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So Ear Zits Are A Thing & Jessica Alba Gets 'Em: Her Facialist's Quick Tip

Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Side view of stylish African American female with shiny golden earring on blurred background of building on city street

With another week of quarantine under our belts, we're trying to find engaging ways we can connect with others: That means virtual concerts, livestreamed workouts, and for some—skin care advice. This past weekend, Jessica Alba corresponded on Instagram Live with celebrity esthetician Shani Darden for a virtual facial of sorts, with an audience of Alba's 18 million followers eager to take mental notes on what gives the actress her signature smooth, poreless-looking skin. 

But in addition to talking teen-friendly skin care routines and DIY face masks, Alba revealed that both she and her daughter, Honor, experience blackheads in quite the unlikely spot: their ears. Specifically, in the crevices of their piercing holes. 

Are ear blackheads really a thing?

Odd? Perhaps, but it's possible: "It's like an open area," Darden tells her. "You have to clean it. You know where else you need to clean is inside your ears." But she's not talking about your ear canal, which you need to be very, very careful with; rather, she's referring to the conchal bowl—that hollow space in your ear that can become a rather oily breeding ground for blackheads and clogged pores. 

Here's her solution for the actress: Apply a "very thin, thin, thin layer" of AHA serum to the ear to clear up and prevent those pesky blackheads. AHAs, or alpha-hydroxy acids, are chemical exfoliants that help slough off dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover. There are plenty of AHA options to choose from, but we recommend sticking to a lactic acid, which tends to be the most gentle of the chemical exfoliants out there, or glycolic if you need something a bit stronger.

Experiencing ear zits? Before you sound the alarm (or worse, perform extractions on yourself), you should know that it's totally normal to get blackheads and pimples anywhere you have a sebaceous gland—or a fancy word for pores—and yes, that includes your ears. While some areas are more common than others (like your face, back, and chest areas) you can get zits in unlikely nooks and crannies. While it's far less common, it's surely nothing to worry about. 

And if you don't see any blackheads dotting your ears, rest assured that you're probably fine cleanse-wise—a good rinse in the shower is probably enough to keep the skin clear. Unless you have a specific problem, like zits or dry, cracked skin, there's no need to waste product on your ears—especially now, when you might be trying to make a favorite serum withstand the test of time.

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