Things to know about ear pimples

Pimples in the ear (canal), on the earlobe or behind the ear

About types, causes, treatment & prevention of ear pimples

Although it is perfectly normal to have a pimple in your ears, there is so much to know about ear pimples. This article will take you through the types, causes, treatments and prevention methods. If you have questions about your hearing health and hearing ability, head over to one of our branches and get a free hearing consultation. Moreover, if you notice you are experiencing hearing loss, you can also undergo a free hearing test

What exactly are ear pimples?

Everyone is familiar with annoying pimples on the nose or forehead. However, these unpleasant skin impurities can also surface in or behind the ear. As this is such a sensitive area, ear pimples can be particularly unpleasant and painful. Ear pimples are a result of clogged pores due to earwax that has drained properly. Instead of fulfilling its actual function of cleaning the ear, the earwax built up can cause small pus pimples. The location of the pimple can vary greatly. In addition to the swelling and redness, pimples in the ear may also cause earaches, hearing loss and jaw pain. 

Differentiation from blackheads

Blackheads are smaller and more robust than pimples, making them more delicate and difficult to treat. Both blackheads and whiteheads are a mild form of acne caused by clogged pores containing dead skin cells and natural oils that need to come out of the skin. The difference is that the blackhead is in an open pore, where the sebaceous mass comes into contact with the air, and the whitehead is in a closed pore.

Differentiation from ear boils

A boil is not a sebaceous pimple, it is an inflammation of a hair follicle caused by bacteria. A boil can form pus and can swell the tissue surrounding the affected area. Oftentime, boils are much more painful than pimples and only heal with scarring.

Untreated boils that do not heal on their own may lead to abscesses and blood poisoning, which is why a visit to the ENT doctor is strongly recommended. A warm and moist compress with antiseptic agents as well a calendula-based ointment may help with the inflammation. However, it is best to keep the affected area as still as possible and avoid at-home treatments.

Overview on different types of ear pimples

Pimples can appear in the ear, on the ear or behind the ear. Let's find out about the different types of pimples and what they represent.

Pimples in the ear (or pinna)

If pimple appears on or in the ear, due poor visibility and location, it should never be squeezed out. However, if the pimple is too bothersome, it is best to seek the help of an ENT doctor to have it removed professionally.

Pimples behind the ear

A pimple behind the ear can be very painful as skin behind the ear is very thin and sensitive. Due to proximity to the lymph glands, pimples in this area must not be squeezed. This could make the inflammation even worse. 

Pimples on the earlobe

Pimples can also appear on the earlobe as there are many sebaceous glands on the earlobe which can lead to clogged pores. Wearing earrings can trigger the development of pimples on the earlobe.

Pimples in the ear canal

Pimples in the ear canal are a subtype of ear pimples that are particularly unpleasant. They manifest themselves as a pressure pain and may be accompanied by an earache. Although bothersome, it is important not to squeeze out the pimples without the help of a specialist as this can lead to the purulent fluid getting further into the ear and triggering ear infections.

Pimples on the ear cartilage

Sweat, dirt and bacteria can easily accumulate in the coils and folds of the ear resulting in inflamed pimples on the ear cartilage. Excessive headphone use can trigger this type of pimple as air can accumulate underneath the headset and cause bacteria to build up around/on the ear cartilage.
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Get rid of pimples in the ear at home

Although pimples cannot be prevented in their entierity, there are home remedies that can help get rid of them quickly. Applying oils or ointments on the affected area several times a day with a cotton swab can help the healing process. 

Important: Deep-rooted pimples in the ear canal should always be treated by an ENT specialist and not using home remedies!

Should you pop pimples in the ear?

Popping pimples and blackheads is not recommended as it can lead to further inflammation and a leakage of purulent fluid into the ear canal. If the pimple has popped on its own inside the ear, the ear should be cleaned thoroughly as soon as possible. 

Remove pimples with tea tree oil and aloe vera

Tea tree oil and aloe vera work as anti-inflammatory and disinfecting agents by applying a small amount of the liquid onto a cotton swab then dabbing it onto the pimple. When doing so, make sure that none of the active ingredients leak into the ear canal.

Traction ointment against pimples

Traction oitnments, which can be bought at your nearest pharmacy, is applied externally and can help treat ear pimples. The slate oil it contains has an antibacterial effect which can help reduce inflammation. 

Treatment with jojoba oil

Jojoba oil removes the bacteria that cause pimples and is most effective when applied on the affected area using a cotton swab. After 30 minutes, wipe off any excess oil with a cloth. High-quality jojoba oil is characterised by its golden yellow colour. 

How can I prevent pimples & blackheads in the ear?

There are several ways to prevent ear pimples and blackheads from forming:

The best way to thoroughly and carefully clean your ears is while showering or washing your hair with lukewarm water and a flannel. The key to ear care is ensuring that earwax is not being pushed back into the ear canal during the cleaning process. For this reason, cotton swabs should also be avoided and objects that come into contact with the ears, such as earphones, telephones and caps, should be wiped or washed regularly. Users should also clean their hearing aids frequently to help reduce the spread of dirt and bacteria. 

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