Pimples or zit in the ear: how to get rid of them

Woman ear

Understanding ear pimples: Duration, causes, and prevention

Pimples in the ear can be a bothersome issue, causing discomfort and even pain. Understanding their duration, causes, and appropriate care is essential for managing them effectively. In this guide, we will explore how long ear pimples typically last and why it's crucial to avoid the temptation to pop them. We'll also delve into the symptoms of ear pimples, the factors that lead to their formation, and why they can be particularly painful in the sensitive ear spot.

How to pop a pimple in the ear

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Popping a zit in the ear is not recommended, as it can lead to more significant issues like infection and scarring. The ear is a delicate area, and attempting to pop a pimple on your own can be risky. Instead, if you're concerned about a pimple in your ear, it's best to seek advice from a medical professional who can safely address the issue.

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How changes in pressure can affect the ear?

Fluctuations in pressure can have a significant impact on the normal function of the Eustachian tube, leading to discomfort or even ear pain. Sudden changes in altitude, such as during air travel or scuba diving, can cause the external pressure to differ from that in the middle ear. If the Eustachian tube does not open or close properly, the pressure inside the middle ear may become imbalanced, resulting in a feeling of pressure or fullness.

During situations where the external pressure is higher than the internal pressure, like during takeoff in an airplane, the Eustachian tube may struggle to equalize the pressure swiftly. This can result in a sensation of blocked ears during flight. Conversely, when the pressure inside the ear is higher than outside, such as during descent, the Eustachian tube may not fully open, leading to a similar sensation of pressure or discomfort.

How to get rid of pimple in the ear

How to get rid of zit in the ear? When confronted with the discomfort of a pimple in the ear, seeking the right treatment for a pimple in the ear is crucial. Curing an ear pimple involves patience and proper care. As mentioned earlier, avoid the temptation to pop it, as this can lead to complications. Instead, practice good ear hygiene by keeping the area clean and dry. You can use warm compresses to help reduce inflammation and promote healing. If you're unsure about how to treat a pimple in the ear or if the condition persists, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide appropriate guidance on what to do if a pimple in the ear.

Treatments and home remedies for ear pimples

  • Warm compresses: Applying warm compresses can reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation, helping ear pimples heal. Heat may facilitate pus drainage.
  • Tea Tree essential oil: Tea tree oil, known for its anti-inflammatory and disinfectant properties, can be applied to the pimple with a cotton swab to aid in healing.
  • Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil can help eliminate bacteria causing pimples. Apply a small amount to the affected area with a cotton ball.
  • Consult a physician: If ear pimples persist or become painful, it's advisable to seek medical attention from an ENT physician. They can provide appropriate treatment and guidance.

Symptoms of a zit in the ear

A pimple in the ear, although small in size, can manifest several distressing symptoms, often due to its uncomfortable location within the ear canal or on the earlobe. Understanding these symptoms is crucial for timely identification and appropriate treatment. Here are some common symptoms associated with ear pimples:

  • Pain and Discomfort: Ear pimples can be painful, causing throbbing or sharp discomfort within the ear.
  • Earaches: The presence of a pimple in the ear can lead to earaches, making it uncomfortable to perform everyday activities.
  • Itching: Some individuals may experience itching inside the ear, which can worsen the irritation.
  • Swelling: The affected area may become swollen, further adding to the discomfort.
  • Redness: Ear pimples can cause red ears, making them visually noticeable and sometimes embarrassing.
  • Hearing Issues: In severe cases, ear pimples may lead to temporary hearing difficulties due to the blockage or inflammation of the ear canal.
  • Drainage of Pus: Pus or clear fluid drainage from the ear can occur if the pimple ruptures or becomes infected.
  • Increased Sensitivity: The ear may become more sensitive to touch and pressure.

Being aware of these symptoms can help individuals recognize a pimple in the ear early and take appropriate measures for treatment and relief.

What causes pimples in the ear?

Pimples in the ear can be quite bothersome, but understanding their underlying causes is essential to prevent their occurrence and effectively manage them when they appear. Several factors can contribute to the development of pimples within or around the ear. Here are some common causes:

Dead skin cells

The accumulation of dead skin cells can block hair follicles and pores in the ear, providing a favourable environment for pimples to form.

Clogged pores

Pimples often occur when pores in the ear become clogged with a combination of sebum, dead skin cells, and sometimes, dirt or bacteria.

Bacterial infections

Bacteria naturally present on the skin can infiltrate clogged pores, leading to infection and the development of painful pimples.

Fungal infections

Although less common, fungal infections can also contribute to ear pimples, particularly in the ear canal.

Poor hygiene

Inadequate ear hygiene, such as infrequent cleaning of the ear and improper cleaning methods, can create conditions conducive to pimple formation.

Foreign objects

Contact with foreign objects like uncleaned earphones, earbuds, or even fingers can introduce dirt and bacteria into the ear, increasing the likelihood of pimples.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal fluctuations, often associated with puberty, can result in increased sebum production, making individuals more prone to ear pimples.

Allergic reactions

Some people may experience allergic reactions to hair products, jewellery, or cosmetics that come into contact with the ear, potentially leading to pimple-like eruptions.

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Why are pimples in the ear so painful?


The sensitivity of the ear makes pimples in this area particularly painful. The ear contains various structures, including the auricle, ear canal, and ear cartilage, which can become inflamed when a pimple forms. Additionally, the pressure from a pimple can exacerbate the discomfort. It's crucial to handle ear pimples with care to minimize pain and avoid complications.

Types of ear pimples

Pimples in the ear

Zit inside the ear can be both uncomfortable and painful. They often result from various factors, such as excess sebum production, dead skin cells, and clogged pores. These pimples can also be triggered by bacteria or fungal infections. They tend to occur in the auricle and ear canal, where sebaceous glands produce earwax and oily secretions. Factors like improper hygiene and contact with unclean objects like smartphones or headphones can exacerbate the issue and produce bumps.

Pimples behind the ear

Zit behind the ear are commonly caused by hygiene lapses. Insufficient or inaccurate cleaning of this area can lead to the development of pimples. To prevent these pimples, it's essential to incorporate thorough cleaning into your daily routine. Ensure that leftover soap, sebum, or sweat doesn't accumulate behind the ear, which can contribute to pimple formation. Additionally, after showering, make sure to dry the ears and earlobes adequately to eliminate water or soap residue.

Pimples on the earlobe

Zit on the earlobe share similarities with those in other areas but are primarily a result of dirt, sweat, or dead skin accumulating inside earlobe pores. Over-ear headphone use can worsen this issue by trapping air beneath the headset and promoting bacterial growth. Another common cause is infected earrings or piercings, which may result from unsanitary piercing equipment or reactions to metals. Maintaining earlobe hygiene and avoiding prolonged headphone use can help prevent these pimples.

Pimples in the ear canal

Zit in the ear canal can be particularly bothersome, often accompanied by earaches. Attempting to pop these pimples with a Q-tip or similar instrument should be avoided, as it can push purulent fluid deeper into the ear, potentially causing infections. Maintaining ear hygiene, especially after swimming, is essential to prevent these pimples. Regular cleaning and drying of the ear canal can minimize the risk of their formation.

Pimples on the ear cartilage

Zit on the ear cartilage can be attributed to factors like sweat, dirt, and bacteria accumulating in the creases of the ear cartilage. The use of over-ear headphones can exacerbate this issue by allowing air to trap bacteria, which can then spread to the ear cartilage. Additionally, infected earrings or piercings may lead to pimples on the ear cartilage. Proper hygiene, avoiding prolonged headphone use, and ensuring clean piercings are essential for prevention.

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Blackheads vs pimples

Blackheads and pimples are both common skin issues, but they have distinct characteristics:

  • Blackheads are typically smaller and result from sebum and dead skin cells blocking pores and coming into contact with air, leading to their dark appearance.
  • Pimples, on the other hand, are often larger, inflamed bumps that can be caused by various factors, including bacterial infections.

Ear boils vs pimples

Ear boils and pimples can both appear as red bumps on the skin, but they have different characteristics:

  • Boils are typically larger and more painful, often accompanied by pus drainage and fever.
  • Pimples, on the other hand, are smaller and result from clogged pores. Boils are usually caused by bacterial infections.

How to stop ear pimples

Preventing ear pimples involves maintaining good ear hygiene. Regularly clean your ears, avoid inserting foreign objects, and ensure that items like headphones and hearing devices are kept clean. Here are some effective prevention practices that can help reduce the risk of ear pimples:

  • Hand hygiene: Regularly wash your hands, as they frequently come into contact with your ears and can introduce dirt and bacteria.
  • Daily ear cleaning: Clean your ears daily using lukewarm water and a washcloth. Gently wipe the auricle to remove earwax and dead skin cells.
  • Proper post-shower care: After showering, ensure your ears are clean and dry, avoiding pushing earwax deeper into the ear canal.
  • Sanitizing personal items: Regularly sanitize items that come into contact with your ears, such as your phone, hats, or hearing aids.
  • Hygiene routine: Establish a personal hygiene routine with dermatologist-recommended detergents.
  • Clean hair: Maintain clean hair to prevent bacterial accumulation around the ears.
  • Healthy diet: Avoid junk food and maintain a healthy diet, as dietary choices can impact pimple formation.

By following these precautions, you can reduce the likelihood of ear pimples and blackheads.


Are pimples in your ear normal?

Pimples in the ear, while not uncommon, can be uncomfortable and concerning. They often result from factors like excess sebum production and poor hygiene. While they may not be entirely preventable, proper ear care can reduce their occurrence.

Can airpods cause ear pimples?

Airpods and similar devices can potentially contribute to ear pimples if they are not kept clean. Bacteria and dirt can accumulate on earphones, leading to skin issues. To prevent this, regularly clean your earphones and practice good ear hygiene.
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