Facing the Music
Can You Hear Me Now?
Nobody wants pimples, and nobody likes getting acne.
Between the money you spend on products, treatments, and dermatologist visits to the pain it might cause both physically and emotionally, bad skin can affect your overall self confidence and personality as a whole. But that doesn’t make pimples you can’t readily see easier to deal with. In fact, pimples that pop up in weird places can be even more frustrating—or more dangerous—even if nobody is ever going to see them.
Where else have you gotten pimples that may never see the light of day? Your back? Your chest? Your butt? The human body is a fascinating machine, but at the end of the day, we’re still animals, and all that skin, sweat, dirt, and bacteria is bound to have some gross outcomes.
Now doctors are warning people about a new, gross trend in acne that may be a direct result of our tech-happy society: blackheads in your ear.
Lend Me Your Ear
If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly wearing earbuds or headphones. From being able to blast pump-up jams at the gym to drowning out the sounds of your commute and, yes, even to dissuade that annoying coworker from chatting your ear off, headphones can be our saviors in countless situations, and for many of us, it’s a tragedy when we find we’ve left the house without them. They’re like armor against the outside world.
Perfectly designed with both aesthetics, comfort, and ergonomics in mind, most headphones and earbuds today are flawless to the point that you don’t even know they’re there: your music or podcasts might as well be coming out of your own brain. From the second I sit down at my desk in the morning to the time I leave at night, I’m plugged in, and countless genres of music help me breeze through the given tasks of the workday.
Little did I know how much this put me at risk.
It’s no surprise that our ears are sensitive parts of our bodies and the delicate mechanisms inside allow us to hear the world around us as well as maintain a sense of balance and equilibrium. Nobody enjoys an earache (not to mention having any creatures crawl inside your ears), and keeping your ears clean is a lesson drilled into us by our parents from the time we’re kids.
Sure, ear wax and ear hair can be unsightly and even dangerous in some cases (depending on how bad the wax buildup is). But if you’re a lover of headphones and keep them on or in all the time, there could be an even bigger problem for you to worry about, and it’s certainly not pleasant.
Do you leave your headphones in at work?
As if life weren’t bad enough, now dermatologists are warning about how prolonged usage of headphones or earbuds can lead to blackheads in your ear. This topic came up on the American talk show The Doctors and has been making rounds on the internet because people are freaking out, and it’s totally understandable.
Unlike normal pimples and whiteheads, blackheads are the results of pore that are only partially clogged. Since there is still a small opening, sebum, dead cells, and other dirt can still escape, but it all tends to get backed up near the surface. Then, all this gunk reacts with oxygen and turns black, creating this nuisance’s distinctly eponymous appearance. You read that right: It’s a myth that the “black” color comes from dirt being lodged in the pore, although that’s a part of the overall equation here.
The worst part about this is a sort of catch-22: You are going to have a hard or impossible time trying to see any blackheads in your ear, but other people will have no trouble at all. Sounds like fun!