Acne in the Ears

If you’ve noticed that acne in the ears has become a more common occurrence lately, you’re not the only one. With the proliferation of ear bud, headphone and cell phone usage, it’s no wonder that pimples in the outer ear and ear canal have become an issue that more of us are dealing with.

Like anywhere else on the body, the ears have skin with pores that are not immune to becoming clogged by dirt, sweat, oil and dead skin cells. Just like on the face, whiteheads and blackheads can develop in the ears. If not treated properly, these blemishes are also susceptible to becoming infected. And because the skin in the ears is quite thin, acne here can seem disproportionately painful.

Luckily, acne in the ears can be treated in the same way as that on the face. Using a salicylic acid treatment like Neostrata Blemish Spot Gel or even a retinoid like Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum will help unclog pores. Retinoids also have the bonus of being able to decrease production of the sebum (oil) involved in acne breakouts.

The best medicine is, of course, prevention. Lifestyle and nutrition factors play a role in acne as well, including hormones, hygiene, products such as shampoos and hair sprays, and a diet high in sugar.

Other steps we can take to minimize occurrence:

  1. Refrain from touching the ears or placing fingers in the ear canals. Our skin, including that on our hands, is teeming with bacteria (some good, some bad).
  2. Clean the ears with a soft wash cloth and warm water. This will help remove excess oil and dead skin cells that lead to clogging.
  3. Consider using naturally astringent witch hazel on a cotton pad once or twice a week to help remove surface oils.
  4. Give your earbuds a daily wipe with a soft, non-abrasive cloth spritzed with diluted rubbing alcohol. The amount of germs would horrify you. Due to the sensitivity of the touch screen, cleaning a cell phone should be limited to a slightly damp soft, lint-free cloth.
  5. Lastly, no sharing! The very idea of putting something in my ear that’s been in someone else’s ear…enough said.