What causes pimples on the earlobes?

Every now and then most of us will experience pimples inside our ears or on our earlobes that can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Some of these pimples grow, change colour and are extremely painful. That small bump could turn into a serious medical problem that requires medical intervention.


What causes pimples on the earlobes?

There can be several causes. Some of these are:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Ostitis externa
  • Scratching the ear
  • Cancer
  • Non-cancerous neo-formations and extoses

Each of the above is extremely important to observe.

Poor hygiene is actually the top cause for pimples to appear inside or outside the ear. You need to clean ears at least twice a day. Some people will clean the face but are too lazy to extend cleaning to the ears. Many people apply cotton buds inside their ears but this is not necessary; inserting things into the ear to clean can actually cause damage which includes loss of hearing. Just using good clean water and water to clean outside and inside is good. Even though ear wax is unsightly, it does not need to be cleaned away unless directed by your doctor. All that is required is to wet a soft washing cloth with warm water. Lather with soap and gently rub outside the ear with the washcloth, ensuring that you wipe the front and back of the ear plus the earlobe. Rinse off the soap completely, even allowing a small bit of warm water to run into the ear. Tilt your head to drain excess water. A soft dry towel will dry the outside the ear.

Ostitis externa is inflammation of the ear canal; usually caused by an infection, irritation or allergy. Ear drops usually are effective. If the symptoms don’t last long, it is known as acute otitis externa but if it is long lasting, it is known as chronic otitis externa. This can trigger a swelling inside the ear or on the earlobe in the form of a lump or bump.

Scratching the ear with foreign objects such as dirty pens, nails, toothpicks, dirty fingers, etc. can definitely trigger off infections inside the ear or pimples on the earlobe.

If cancer is present, it will start developing in cells of earwax, which can result in pimples on the earlobe. If you do have cancer in the family, you need to consult your doctor. Take note if the pimple on your earlobe is white or red, painless or just continues growing. This could mean a serious problem like cancer. Make sure you see a specialist to get a proper diagnosis or a biopsy to check for cancer in the ear canal or not. If you have a painful scab in your ear-canal, particularly if you notice bleeding or pus and your hearing is obstructed, you need to see a doctor.

Non-cancerous neo-formations and exostosis are growths that can appear inside your ear. Fortunately, these aren’t cancerous, but it is advisable to consult your doctor for a verdict. Non-cancerous and neo-formations and exostosis can also be caused from getting beach sand for example in the ear, unhygienic hair conditions, hats and helmets etc.

Some other serious reasons pimples appear on the earlobe

Sebaceous Cysts are swellings under the skin, usually non-cancerous. These bumps usually occur close to the sebaceous glands. These cysts usually are not painful but they can cause irritation and discomfort.

An Abscess develops usually because cells or tissue get infected. An abscess is normally a fluid type of formation arising from the infection which can be painful, hot and feverish in appearance.

Mastoiditis usually occurs when you have an ear infection and don’t treat it. This turns into mastoiditis; cysts that are filled with pus and lumps behind your ear.

Acne Vulgaris is when the hair follicles are blocked from sebum, triggering the progression of bumps and pimples.

Otitis Media is an infection caused from the development and formation of fluid build-up on the earlobe. This can be extremely painful and help from a medical professional will be required.

Apart from some chronic illness causes, pimple inside earlobe can easily be provoked by things like the wrong eating and lifestyle habits, stress, hormonal disorders or allergic reactions. These can be as a result of cosmetics, medicines and even certain vitamins, etc.

How to treat pimples on your earlobe

Discovering pimples on the earlobe, you could head off to your dermatologist or your doctor. There are a variety of ways that are effective in getting rid of pimples on the earlobe. Some of these are choices that only your doctor or dermatologist should decide. Some treatments are:

  • Antibiotics, especially if the pimple was caused by an infection. It is also usually a very effective and fast treatment.
  • Excision and drainage or surgical removal. The pimples usually are treated with corticosteroids firstly which reduces the lump and drains it. Big growths will usually be removed during surgery.
  • Home remedies, such as essential tea tree oil for gentle application is a good solution, especially when some salt water is added. Irritation and swelling subsides, and the pimple can heal slowly and naturally
  • A hot compress is helpful for inflammation. A cotton pad that has been soaked in an herbal tincture such as above and secured with a plaster can eliminate the inflammation. Leave the compress on for an hour or so and then remove it; repeat again a few times in day.
  • Salicylic acid can heal a pimple on the earlobe and prevent it occurring again.

Even though home remedies, such as the abovementioned, can be very helpful, sometimes the diagnosis from a healthcare professional will deal with the problem quicker and sometimes more safely. Just remember that prevention is better than cure!

If you have any questions, please ask below!