Even if in the majority of cases pimples appear on face, chest or back, there are cases in which we may wake up with a pimple on earlobe. Those are usually black spots, painless and inoffensive, but they can transform into really painful and ugly big pimples.
A pimple on earlobe usually appears because of bad hygiene. It is dangerous, as lack of hygiene in the ears area (internal or external) can even provoke infections of the ears, more painful and harder to treat than pimples. They are usually filled with pus, which is another reason for discomfort and itch.
Many people prefer to squeeze them, without thinking about the possibility of an infection. The best advice is to go to an Emergency Room or to your Family Practice Doctor, as this way the patient will get rid of pimples in earlobes without pain and in sterile conditions.
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Causes of a pimple on (or inside) earlobes
Unless you have a pimple deep inside the ear (one that is not accessible or visible, but you can feel it inside the ear), the causes of external and internal earlobe pimples are the same. If it is inside the ear, put some witch hazel oil if you have it at hand, and go to your local pharmacy as soon as possible.
Here is the list of the most common causes of pimples on earlobes
- Lack of hygiene. Washing your ears often during the day, even when you are not taking a shower, is the best prevention method for pimples anywhere on the skin.
- Scratching. Many have the habit of scratching their ears, especially the inside ear, with a cotton bud or any other object which one finds appropriate for this. It is a big mistake, as it may trigger pimples on earlobe or problems that are even more complicated.
- Common reasons for pimples, including the ones that appear in the earlobe, are everyday problems, such as bad nutrition, stress, and allergic reactions to cosmetics. It is hard to determine if this is the exact cause of pimples in earlobe, but making changes in your diet and habits will improve the general state of health, reducing the risk of developing pimples and other skin diseases.
- Otitis Externa is a part of the ear canal, which may swell, turning into a lump or bump (pimple in earlobe).
- Neo Formations and exostosis. These are growths appearing inside the ear. Don’t worry, as those are not cancerous, but think about consulting a doctor before assuming this is the cause of a pimple inside earlobe.
- Cancer. Do not assume you have ear cancer because of a pimple right away. However, ear cancer starts by developing in earwax, creating bumps, especially on the external ear and earlobe. If you have a history of cancer in your family, think about consulting a doctor. Even so, remember that allergies to cosmetics or low quality clothing may give the same kind of pimples in earlobes as cancer (which is also very rare on external ears and earlobes).
- Sebaceous Cysts. Most of those are swellings appearing under the skin on the neck and head. The cysts appear near the sebaceous glands, preventing those from producing the oil needed to dub the skin. Those types of pimples are not painful at all, so if it appears in the earlobe, it is very hard to spot it. If you feel those swellings around the earlobe, it is possible you have them in the internal ear as well.
- Abscess. It is an infection in cells or tissues, which may be the reason for having pimples on earlobe, even if the abscess appears in another part of the body (usually on the back of the neck). The defense mechanism of the body in case of an infection or bacteria is to send white cells to kill it (boil, staphylococci, pus). Those accumulate in the affected area and on the near organs, including the ears area. By treating the infection that provoked the abscess, the patient will treat the pimples in earlobe on long term.
- Mastoiditis. An ear infection left untreated will probably lead to mastoiditis. It is a severe condition, starting from the evagination bone behind the ear. It leads to cysts filled with pus behind the earlobe.
- Acne Vulgaris. It is a common condition for many of us. It occurs when follicles are locked with sebum and dead skin cells. This condition sometimes affects the earlobe, and the sebum accumulation can grow large.
- Otitis Media is a middle ear infection, which manifests itself the same way as Acne Vulgaris, with fluid-filled bumps on the earlobe (even if the infection is inside the ear).
It is important to determine the cause of pimples on earlobe before taking necessary treatment. Even if it is not a good idea to assume the cause without consulting a specialist, it is important to know why pimples appeared on your ears. However, many don’t have time or possibilities to go to the doctor for every pimple.
Mastoiditis, Acne Vulgaris, and Otitis Media are infections that must be treated by a professional as soon as they occur. You may not be able to determine which one of those is the cause of your discomfort, but anything bigger than a simple black spot on the earlobe must be referred to a specialist as soon as possible.
Treatment for pimples in earlobe
Going to the family doctor or even to an Emergency room for a simple pimple on or inside earlobe might seem a little too much for some, especially for people working or having a busy lifestyle. This is why many prefer to squeeze the pimples with a needle or with cotton buds. Risks are high, as infections may occur, especially if we are not talking about a simple zit (the simple pimple caused by accumulation of sebum)
However, before that important meeting with your boss or before the big prom, it is really tempting to squeeze it, even if the risks are known. If you do think it is just a pimple, and it will disappear a few hours after being squeezed, at least make sure you are doing it right. Only do this if you have a clear ‘angle’ for squeezing the pimple. In case of pimples in earlobes, you may not be that lucky. Ask a friend or a member of the family who ‘enjoys’ this activity to do it for you.
Use an exfoliating product for the skin. If you don’t have one around the house, consider making the next mixture:
The mixture consists of three tablespoons of salt, soap shavings (PH neutral), and water. Wait for the soap to dissolve in a small cup and then add the salt. Wash the pimple with this mixture and with clean warm water after. Apply a Witch Hazel Oil on the earlobe with a cotton ball whenever you feel pain. Wait for a few hours (or at least as long as possible) before attempting to squeeze it.
If you were right and the white or black zit disappeared, do not squeeze too much to ‘get it all out’. As soon as the unwanted substance is eliminated, stop squeezing. Wash the area; apply some more Witch Hazel Oil until the temporary scar disappears completely.
If you were wrong, and the pimple does not want to pop, or if there is a lot of pus, consider going to the pharmacy or emergency room.
Even if the pimple on earlobe disappears, you may damage the tissue or leave scars. Make sure the pus does not get on other parts of the skin, towels or clothes, as another pimple may appear. If it occurs in the same place, it may be a boil (especially in children at young ages).
Natural and Home Remedies for pimples in earlobe
- Garlic is the secret weapon against any kind of pimples, but do not substitute professional treatment with any natural remedy. Cut a clove of garlic and rub it against the affected area of the earlobe. Mustard oil and olive oil are also recommended after the ‘garlic treatment’, as those will keep the germs away, allowing the area to heal.
- If you want the pimple to break naturally, you can use a lotion containing alcohol once every six hours. It helps the pimple to grow and break naturally. While some recommend fixing the cotton bud with artificial wax and keeping the bud on the pimple, there is danger of the ear to cog. If you do this, don’t fall asleep while the artificial wax is on, and always make sure you hear something (put some music on the background). If you believe you have hearing problems, go to the emergency room immediately.
- You can also use St. John’s Worth Extract or Eucalyptus drops on the pimple to soothe it and hurry its growth. Your pharmacist may recommend you some antibiotics. Never squeeze the pimple, even if it itches.
Boils on ears
Worse than simple pimples in ears are boils, which may occur in the internal ear, but they also appear on earlobe in some cases. They are a lot more painful and produce a lot more pus.
A boil is a skin infection provoked by a pathogen staphylococcus, which occurs in an existent or previous inflammation. This is why you should report to the doctor and not to the tattoo saloon, in case you have pimples in earlobe after a recent piercing. Boils are larger than pimples, and they tend to swallow the earlobe a lot.
Consult the doctor if you suspect you have boils.
The staphylococcus will not disappear if untreated, and another boil may appear on another part of the skin. You can use thyme extracts to ease your pain, but do go to a doctor, even if the solution is effective enough to make the boil disappear.
If you are sure it is not a boil, but the pimple does not break after two days, go to the emergency room and ask to be sent to dermatology. If the pimple occurs after a while, or you have constant pimples growing on your ear, you should do the same as soon as you discover them, as it may be a boil.
What can you expect from the doctor or pharmacist?
If it is only a ‘more annoying pimple’ (not a boil), the pharmacist will recommend salicylic acid based products, as well as glycolic acid for preventing recurrence of pimples. Benzoyl Peroxide is also a common treatment of acne, but not for one-time pimples appearing on ears (it is usually recommended for long-term acne treatment)
For the treatment of pimples in earlobe clindamycin phosphate (with benzoyl peroxide) is useful. It is only available with prescription.
Preventing pimples on earlobes
If you have a history of staphylococcus aureus in your family, consider a vaccine against the infection. Unfortunately, many vaccines against this kind of infection are still in experimental phases or new. Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for acne and boils. Vaccines for other staphylococci were found in the 60’s, but aureus has proven to be a hard nut for the researchers.
As bad hygiene is the main cause of a pimple on earlobe (or in earlobe), washing the ears every day, even when you are not taking a shower, will prevent those unwanted and annoying pimples. For the eldest that started growing hair in ears, trimming it with a special machine will reduce the sebum production in earlobes (besides the obvious esthetic advantages). And, most importantly, don’t fight it if it is more than just a simple zit on ear or pimple inside earlobe. Consult your doctor as soon as you suspect it is something else or if it does not disappear with home treatments after a few days.