Jessica Alba Got a Great Tip on Ear Blackheads from Shani Darden

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Alba and Darden went through a skin-care routine that's great for teens and tweens, using Alba's own Honest Beauty products, of course. But at one point, after prepping and masking, a very relatable but not-often-discussed topic came up: ear blackheads.

"Shani, can we talk about blackheads in the earring hole? Like why does that even happen?" Alba asks after noticing something in her daughter's ear.

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"It's like an open area. You have to clean it," Darden explains. "Why, do you get that all the time? Do you want to talk about it?"

Alba tells Darden that both she and her daughter, Honor, get them in the piercings in their lobes.

"I mean, I'm not gonna lie. I do, too, but I just always have to check them and clean them," Darden said. But it's not just earring holes that get unexpected breakouts. "Know where else you need to clean is inside your ears and you know what's really important? Keep the inside of your ears clean."

But if you start to get blackheads in your ear — Darden is referring to the hollow part of your outer ear, called the conchal bowl — and simply cleansing is not enough, she says an alpha hydroxy acid serum can help clear up and prevent them. Darden recommends a “very thin, thin, thin layer” of Honest Beauty's Beauty Sleep Resurfacing Serum, which contains glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, and tartaric acids.

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"Some people are just predisposed to getting these, although washing the area with acne cleansers can help," board-certified dermatologist Alan Parks has previously told ishonest. In addition to Darden’s recommendation, Parks says, "Blackheads can be treated with topical prescription medications, called retinoids, such as Retin-A or Epiduo."

However, board-certified dermatologist Lily Talakoub says they may be especially stubborn. "These are different than facial blemishes of acne — they don't usually go away with topical treatments," she told ishonest. "Ear blemishes [often] need to be extracted by a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician.” Just don't attempt to do it yourself.

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