As if a raging red zit isn’t enough to deal with, having one crop up in an unusual place can really throw a curve ball into your routine. But you don’t have to hide away underneath a hat. Find out exactly what causes these annoying breakouts, and learn how to prevent and treat those weird pimples so you can put your best face forward.
Oily Ears Can Lead to Breakouts
“The ears have many sebaceous glands, which makes them a breeding ground for pimples—and when oil from the glands clogs the pores, acne occurs,” says Eric Schweiger, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. The best way to prevent bumps is to make sure you’re cleaning your ears out properly, especially after applying any sticky hairstyling products that can leave grime behind. Use a medicated acne pad containing salicylic acid to wipe the outer and inner parts of the ear, taking care to not go too deep into the ear, says Schweiger.
RELATED: The Right Way to Get Rid of Earwax
Yes, Nostril Acne Is a Thing
Known as intranasal acne, this kind of pimple forms inside the nose when a hair follicle becomes irritated or inflamed, says Schweiger. You can accidentally invite infection into the area by plucking or clipping nose hairs that in turn irritate the follicle and cause an entry point for infection. Breathing in dirt and dust can also irritate the follicles, but wearing a protective mask over your nose in these kinds of environments can prevent inhalation of particles. Refrain from scratching or shaving inside the nostrils. “To treat nostril acne, use an antibiotic nasal spray or apply a topical antibiotic ointment with a Q-tip,” says Schweiger.
Scalp Zits Are Actually Very Common
Acne on the scalp forms the same way as acne on your face—by pore blockage. Not only does the scalp produce sebum that can get trapped in pores and cause blockage, but heavy hair products you use, like serum and spray, can also clog pores. Washing hair frequently enough to prevent buildup is the best way to prevent scalp acne, as is staying away from product formulas that contain thick oils. “I recommend Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo ($14, walmart.com), which is anti-inflammatory,” says Schweiger, who recommends alternating that with a shampoo containing salicylic acid. Never use benzoyl peroxide on your scalp since it can bleach your hair color. Yikes!
And Then There Are Eyebrow Pimples
Heavy eye shadows and brow gels can cause zits to crop up in and around the eyebrow, but that’s not the only cause of brow blemishes. Hair products in bangs that graze the eye area can also cause breakouts, and people who wax or pluck their brows may see pimples result from irritating the hair follicle in that region. The easiest way to treat eyebrow pimples is with an acne-fighting ingredient that won’t sting or cause irritation around this sensitive area. “Dab on a spot treatment containing tea tree oil or sulfur, and let it sit overnight,” says Schweiger. Again, avoid using benzoyl peroxide products that can accidently bleach brows. To prevent eyebrow acne, take the time to thoroughly cleanse the area every night as part of your skin-care routine, and keep skin-care products containing heavy oils or petroleums away from the area.