What is meaning blackheads in ears and who is more susceptible? Can they trigger severe life-threatening conditions? How can I get rid of blackheads occurring in ear canals, earlobe, behind or on the ear cartilage?
This article will shed light on the meaning, causes, who can get them, how to get rid of these slightly raised black bumps and general information.
To start the discussion, blackheads usually refers to little bumps that develop on an individual’s skin when the hair follicles are clogged. I know the next question you will pose is why do they appear black?
Well, when excess sebum is produced, it will clump with dead skin cells to form a plug known as comedone. When the comedone is completely closed with a skin layer, we will have a whitehead forming but if it is open, it will get oxidized then turn black to form a blackhead.
Due to the facts that they develop when hair follicles get clogged, do the ears have hair follicles? The answer is YES, both outer and the canal has hair follicles except for the area behind the ear. So just like other parts of the body, they can be affected by them too.
Ear blackheads can affect anyone women to men, from children to adult i.e. they can affect any age, gender or race. However, people with other forms of acne or those undergoing some hormonal changes (during puberty, pregnancy, periods or when using birth control medications) are very prone to this problem and other parts of the body such as on the neck, face, back, penile shaft, breast e.tc.
With an insight into how you get blackheads or how they formed, let us now look at the factors that can potentially increase the vulnerability of developing this kind of mild acne. This factors may include:
Excess production of skin oils
Excess secretion of body oil (sebum) alongside excess dead skin cells shedding off does encourage their occurrence. They usually include genetics, hormonal variations among other factors.
Hormonal changes- during pregnancy, periods and puberty
Blackheads are majorly triggered by hair follicle blockage due to excessively produced sebum. The production of this skin oil is influenced by hormones especially androgen which tend to be high in individuals undergoing puberty stage as well as periods and pregnancies. This hormone influences oil-producing glands to produce excess oil hence leading to a breakout.
In the recent past, some types of medication have been found to hasten the occurrence of blackheads and other forms of acne.
Medications such as lithium, corticosteroids, births pill among others can lead to a breakout. But is very funny in that, some birth control pill is also used to treat mild forms of acne.
Facial oils or skin products
Application of some natural oils (coconut oil and cocoa butter) or skin products on the ear skin (whether in excess or not) could lead to the clogging of the skin pores leading to their development. Instead, opt for skin products labeled non-comedogenic since these products do not usually influence their occurrence.
Severe climatic conditions
During adverse weather conditions i.e. during hot and cold weathers, chances of developing blackheads could be high. Hot weathers lead to high amount of dust in the air that can clog hair follicles pores causing them. Higher humidity can as well influence the breakout of mild acne. So we should take a lot of care during these adverse weather conditions.
Here are more factors that can also trigger the occurrence of ear blackheads:
- They can be as a result of having the problem of thyroid
- Dehydration and poor skin hygiene
- Certain foods that contain too much oil
- They can also occur due to consumption excess refined carbohydrates that can cause these open comedones.
- Dairy products, as well as cold drinks, also have some links with this problem.
- Having propionic bacteria in ears can also trigger them
The delicate nature of the ear canal very difficult to clean and the rate of dead skin cells accumulation here is very high. This makes this part another place where you can get blackheads.
Due to the nature of the canal, treating them that occur deep in your ear canal may be very challenging hence calls to the attention dermatologist or qualified doctor. However, the good news is that such blackheads normally resolve of their own.
Some cases cannot heal on their own especially serious ones or if they are infected. Imagine the nightmare if your those in your canal become infected.
Finally, don’t forget that they also occur in other parts including piercing sites but it is very rare to have them behind ears since there are no hair follicles in this place.
Big and painful ones?
What can influence blackheads to grow to painful gigantic black bumps? When they get infected, they can be very big and painful.
In cases where they hurt so much, you can apply the warm compress or get some over-the-counter painkillers to relieve the pain but then see your doctor as soon as possible.
Get rid or removal ways
Breakout in this area can range from mild to severe ones. Mild ones can clear on their own while severe cases will require treatments and/or extraction.
Before you decide on an effective way to get rid of them including inside your ear, you need to know the underlying cause. Some of the ways to get rid of them include:
1. Over-the-counter medications
You can heal the blackheads in your ear by trying to use various over the counter drugs containing ingredients such as resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
These types of treatments will help kill bacteria, enhance the shedding off dead skin cells as well as reducing the production of excess oil. When these medications perform the mentioned processes, then the chances of one having ear blackheads will be limited.
2. Prescribed Medications
While some other medications are available without prescription, some must be prescribed by a medical specialist. This is due to the severe side effects that can arise if such medication are wrongly used.
Some of the prescribed medications include antibiotics, adapalene, and tazarotene among many others. These medicines help stops the formation of plugs and enhance faster turnover of skin cells.
Be aware, some of the prescribed medications have side effects!
In serious cases, the fast and effective remedy may be microdermabrasion. This kind of medication involves use of rough surfaced tool to sand the affected skin. This will help to get rid of clogs that might form the blackheads. This method is a “fast method that will give immediately results.” [Healthcure.org]
Although this medication can be less appropriate to blackheads developing inside the ear canal, experts can use specialized devices such as diamond-tip wand to scrap skin surface in this area.
4. Extractor tool
Another to get rid of them is to use blackhead extractor. This tool is known to be effective and a bit faster. It also induces mild damage than popping blackheads using your fingers.
Note, touching them using your dirty finger can lead to infections hence severe conditions. Because you cannot see your ears well, get a professional to do it for to avoid jumbles.
Below are some of the easy-to-follow home procedures are effective blackhead remedies. The methods are only applicable to treat blackheads developing in the outer ear.
1. Apply warm compress
Put some warm water into a plastic bag or soak a clean cotton cloth in the warm water and then apply it on your ear as it is tilted facing downwards (to prevent water from getting into the inner ear). The application of warm compress will influence the pores to expand hence freeing the clogged material out of the pores.
2. Clean using alcohol
Sometimes cleaning your affected ear using alcohol can be a solution to the blackheads. Alcohol usually helps to kill the bacteria.
In the cleaning process, one can immerse cotton cloth into the alcohol and apply it on the blackheads. After cleaning using alcohol, you can gently squeeze the blackhead by wearing gloves and applying pressure to unclog the blocked pores to lose the plugs. After then, use a clean tissue to wipe out the blocking materials (the clogs).
3. Creams remedy
After one is through with cleaning the ear, it can be very good to apply anti-acne creams, as they will help to prevent the bacteria from finding their ways into the pores.
Alternatively, some other blackhead facials and home products can be used and they include egg whites, tomatoes, honey, aloe vera, oatmeal among the rest.
Easy steps to prevent them
It is true that treating can be involved when it comes to their removal. Therefore, to avoid the expenses and the effects of blackheads in ear, it will be very wise to prevent them from developing. So in this section, we are going to discuss the common easy and effective steps on how to stop them from occurring.
1. Skin exfoliation
Exfoliating the top skin layer gently using exfoliating product will help in getting rid of the clogs and the dead epidermis cells. There are several blackhead removal products that can help in the exfoliation such as salicylic acid among other products. Remembers exfoliations involving the use of stronger chemicals should be only performed by skin specialist only.
However, avoid excessive scrubbing. Many people have also imagined that the only remedy for blackhead in ears is scrubbing. Though this can work for some people, it can be very dangerous to others. Lightskincure.org explains that, “excessive scrubbing makes the skin dry and even sometimes leading to higher oil production so as to compensate for every other thing that has been taken away.”
2. Keep your pores open
The accumulation of excess sebum and dead skin cells can be resolved by applying warm wash-cloth on the ear skin for about 6 minutes. This will help to keep the pores open and avoid buildup of sebum and dead skin cells in the pores. There are several lotions in shops that can as well enhance this process.
3. Avoid dirt accumulation
Environmental conditions such excess pollution can cause much dust in the air. Such dust can find their ways into
the ear pores and increase chances of them being clogged.
In addition, touching you them using dirty hands can also lead to accumulation of dirt on your ear so you should avoid it.
Lastly, be sure to use clean earphones since they can contribute to the accumulation of dirt.
4. Regulate consumption of oily products
Another way to avoid their occurrence is by reducing or getting alternative to oily products. You should opt for oil-free lotions and sunscreens since some of the oily substances can clog your ear pores leading to the formation of this kind of acne.
5. Regular ear cleaning
The last way to reduce the chances of them developing is by regularly washing your ears carefully. This will help remove earwax, clogs and the dead cells hence being the best blackheads remover tool.
Due to the nature of the ears, it is advisable that most treatment be done by experts or under the instruction of the experts. The symptom of blackheads in ears should be treated as soon as they are discovered to avoid them being infected.