For Glowing Skin, Stop Neglecting Your Ears

By Minji

  • Ears are often neglected when it comes to skincare routines
  • Massaging your ears can help stimulate your kidney functions and help boost a glowy complexion, especially in the world of masks
  • Try this super simple 1-minute ear massage technique!

My ears are my best physical feature.  When I was a little girl, my grandma would always massage my ears and tell me I had “first lady” ears (funny, the implicit gender-bias embedded in this phrase!). 

As the years went by and makeup came into play, my ears started to take a back seat to my mascara-ed lashes and painted lips and cheeks.  I would say now, my ears are the most neglected part of my face when it comes to my skincare or makeup routines.  

We often forget to include the ears in our skincare steps…when’s the last time you moisturized your ears or carefully applied sunscreen there? Obviously, there’s no ear makeup either.  Sadly, this is not where the neglect ends and many of us can go extended periods of time without ever touching or massaging our ears.

Dr. Yoon agrees that we should also apply moisturizer and sunscreen to areas of our face that we think less of, such as the ears or lips. In particular he notes, recent studies have shown that the incidence of skin cancer is unexpectedly high in the neck, ears, lower chin, and lips, so more reason to better take care of all parts of your skin, not just the obvious places.

In addition to this, the more research I do on facial massage and boosting circulation for healthy skin in general, the more I realize we should all start treating our ears better.  Especially in this world of masks with the continuing pandemic, our ears are getting strained even more than usual and could use some selfcare.

In traditional Asian medicine, ears are believed to relate to the kidneys which are critical for waste removal and balancing the body’s fluids.  It is believed that massaging your ears can help stimulate your energetic kidney functions and help improve your overall waste removal and circulatory systems. In addition, stimulating the ears is believed to help calm nerves, release facial muscles and promote overall health.    

In my gua sha and sake glass massage techniques, you’ll already see that as the last step of these overall facial massages, I drag my massage tool starting from the back of my ear down to my collar bones.  There can be a lot of impurities and toxins congested behind the ear so stimulating this area in this way can help with lymph drainage, circulation and boost your complexion.

In addition to this, I would recommend incorporating this 1-minute ear massage into your daily routine as well.  You can see how I do it in the video tutorial above, but here are the simple steps:

  1. Start by using your index fingers to gently press down 3-5 times right in the middle of your ear as if you were plugging your ears.
  2. Then use your thumb and index fingers and massage the entire outer wheel of both ears. Move as if you were gently squeezing and pulling out your ears at the same time, starting from the top and ending at your ear lobes, repeating 3-5 times.
  3. Lastly, using your middle and index fingers massage out the back of your ears, starting from the top of your ears gently moving down to where your ear and jaw meet. Behind your ear and by your jaw, you’ll feel a node. In small circular motions, take a few seconds to massage out that area then work your way all the way down to your collar bone, repeat 3-5 times. 

Be careful not to press too hard – light stimulation is all you need to get your circulation going and reap the benefits of a gentle ear massage.  I love incorporating this into my day regularly since you don’t need any tools and can do it even without a mirror.  It’s great for skin, but also therapeutic when you feel stressed out or anxious - some peppermint oil behind the ear can add to the overall effect. 

Let’s all stop neglecting our beautiful ears and instead look forward to the subtle positive changes in our complexion and well-being overall that proper ear care can bring.