackheads may be trickier to access due to their location.