Causes And Treatment for Pimple in Ear: Know its Types And Home Remedies

Understand the cause of a pimple in the ear and its types. Eliminate this issue with the right home remedies and medication. Keep your ear clean and safe.

Updated on Jul 28, 2023   |  10:23 PM IST  |  394K
Pimple in ear
Pimple in ear
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The ear is a sensitive part of the human body. Most people take this body part for granted, but it harbors one of the five senses. The ear is divided into several parts with a thin sheet (ear drum) that lets you hear things through vibration. However, you can have issues like bolis, skin allergies, or even a pimple in the ear (1). The last one, in particular, can be painful if you poke it too much. This article discusses the reasons and treatment of ear pimples and lets you explore the home remedies for them. You will also read about the types of ear pimples, as every class needs a different treatment. 

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Causes of Pimple in Ear

A pimple inside the ear is also known as ear acne or ear zits. The skin in the ear can also get pimples or acne due to the following reasons:

  1. Excess Oil Production: The skin inside the ear contains sebaceous glands that produce oil (sebum). If these glands produce too much oil, the pores clog, leading to the development of pimples (2).
  2. Poor Hygiene: Infrequent cleaning of the ears can lead to the accumulation of dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria, increasing the chances of developing pimples (2).
  3. Bacterial or Fungal Infection: Bacteria or fungi can infect hair follicles or pores resulting in painful ear pimples or boils (2).
  4. Allergic Reactions: Certain hair products, jewelry, or earplugs can cause allergic reactions, leading to inflammation and forming pimples (2).
  5. Hormonal Fluctuations: Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during puberty, menstrual cycles, or hormonal imbalances, can trigger increased oil production and contribute to developing pimples (2).
  6. Stress: Prolonged stress can lead to hormonal changes, which may exacerbate acne breakouts, including pimples in the ear (2).
  7. Sweating: Excessive sweating can cause sweat to mix with bacteria and dead skin cells, potentially clogging pores and forming pimples (2).
  8. Earphone Use: Wearing earphones or earbuds for extended periods can trap moisture and bacteria, increasing the likelihood of developing ear pimples (3).

It's important not to pop or squeeze a pimple in the ear, as this can lead to further irritation, infection, or potential damage to delicate ear structures. If you have persistent or severe ear pimples, it's best to contact a doctor or a dermatologist for proper diagnosis and treatment. They can study the pimple further and find its cause. A professional can recommend appropriate remedies or medications to address it effectively.


Types of Ear Pimples

A zit in ear can be classified into different types based on appearance and characteristics. Here are some common types of ear pimples:

  1. Whiteheads: These pimples are tiny, raised, white, or flesh-colored pimples with a closed comedo at the center. They occur when the pores become clogged with excess sebum (oil) and dead skin cells (4).
  2. Blackheads: Blackheads are similar to whiteheads but have open comedones at the center, giving them a dark appearance. The dark color is not caused by dirt but by oxidizing the trapped sebum and debris  (4).
  3. Papules: These pimples are small, red, inflamed bumps without a visible head. They occur when the walls of the hair follicles become irritated and swollen  (4).
  4. Pustules: Pustules are red, tender pimples with a white or yellowish center filled with pus. They are caused by bacterial infections of the hair follicles  (4)).
  5. Nodules: Nodules are larger, solid, painful lumps beneath the skin's surface. They develop from deeper, more severe infections of the hair follicles or sebaceous glands  (4).
  6. Cysts: Ear cysts are large, fluid-filled sacs that can form deep within the skin. They are often painful and may require medical attention for drainage or removal  (4).
  7. Ingrown Hairs: Ingrown hairs occur when hair follicles become trapped under the skin, leading to inflammation and forming small, red, and sometimes painful bumps  (4).
  8. Boils: Boils are larger, painful, pus-filled lumps that result from deep bacterial infections of the hair follicles or oil glands. They are also often called ear acne (4).

Should You Pop a Pimple in Your Ear?

It is generally not recommended to pop ear pimples. Pimples on the face, back, or ears result from clogged pores due to excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. For several reasons, popping a pimple in the ear can cause more harm than good.

Firstly, the skin inside the ear is delicate and sensitive, and attempting to pop a pimple can irritate and damage the surrounding tissues. The ear canal is also a complex structure, and aggressive manipulation can inadvertently push bacteria deeper into the ear, potentially causing infections (5).


Secondly, a pimple in the ear can be painful, and popping them may provide temporary relief, but it does not address the underlying cause. By squeezing the pimple, there is a risk of rupturing the lesion, which can spread bacteria and increase inflammation. It may worsen the condition and prolong the healing process (5).

Moreover, popping ear pimples risks introducing more bacteria to the area. The ear is a breeding ground for bacteria due to its warm and moist environment, and introducing unclean hands or objects into the ear can lead to infections and complications (5).

If you have an ear pimple causing discomfort or concern, it is best to seek advice from a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. They can properly diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment. In some cases, a doctor may need to perform safe and controlled drainage of the pimple in a sterile environment to prevent further complications.

To prevent zits in the ear canal, maintaining good ear hygiene is essential. Gently clean the outer ear with mild soap and warm water, but avoid inserting anything into the ear canal. Additionally, if you use earphones or earbuds, clean them regularly to prevent dirt and bacteria buildup.

Treatment for Ear Pimples

The treatment for an ear pimple typically depends on the type and severity of the pimple. Here are some general guidelines for treating an ear pimple:

  1. Hands-off Approach: As mentioned earlier, avoid squeezing, popping, or picking at the pimple in ear. Manipulating the pimple can lead to further irritation, infection, and potential complications (2).
  2. Warm Compress: Placing a warm, moist compress on the affected area can help soothe the pimple, reduce inflammation, and promote drainage. Hold the warm compress against the ear for 10-15 minutes several times daily (2).
  3. Topical Treatments: Over-the-counter topical treatments containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may help dry out and reduce pimples. Apply the product sparingly to the pimple, following the manufacturer's instructions (5).
  4. Antibacterial Ointments: If the ear pimple appears infected, an over-the-counter ointment, like Neosporin, can help prevent or treat infection (5).
  5. Professional Medical Advice: If the ear zit is particularly painful, large, recurrent, or shows signs of infection (increased redness, swelling, warmth, and pus), it is best to visit a doctor or a dermatologist. They can provide a proper diagnosis and perform a safe drainage procedure if necessary.

Home Remedies to Help You Get Rid of Ear Pimples

While it's essential to be cautious with home remedies for a pimple in ear to avoid further complications, some gentle and natural remedies may help soothe the infected area and promote healing. Here are some home remedies that you can try:

  1. Warm Compress: You need to apply a warm, moist compress to the ear pimple can help reduce inflammation and promote drainage. Soak a sterilized clean cotton cloth in warm water, wring out excess water, and hold it gently against the ear pimple for 10-15 minutes, several times daily.
  2. Tea Tree Oil: Another natural antibacterial ingredient is tea tree oil. It can help combat bacteria and reduce redness. You must dilute it with water before applying, or it can burn the skin. Never use your hands, and always use cotton swabs with tea tree oil. Avoid putting undiluted tea tree oil directly into the ear canal (6).
  3. Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera is a gel that is soothing. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm inflamed skin. Apply a tiny amount of pure aloe vera gel to the pimple outside the ear and the surrounding area  (6).
  4. Honey: Honey also has antibacterial properties that may help treat ear pimples. Apply a small amount of raw honey to the affected area and leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off  (6).
  5. Turmeric Paste: Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Mix some turmeric powder with lukewarm water to form a paste, and apply it to the ear pimple. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off  (6).
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar: This liquid is a nature-made bacterial killer. It can be used to reduce bacteria on the skin. You should dilute apple cider vinegar and apply it to the pimple using a cotton ball. Be cautious not to use it if you have broken skin or open wounds  (6).
  7. Witch Hazel: Witch hazel naturally helps in reducing inflammation and can dry out the pimple in the ear. Apply a small amount of witch hazel to the ear pimple using a cotton ball  (6).

You should always do a patch test before applying any home remedy to ensure you're not allergic to any ingredients. If the ear pimple worsens, becomes increasingly painful, or shows signs of infection, discontinue the home remedy and seek medical advice from a healthcare professional or a dermatologist.


Prevention for Pimples in the Ear

Preventing pimples in the ear involves adopting good ear hygiene practices and making lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of pore blockage and bacterial growth. Here are some effective prevention tips:

  1. Regular Ear Hygiene: Clean the outer ear regularly with mild soap and water. Gently wipe the area around the ears to remove dirt, sweat, and excess oil. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, pushing debris deeper and leading to complications.
  2. Avoid Touching: Refrain from touching or scratching your ears excessively. Touching the ears with dirty hands can transfer bacteria and lead to pore blockage.
  3. Keep Objects Clean: If you use earphones, earbuds, or any objects that come into contact with your ears, keep them clean. Regularly clean and disinfect these items to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
  4. Avoid Oil-Based Hair Products: Minimize using heavy or oil-based hair products that can transfer onto the ears and clog pores. If you use hair products, keep them away from the ear area (2) .
  5. Avoid Allergens: If you suspect certain hair products that may be causing allergic reactions on your skin, try to avoid them. Allergic reactions can lead to inflammation and contribute to the development of ear pimples (2).
  6. Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and water can contribute to healthy skin. Avoid excessive consumption of greasy or processed foods that might exacerbate acne.
  7. Avoid Popping Pimples: As tempting as it may be to pop a pimple, avoid it, especially in the ear. Popping pimples can introduce bacteria deeper into the skin and cause more inflammation.
  8. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can contribute to hormonal imbalances, which may trigger acne breakouts. Find healthy ways to manage stress. Try different exercises, meditation, or spending time with loved ones (2).
  9. Keep Hair Clean: Regularly wash it to keep it clean and free from excess oil, which can transfer to the ears.
  10. Seek Professional Advice: If you experience frequent or severe ear pimples, consult a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. A doctor can get to the root of the infection and help you remove the cause.


A pimple in the ear can be irritating in the early stages. However, if poked too much or left untreated, it can manifest into a full-blown cyst. Pimples are painful if they get infected. An infected pimple in ear can even cause fever. Most pimples are due to hygiene, while others may be due to hormonal changes. The ideal way to go about a painful pimple in the ear is to visit a doctor. However, many people prefer home remedies for pimples. You can use witch hazel for minor relief or turmeric paste. But it is important to try and avoid the issue altogether.


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Why are pimples in the ear so painful?
Pimples in the ear can be painful due to the sensitive and delicate skin in the ear area. Inflammation and pressure caused by the buildup of bacteria, oil, and debris in the pore can lead to pain and discomfort.

How long does a pimple in the ear last?
A pimple in the ear can last from a few days to weeks. The duration may vary based on factors such as the type of pimple, the individual's immune response, and the effectiveness of any applied treatments or remedies.

Is a pimple in your ear an infection?
Not necessarily. Clogged pores, excess oil, or bacteria without infection can cause the pimple. However, if the bump is red, swollen, and filled with pus, it may indicate an infected ear pimple, requiring proper medical attention and treatment.

Is it safe to put hydrogen peroxide in my ear?
You could use hydrogen peroxide to clean the outer ear, but it should not be put directly into the ear canal. The ear canal is a delicate and sensitive part of the ear, and introducing hydrogen peroxide directly into it can be problematic.

Why does the inside of my ear hurt when I touch it?
If the inside of your ear hurts when you touch it, several possible reasons could be causing the discomfort. The reason could be a pimple, ear infection, irritation or injury, a swimmer's ear, or inflammation.

How do you pop a cystic pimple without a head?
Popping a cystic pimple with no head is not recommended. Cystic pimples are deep-seated, and squeezing them can lead to further inflammation, infection, and scarring.

What is the black dot in my ear canal?
The black dot in your ear canal could be earwax, a small foreign object, or a hair follicle. Consult a healthcare professional or an ENT specialist for a proper examination and safe removal if necessary.

About The Author

Sanchari, a certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach



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