Pimples Inside Ear Canal Causes and Best Cures

Pimple inside ear

Table Of Contents

Having a pimple inside ear canal is among the most painful pimples one can ever have. It is not easy to pop it compared to that on cartilage or earlobe. It needs a lot of care.

Also, it is very uncomfortable especially with the urge to scratch which makes it worse on scratching. The good thing about zits in the ear is that one can treat them from home. These pimples appear at the ear canal, a passageway which connects its outer or external part to the eardrums.

Pimple inside ear

What causes it?

The body has pores all over the body that have follicles with hair and oil glands. The oil gland produces oil that travels up the hair to lubricate the skin. If there is too much sebum, dead skin cells, and growth of microorganisms, then the pores are clogged, and one gets acne such as pimples, blackheads, whiteheads among other forms of acne.

Pimple in ear canal causes

Pimples, or what is referred to as zits including the milder forms such as whiteheads or blackheads can show up anywhere on the body so long as the part of the body has skin cells, oil-producing glands, and hair cells. Bacteria and anything which introduces dirt or bacteria into the ear will cause pimples.

In addition, bacteria in the ear canal causes external otitis, which in some rare cases, it’s caused by fungi. Injuring your canal during cleaning (if using cotton swabs) or getting irritants and water (hair sprays/ hair dye) into the canal will lead to external otitis. It is also common after swimming and this kind is referred to as swimmer’s ear. Hearing aids and earplugs also cause it, especially if not properly cleaned.

The infection of a hair follicle causes red, small pimple-like bumps in the ear canal. Such can can get very painful and will sometimes contain white or yellow pus. Sometimes, the pimples caused by furunculosis turns into boils which can grow very large and block the affected ear canal’s interior. If this happens, you can get a temporary hearing loss.

Some of the other causes include:

  • Dirt or dust exposure
  • Poor hygiene
  • To much oil produced by the glands
  • Using dirty headphones or earbuds
  • Putting things in the ear including fingers, keys, ball pen lids etc.
  • Stress
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Wearing dirty helmets and hats and wearing them for a long time.
  • Allergic reactions for example when hair and face products get into the ear canal.

How to treat or get rid of a pimple in your ear

There are several treatment methods one can use to treat zits in this area as well as reduce pain. You can use over the counter medicine or home remedies. Let us begin with home remedies. 

a). Home remedies

These home remedies will help kill infections, reduce pain and drain pus or discharge in the ear.

1. Hot Compress

Soak a clean cloth in hot water, wring it thoroughly and then press it on the pimple for 10 to 15 minutes this will help reduce the soreness and inflammation.

2. Tea Tree Oil alone or with coconut oil

Contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The National Library of medicines reports that tea tree oil is effective in getting rid of pimples and acne. It also reduces the symptoms of acne outbreaks.

For effective use, put two drops on a cotton bud and apply it gently to the pimple. Take care not to put the bud too far into the inner ear. Repeat this twice or thrice a day. It will reduce inflammation and heal the pimple.

Tea tree oil can also be mixed with Coconut oil. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, an antimicrobial that kills some strains of bacteria. It also reduces inflammation in acne and is an effective treatment for the same according to the Healthy and Natural World. Mix 3 drops of tea tree oil with a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil. Apply the mixture to the zit in your ear using a cotton swab. Massage it gently into the pimple and the surrounding skin. Apply twice or thrice a day or till the bump in your ear goes away completely.

3. Witch hazel

Witch hazel will help drain the pimple off pus and heal it. For effective use, mix 1 drop of witch hazel with three drops of tea tree oil and 3 drops of lavender oil. Apply to the pimple using a cotton ball and allow to dry. Repeat twice or thrice a day until the pimple heals.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Use it while diluted, raw and unprocessed to get rid of painful zits in the ear. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid that helps dissolve dead skin cell layers which can block pores. This helps prevent pimples. It also contains antiseptic properties that help remove bacteria and prevent infections.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera eases skin inflammation and speeds up healing. It can also be used on sensitive skin. Applying it reduces bacterial infections and reduces the itchiness.

b), Over the counter treatment for a pimple in ear

If you get continuous breakouts in your ear, consult a doctor. Treatment options will include:

  1. Topical medications like Tretinoin. This can be prescribed or bought over the counter.
  2. Benzoyl peroxide.
  3. Antibiotics: for example, doxycycline and minocycline to treat pimples associated with acne.
  4. Nonsteroidal medications like naproxen and ibuprofen.

Tips to prevent getting a zit inside your ear

  1. Always keep them clean. Clean the cartilage area, behind the ears and the earlobes. This will help remove any shampoos, gels or products that can cause pimples after clogging pores,
  2. Avoid using keys, pens or toothpick to scratch your ears. They only help spread germs and bacteria.
  3. Wash your hands before touching your ears.
  4. Avoid using cotton buds to clean them as they can push germs into the ear.
  5. Dry them after showering to help remove excess oil and prevent pore clogging.
  6. Do not share earbuds and if you wear them, clean them regularly using rubbing alcohol.
  7. Clean your hair at least twice a week to prevent hair oils from getting into the ear and clogging pores.
  8. Clean your phone and headphones at least once a week.
  9. Consult a doctor if you’ve got ear acne.

Warning – do not pop it

Do not pop the zit in your ear. This could spread the infection or worse. This is because when you do it, pus and bacteria can get deeper into the pores causing inflammation and irritation. The area will also scab if pus comes out of the pimple, causing the development of a scar. Picking, squeezing or poking the pimple can make it infected turning the pimple into a boil.


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