Blackheads in Ear, Behind, In Ear Canal, How To Get Rid of Blackheads in Ears

Why do I have blackheads in my ears or how can I get rid or remove ear blackheads? Get insight on causes of blackheads in ear (i.e. on earlobe, behind ears, inside ear canal or on ear cartilage) as well as the best ways to get rid of them.
Blackheads refer to “small bumps that appear on your skin due to clogged hair follicles” [] and they are referred so because their head often looks black or dark in color.  They form or develop if your hair follicle is clogged or has a plug.

Blackheads in ears
Blackheads in ears

In terms of composition, blackheads are made up of dead skin cells and sebum (skin oil from sebaceous glands). When these dead skin cells and oil collect on the hair follicle opening they form a blackhead – a kind of bump known as comedone.

Blackheads are a kind of acne common on the T-zone part of the face but can also affect other body parts including your chest, neck, arm, shoulders, back or ears among other parts of the body.

Ears develop blackheads since both outer and ear canal (also referred as to inner ear in this discussion) have hair follicles.

Big or giant blackhead behind ear picture
Big or giant blackhead behind ear picture

The black headed acne can affect various part of your ear including your earlobe, cartilage, in ear canal or even near your piercing site. Although they do appear there too, blackheads behind Ear are not so common since this area doesn’t have hair follicles

What causes blackheads in ears?

You know what causes blackheads as well as how they are formed. However, there are some factors that can increase the probability of one having not just blackheads alone but also acne. These factors include:

  • Excessive skin oil production
  • Having propionibacterium acne on your ears
  • Hair follicle irritation especially when your dead skin does not shed off well regular
  • Hormonal changes especially during menstruation, while using birth control pills or at puberty often trigger increased oil production
  • The use of some medications especially androgens, lithium and corticosteroids can increase blackheads in ears.

There is a common belief that foods and drinks, especially dairy products and carbohydrates can increase blackheads in your ear. There is not scientific backing to this belief.

Who can get a blackhead in ear?

This problem can affect anyone, men and women, adults or children. I have seen cases of blackheads in ear children. However, people who have other kinds of acne, those with oily skin, undergoing hormonal change especially during puberty are more prone to them. I once found my dermatologists removing a big blackhead from toddler’s ear, something I did not expect.

How to get rid of blackheads in ears or how to remove blackheads from ear

Having ear blackheads which are essentially clogged ear pores can make your ears to appear dirty as well as make your ear pores more visible. If you have them and you happen not to like them, we are going to see some of the best ways to get rid of blackheads in your ears.

Blackhead in ear removal with blackhead extractor tool
Blackhead in ear removal with blackhead extractor tool

Although they clear on their own, they can also be a gateway to infections. This is a reason enough to want to ensure you do not have them especially inside your ears.

Try a comedone extractor tool

If you want get rid of blackheads in your ear fast, consider using a blackhead extractor. This tool can is more effective and faster and causes lesser skin damage compared to squeezing with your fingers. However, get a professional to help you since you might not be able to see your ear very well.


If you have a serious case of blackheads in the ear, microdermabrasion might be recommended where your skin is sanded with a rough surface to remove the clog that might be causing this problem. It is a fast method that will give immediately results.

However, if the blackheads are inside the ear canal, let an expert scrap your ears with a specialized microdermabrasion wand such as the “diamond-tip microdermabrasion wand []

Over the counter medication

Try the various OCT medications that contain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol or salicylic acid to treat and help dry the excess oil you produce, kill bacteria and encourage dead skin cells shedding.

As Ellen Marmur, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, recommends, “applying a retinol to the area with a cotton swap, using gentle, circular motions… The retinol will prevent dead skin cells from building up in your pores, which in turn will prevent blackheads” [].

Prescribed medication

Another treatment to try is prescription strength tropical vitamin A containing medications to stop plugs from forming such as “such as tretinoin, tazarotene, and adapalene keep plugs from forming in the hair follicles and promote more rapid turnover of skin cell” [] can also be recommended or those that contain antibiotics and/or benzoyl peroxide. They will be effective but might not give you overnight results such as physical removal could.

DIY Steps for removing blackheads from ear

To make ear blackheads removal easy, here are some steps which you can follow while you are at home. They will only apply if the blackhead is on your outer ear.

Step 1: Cleanse your ear with a mild acne wash

With a mild acne wash, cleanse your ears to remove dirt, wax, dead skin cell and oil from your ear hair and skin and rinse off with warm water. This will give you a clearer view of the blackhead you want to remove.

Step 2: Apply warm compress

Apply a warm compress on ears. Press the warm washcloth against a blackhead you want to remove a several times to make your pores expand as well as loosen materials clogged in the pore.

Step 3: Soak the blackhead with alcohol

Soak a cotton swab, ball or pad on alcohol and apply it on your blackhead to sterilize the area and kill bacteria. Alcohol kills bacteria and gives you a clean surface.

Step 4: Squeeze the blackhead

With sterilized latex gloves or a tissue around your index fingers, apply pressure some pressure on either side of your blackhead gently as you squeeze down then up to remove the blocking material. Wipe off the stuff that comes out the popped blackhead.

Step 5: Apply an anti-acne cream

Apply any good anti-acne cream such as benzoyl peroxide to help shrink and heal the pore. This will prevent bacteria entry. You can alternatively use tea tree oil and leave it there overnight

Other methods of removing these nasty acne pimples out of your ear such as chemical peels might not easy to use on your ears.

Blackheads in ear video

Below is a YouTube blackheads in ear popping video which should further help you further. As you can see it is in the ear canal and a blackhead extractor tool is being used.

How to prevent ear blackheads

Removing blackheads from ear is not easy. It will be wise to ensure they do not come. Some of the best ways to stop ear blackheads, follow the below steps:

Clean your ears always

Keep good ear hygiene by cleaning your ears regularly and removing earwax. Do this after each time you take a shower. This will get rid of excess oil, wax as well as dead skin cells.

Exfoliate ear skin

Use a cotton ball to blog your ear canal and exfoliate your ear skin with a gentle exfoliating product to get rid of dirt and dead skin cells. You can apply salicylic acid afterwards to further help in exfoliation.

Ensure you open your pores

Holding a warm washcloth on your ears for about 5 minutes is an easy way to open up your pores to avoid accumulation of oil and dead skin cells.  A lotion such as Biologique Recherche Lotion P50W will be good in exfoliating your top skin layer.

Do not let dirt touch your ears

Stop sticking dirty fingers on your ears and always clean your earphones and cellphone since they are dirty and could be behind the blackheads and acne you always have.

Oil free products

The final way to reduce the development of blackhead is using oil free products especially lotions, sunscreens. Also be careful with your hair care products since they can be a reason for blackheads on your ears.

Big painful blackhead in my ear?

Sometimes, a blackhead can be very painful especially if gets infected i.e. infected ones tend to be painful, big or giantic. Treatment of such blackhead especially if they are in your ear canal, might force you to enlist a dermatologist or doctor’s help remove it.

If they hurts so much,  you can soothe the pain by applying a warm compres (i.e. soak a clean washcloth in warm water and apply it on your ears) and take OTC pain relievers.

Blackhead in ear canal or inside your ear

It is not just your outer ear that can have blackheads, at times, they also form in the ear canal. In fact, anyone can to have blackheads inside their ear due to fact that cleaning your ear canal is  not that easy. Furthermore, the  chances of dead skin cells accumulating are very high.

If you have blackheads deep in your ear canal, they can be quite difficult to remove even with the various methods we have discussed above. This is because the skin inside your ear is delicate and not easy to access.

Our best advice is to let them resolve on their own unless you have very big and painful ones. In such a case, get an experts remove them so as to ensure you do not injure your ear canal skin or eardrums. Injuring your ear canal skin will increase the chances getting ear infections.

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Sources and references


  1. suzanne collins Dec 11, 2015
  2. Sergey Kushchak May 28, 2016
  3. Adam Collins Sep 6, 2016
  4. john Sep 20, 2016
  5. Jenny May 4, 2017
  6. Annielewis Jun 13, 2017
  7. Skin Aug 18, 2017
  8. Cindy Aug 29, 2017
  9. Wendy Sep 8, 2017

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