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How to Prevent Pimples in Your Ear, According to a Dermatologist

Keep these sneaky little blemishes at bay with the right routine.
November 21, 2022

As far as troublesome skin concerns go, (we're looking at you, eczema and whiteheads), ear pimples may just take the top spot. As if worrying about keeping your complexion clear wasn’t enough, pimples can find their way into your ears and they’re super uncomfortable and even painful to deal with. 

We consulted with Dr. Joshua Zeichner, NYC-based board-certified dermatologist (and director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital) and L’Oréal Paris consultant, to get his expertise on ear pimples and how to prevent this painful skin woe in the first place. Take notes as we share four tips for banishing pesky pimples from your ears for good.

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How Do Ear Pimples Form?

Ear pimples aren’t all that different from the pimples on your face. “Pimples are blockages that develop in the pores because high levels of oil become trapped beneath cells that stick together, creating a bottleneck in the follicle,” Zeichner explains. 

“Pimples may develop almost anywhere in the body but are most common where there is oil activity. This includes the T-zone of the face, the neck, chest, and even the ears.”

The insides of your ears are susceptible to clogged pores and high levels of oil which is why it’s pretty common for pimples to pop up there. Ear pimples are prone to inflammation, which makes them extra painful, along with being tough to address because while you may feel them, you may not be able to see them. Overall, the best way to deal with ear pimples is to take preventative measures so they don’t form in the first place.

How to Help Prevent Ear Pimples

Now that you know how ear pimples pop up (literally), you’re likely wondering how you can prevent them in the first place. Spoiler alert — it’s not that different from the way you take care of your face. Check out our four best tips for preventing ear pimples, below.

1. Wash Your Ears

Preventing acne starts with a good face wash and the same energy applies to your ears. “Make sure to wash your ears as you do your face with a foaming or salicylic acid based cleanser,” Zeichner advises. No need to create a five-step skin care routine for your ears, but a good, daily wash can really help to manage oils and prevent clogged pores. 

2. See an Expert

Ear pimples don’t always take the form of whiteheads — clogged pores are very common in the ears which means that blackheads are also a common occurrence. 

“Blackheads that develop in the ears are often large and impacted and frequently require physical extraction to clear them,” Zeichner continues. 

It’s never a good idea to pop pimples or extract blackheads at home and this applies to your face and ears. It’s hard to get a good look at the inside of your ear so leave extractions to your dermatologist. They have the tools and expertise to properly extract blackheads while minimizing the risk of scarring and infection.

3. Be Mindful With Your Hair Care Products

If you’ve ever washed your hair only to find shampoo or conditioner in your ear a few hours later, know that this is the perfect recipe for ear pimples. Conditioner is especially sticky when it dries and can easily clog your pores, leading to ear pimples. Luckily, the fix is simple, make sure to clean inside your ears and behind them after you wash and condition your hair. The same applies to hair masks and other leave-in treatments.

Along with being mindful of your wash day routine is to be mindful of all your other hair care products. Hair products can lead to acne at the hairline or forehead if they get on the skin and clog pores. The same applies to your ears, especially if you use hair care products that spray because the product can easily get inside your ear, clogging pores and leading to ear pimples.

4. Clean Your Headphones

This is very easy to overlook but dirty headphones that sit in your ears for extended periods of time can easily lead to clogged pores and ear pimples. Do yourself a favor and clean them a few times a week. It’s good practice for life and really good practice for preventing ear pimples.


Next: How to Treat a Pimple on Your Neck, According to a Dermatologist


Written by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo credit: iStock

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