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What Causes Ear Pimples And How To Treat Them

Pimples, also referred to as acne are generally a hormonal problem that comes with puberty. They mostly occur on the face, neck, chest, and back and are often painful and uncomfortable. But do you know that pimples can also appear in the ear? They can be quite painful due to the lack of fat in the ear.

In this article, we will discuss what causes pimples in the ears and how to treat them.

What Causes Ear Pimples [1]

Pimples can form in your ear, such as in the auricle and the external ear canal. The skin in the outer ear has cartilage and a small amount of fat and the skin in the ear canal has hair cells and oil glands. If these oil glands produce excess oil, acne may develop in your ear.

Ear pimples can also happen when there is a build-up of dead skin cells or bacteria that clogs the pores of the skin causing acne.

Other causes of ear pimples are as follows:

  • Sharing earbuds with another person
  • If your ear comes in contact with unclean water
  • Using dirty earbuds or headphones
  • Elevated stress levels
  • Ear piercings that become dirty
  • Wearing hats or helmets for an extended period of time
  • An allergic reaction to hair or beauty products

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Why Ear Pimples Are Painful

Ear pimples are painful because of the rigid skin and the presence of cartilage there [2] .

Should You Pop Your Ear Pimples?

Pimples usually resolve on their own, so avoid squeezing or popping the pimple as it can force the bacteria and pus deeper into your pores. As a result, it can cause the area to become irritated, inflamed, thus causing a scar to develop [3] .

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How To Treat Ear Pimples

To treat pimples, some physicians use a pen without ink. The blunt head of the pen is used to pop the pimple, which is an easy and pain-free method. This treatment process has been reviewed by the journal of the American Academy of Dermatology [4] .

The other treatment options include the following:

  • Topical medications - Over-the-counter vitamin A medications (retinoid cream) are prescribed for treating ear pimples. Retinoid cream is very effective in treating ear pimples [5] .
  • Antibiotics - Antibiotics like minocycline and doxycycline are used to treat bacteria-related acne [6] .
  • Benzoyl peroxide - It is a well-known ingredient used in skin care products for treating acne. Benzoyl peroxide is effective in killing the bacteria-causing pimples. The preferable dosage for benzoyl peroxide is between 2.5% to 10% [7] .

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How To Prevent Ear Pimples

  • Avoid swimming in dirty water
  • Clean your ear daily to reduce dead skin cells and sebum
  • Avoid putting any foreign objects in the ear
  • Clean your headphones to help prevent ear pimples.
View Article References
  1. [1] Kraft, J., & Freiman, A. (2011). Management of acne.CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne,183(7), E430-E435.
  2. [2] Poli, F., Dreno, B., & Verschoore, M. (2001). An epidemiological study of acne in female adults: results of a survey conducted in France.Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology,15(6), 541-545.
  3. [3] Tanghetti, E. A., Kawata, A. K., Daniels, S. R., Yeomans, K., Burk, C. T., & Callender, V. D. (2014). Understanding the burden of adult female acne.The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology,7(2), 22.
  4. [4] Ashique KT, Srinivas CR.Pen punching: An innovative technique for comedone extraction from the well of the concha.J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015;73(5):e177.
  5. [5] Kligman, A. M., Mills Jr, O. H., Leyden, J. J., Gross, P. R., Allen, H. B., & Rudolph, R. I. (1981). Oral vitamin A in acne vulgaris Preliminary report.International journal of dermatology,20(4), 278-285.
  6. [6] Justin W. Marson, Hilary E. Baldwin.An Overview of Acne Therapy, Part 1.Dermatologic Clinics, 2019; 37 (2): 183
  7. [7] (2008). What is the Role of Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansers in Acne Management?: Do they Decrease Propionibacterium acnes Counts? Do they Reduce Acne Lesions?.The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology,1(4), 48-51.
Story first published: Saturday, December 14, 2019, 14:02 [IST]
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