5 Ways To Get Rid Of Blackheads In The Ears & Prevention Tips

Not the most easy-to-remove location, but the plugs can be extracted and cleared up.

Medically reviewed by Dr. CP Thajudheen, MD
Written by Swathi E, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Anjali Sayee, BTech
Fact-checked by Monomita Chakraborty, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

You may develop blackheads on different parts of your face and body, including ears. And it could be quite a task to get rid of blackheads in ears, compared to other body parts. It is because the outer ear, where you get the blackheads, is close to the sensitive inner structures of the ear and also because of the peculiar contour of the external ear. Hence, you have to proceed with caution. Read this article to understand the proper ways to get rid of blackheads on your ears and prevention tips.

What Are Blackheads?

Blackheads are the tiny black bumps that form on your skin when dead cells and dirt clog the pores and block sebum. This build-up in the sebaceous glandsi  XGlands of hair follicles that secrete sebum, a skin lubricant that protects against friction and seals moisture. produces bumps on the skin (1). The clogged material oxidizes when exposed to air (as the top of the pores is open) and turns black.

Blackheads can form anywhere on the body, especially if you have oily skin. But they are commonly seen on the chin, nose, and forehead. But, your ears are no exception.

protip_icon Fun Fact
In medical terms, a blackhead is called an “open comedo.” Historically, it was a word used to refer to worms that devour the body. Blackheads get the name for their worm-like appearance.

Why do blackheads form in your ear? Let’s hear it from an expert. Keep scrolling!

What Causes Blackheads In Your Ears?

Dr. Robin Evans, a board-certified dermatologist, says blackheads in the ears are common in people with acne-prone skin. “It is especially common in those who have blackheads on other parts of the face as well,” she says.

The skin inside your ear has hundreds of microscopic hair follicles and glands that produce oil and earwax. These substances make the skin more susceptible to blackheads. Genetic factors, different immune responses, hormonal fluctuations, and stress could also be factors that can increase clogged pores, though more research is required to prove the same.

protip_icon Did You Know?
When the sebum touches the pore’s surface, the melanin in it gets oxidized. This is what gives blackheads the black color.

Most of you may know how to remove blackheads from your face. But, what about your ears? Scroll down to find out.

How To Get Rid Of Blackheads From The Ears?

There are some simple things you can do to remove the blackheads in your ears.

1. Wash Your Ears Regularly

Wash your ears daily to remove the dirt, excess oil, and other impurities.
You can use a cleanser that contains salicylic acidi  XAn ingredient that helps reduce blackheads, whiteheads, and mild to moderate acne by exfoliating the skin and keeping the pores unclogged. –an effective and safe solution for acne lesions (2).

  • Rub your ears with a cotton ball soaked in the cleanser.
  • Wipe it off with a clean cotton ball and rinse your ears.
  • Tilt your head to the side to prevent the cleanser from dripping into your inner ear.

2. Exfoliate Your Ears

Exfoliation helps you remove the dead skin cells that are clogging your pores. Exfoliators containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha-hydroxy acids are effective in treating acne-related issues (3), (4).

  • Take some exfoliant on your finger and rub it gently onto the blackheads in your ear. Leave it on for 2-3 minutes.
  • Wipe it off with a clean cotton ball or a soft cloth.
  • Exfoliate your ears once a week.

Note: Improper and excessive ear exfoliation may cause redness and itching. Ensure that you adjust the concentration of these exfoliators based on your skin type to avoid adverse effects.

3. Use Acne Medications

Use acne medications or topical antibiotics like retinoids and adapalene for recurrent blackheads (5). You can also use benzoyl peroxide for blackheads. It is a common, effective over-the-counter treatment that fights acne by killing the acne-causing bacteria and unclogging the pores (6). You can find it in various forms, like creams, gels, and face washes. But, while it is great at fighting pimples, it also has its downsides. It may cause some dryness or redness, especially when you start using it. That is why it is crucial to follow the recommended instructions and start with a lower-strength formula if your skin is on the delicate side.

You can also use over-the-counter medications to get rid of blackheads in your ears overnight. Medications containing ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha-hydroxy acids can help unclog pores and remove blackheads. If you have any skin conditions, consult your doctor before using over-the-counter acne medications.

Though there are manual extraction methods as well, it is best to consult a professional to do so.

Dr. Robin Evans says, “The topical medications target the keratin build-up that causes blackheads.” They are available at 0.3% formulation (gel) as prescription medications and 0.1% formulation (cream) as over-the-counter products. “Though the stronger is more effective, one could try the over-the-counter product to get started with the treatment,” she adds.

4. Extract The Blackheads

Consider removing the blackheads with an extraction tool if these methods do not work. This tool helps you to release the oil within the affected pores.

Manual extractions can be the best pick if you want to know how to get blackheads out of ears. The extractions are quite difficult to do on yourself. Hence, Dr. Evans advises getting an experienced medical professional to perform this procedure. A professional will know how much pressure to apply on the skin, at which angle, and the safety precautions to be taken.

Carolyn, a retired aesthetician, spoke about how ear blackheads are difficult to extract due to the confined space. She went into detail about how she extracted ear blackheads during her sessions with her clients. She said, “I treat the inside ear with an essential oil solution (for me, this is the toner I use), and when I put the clay mask on my client’s face, I put some in the ear, too (i).”

Blackheads may occur even after you remove them. So, you should know how to prevent them. Keep scrolling for a list of tips you can follow.

How To Prevent Blackhead Formation In Your Ears

Keeping your ears clean and free of excess oil is important to prevent the formation of blackheads. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Clean your ears daily with a cotton ball or a soft cloth.
  • Avoid touching your ears frequently as it can trigger a breakout.
  • Clean everything that comes in contact with your ears weekly, including your mobile phone and pillowcases. This helps avoid the build-up of dirt and bacteria in your ears.
  • Use only non-comedogenic skin care products.
  • Keep your unwashed hair tied back to prevent the oil from transferring into your ears.
  • Do not pop blackheads with your nails or pins as it can cause irritation and further breakouts. It may also cause an infection and inflammation that may lead to painful and swollen pimples.
  • Do not apply acne products more often than recommended. This may dry out your skin and lead to excess oil production, leading to more blackheads.

Wondering when you should consult a dermatologist? Find out in the next section.

When Should You See A Dermatologist?

Visit a dermatologist if none of the methods mentioned above work for you. As stated earlier, it is always recommended to visit a dermatologist to remove blackheads with an extraction tool.

Moreover, self-extraction of blackheads from the ear can be painful. The ear cartilage is sensitive. A dermatologist will loosen the blackheads with a pointed scalpel blade and extract them with a cotton tip applicator. They can also prescribe medicines to remove as well as prevent blackheads.

Infographic: Can Headphones Cause Blackheads?

A lack of some simple headphone hygiene is why your headphones may be causing blackheads in your ears. Headphone hygiene refers to regularly cleaning your headphones. However, other issues connected to headphones can also play a role. Learn how to prevent blackheads in your ears caused by your earphones by checking out the infographic below.

can headphones cause blackheads (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

The first step to preventing blackheads is to keep your ears clean and clear excess oil and dirt and follow a regular skincare regimen. So, wash your ears regularly and exfoliate them once a week. Avoid squeezing blackheads with your fingernails or fingers. Use non-comedogenic skin care productsi  XA product formulated to reduce acne breakouts and keep skin supple without clogging the skin bores. on your ears. Acne medications and comedone treatments can also be used to get rid of blackheads. If none of these methods work, see a dermatology expert for different removal options. They can safely and properly remove blackheads using specialized extraction tools. Since you may not be able to see well inside or even behind your ear, this could be far more successful than performing the extractions yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does blackhead removal in the ears hurt?

No, blackhead removal in the ears does not hurt. However, it may cause pain and further breakouts if you try to extract them by yourself. So, visit an experienced professional.

Can you use essential oils to treat blackheads in the ears?

You can use essential oils like tea tree oil to treat blackheads in the ear. Dilute it with any carrier oil and apply it as a cleanser. Rinse it off after 5 minutes. Applying it regularly may help unclog the pores.

How do get rid of blackheads in your ears overnight?

If you are wondering about how to get rid of blackheads in ears overnight, try the most common method of applying blackhead removal strips. Usually people use pore strips to remove blackheads overnight. However, it will be difficult to use them on your ears. So, it is better to get them extracted by a professional.

Does hydrogen peroxide clear blackheads in the ear?

No. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that hydrogen peroxide can help clear blackheads in the ear. In addition, it can irritate the skin and cause discomfort if used frequently.

Will rubbing alcohol remove blackheads in the ear?

No. Rubbing alcohol cannot help remove blackheads in the ear. It can only help disinfect the area and cleanse it.

Can a toothbrush remove blackheads in the ear?

A toothbrush may be used as a scrub to get rid of blackheads in the ear. However, it is inadvisable to do so, as blackheads are deep-seated and unlikely to be removed by a toothbrush. In addition, the bristles may injure the sensitive skin in the ear.

Is witch hazel good for blackheads in the ear?

Witch hazel works as a disinfectant and may help cleanse the area around the ear thoroughly, removing dirt, buildup, and excess sebum and may be used as a preventive measure against blackheads. However, there is no evidence to suggest that it can help get rid of existing blackheads.

Key Takeaways

  • The skin inside the ear has numerous glands that produce oil and earwax, making the skin more susceptible to blackheads.
  • Washing the ears daily to remove the dirt, excess oil, and other impurities with cleansers containing salicylic acid can help treat and prevent blackheads.
  • Do not try to extract blackheads without professional help.

Get rid of pesky blackheads in 3 simple ways. Check out this video to remove blackheads easily at home for flawless and healthy ears.

Personal Experience: Source


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  1. Acne: Overview
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  3. Novel retinoid ester in combination with salicylic acid for the treatment of acne
  4. Two is better than one: The combined effects of glycolic acid and salicylic acid on acne-related disorders
  5. Management of acne
  6. Topical benzoyl peroxide for acne
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