A bump on the earlobe or cartilage can be both cosmetic and a health concern. People with this condition will always try to figure out the possible causes and available treatment options for these bumps. Get an insight on causes, remedy, treatment and how to prevent.
What Causes Bumps on Ears
They include the following;
An acne behind or around the ear can develop when hair follicles or pores become clogged. Oils and dead skin cells can clog the follicles a factor that can cause pimple which later becomes a large solid mass.
A Lipoma is a harmless fatty solid mass that develop between the layers of the skin. In many cases it is not easy to detect them from the skin surface but with time as they become larger in size, they can be felt with a hand. It is also important to note that lipoma bumps can develop on any part of the body.
- Ear Infection
Bacterial or viral infections can result to swelling, inflammation and itching around the ear. Also strep throat can cause swelling of the lymph nodes around the neck and behind ear.
Other infections that can lead to bumps include HIV/AIDS, monocleosis, chicken pox and measles.
An ear bump can also be a benign ear cyst or tumor. The tumors can be soft, small or painful especially when occurring on the outside of the ear canal. The benign can cause the following symptoms;
- Loss of hearing
- Infection of the ear both inside and outside
- Pain, irritation and discomfort
Piercing can result to growth of scar tissues known as keloid around the site of piercing. A keloid bump can also occur where surgery, blister, vaccination, acne or blister have caused injury to the skin.
There is no known treatment for keloids, however, they can be removed through surgical excision, radio therapy or cryosurgery.
An abscess is a lump or a bump that forms when a mass of cells or tissues in an area become infected. When the bump in the ear is an abscess, the bump will be painful, warm to touch and filled with pus.
- Sebaceous cyst
Sebaceous cyst inside the ear develops when the sebaceous glands are blocked by dirt and dead skin cells. The bumps can develop on any part of the body; however they commonly develop on the head, torso and neck.
According to mayoclinic.org an online health resource, an ear infection can result to a serious complication known as mostoiditis which leads to development of pus-filled cyst which can be painful and have a bump-like feeling behind the ear.
Bumps on Earlobes Causes
Bumps on the earlobes are usually harmless and some may not require any medical attention as they will go away on their own while others may require urgent medical examination. Below are some of the causes of these bumps.
- Allergic reaction
Allergic reaction to cosmetics, clothe, certain medications like steroids and vitamin complexes can cause inflammation, itchiness and pain on skin which then lead to appearance of multiple bumps on your earlobe either on inside or on the outside.
Trauma or injury can occur on any part of the body. When it comes to earlobes, piercing or jewelry can cause inflammation and consequently a pimple which with time may get infected and result to a bump on your earlobe as part of the healing process.
Infections within or outside the ear can result to swelling of the earlobe. Some of the infections may include:
- Abscess-abscess is also referred to as epidermoid An ear abscess can be defined as painless small bumps under the skin. An abscess can be removed by medications or surgery.
- Cellulitis– it is an inflammation of the deeper layer of the earlobe skin. In many cases if celullitis is not treated urgently it can result a complication that can be difficult to deal with.
- Auto immune disorder– This is a condition whereby the immune system attack some of your body parts. The symptoms of this condition include; skin peeling, swelling of the body tissue, lymph nodes and bumps on your earlobe.
- Otitis externa– This is a medical condition that affect the ear canal (canal between the outer ear and eardrum. It can also be referred to as swimmer’s ear.
- Insect Bites
Insect bites and stings can result to reddish swelling and inflammation. The stings inject venom which then triggers an allergic reaction. The stings may also transmit pathogens, bacteria, virus and parasites that can cause bumps, lumps and sores on the earlobe skin.
- Cosmetic Products
Use of some cosmetic products such as creams, concealers, scrubs and make up can irritate the skin and result to formation of bumps on your earlobe skin.
Also alcohol based shampoos used for cleansing the hair may cause inflammation especially on the earlobe hence resulting to bumps.
Cauliflower is the deformation of outer ear through punching. Punching can lead to a small clot within the ear that hinders flow of nutrients and blood. To clot shouldn’t be a cause for concern since it can be removed through warm compress.
Cancer of the earlobe is a rare medical condition, however there are instances where cancer cells may develop within the earwax and spread to the outside. The cancer cells could be basal cell carcinoma, malenoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
- Melanoma on the earlobe may result to changes in skin size shape, color and cause bleeding and crusting.
- Aquamous cell carcinoma on the earlobe may appear reddish, hard and scaly bumps. This cancer damages and disfigures the earlobe and sometimes it can heal and reappear again.
- Basel carcinoma can appear pink or pearly like bumps.
- Auricular choroiditis
- Poor hygiene
Bumps on Ears Cartilage Causes
A cartilage can be defined as a connective tissue found in many body parts such as joints and bones. It is made up of special cells known as chondrocytes that produce elastic fibres and collagen fibres.
Formation of a bump on the ear cartilage piercing site is an indication of an infection. Touching the cartilage piercing site with dirty hands and use of non-sterilized instruments for piercing are the major causes of the infection. Over the counter painkillers, antibacterial medications and antihistamines can be administered to manage the swelling, inflammation and itching. In case the symptoms of the infection do not go away, you can visit your doctor for consultation.
How to get rid of Bumps on Ears
Antibiotics such as doxycycline and minocycline to treat infected bumps, whether from ear picking, scratching or piercing of the bump with dirty contaminated objects or hands.
Drainage of the dead skin cells, blood and cells is usually applied in treating large bumps such as abscess, boils or infected sebaceous cysts. This helps to speed up the healing process.
- Topical medications
Over the counter topical medication derived from vitamin A ingredients and compounds can also be used to get rid of mild bumps on your ears. An example of a very common topical prescription is tretinoin.
- Anti-inflammatory injections
When an earlobe bump is inflamed and swollen, steroid injections may be administered to reduce the size of swelling and inflammation. Also anti-inflammatory topical medications can be applied to the bump directly especially when the swelling is minor.
- Surgical removal
For large painful or cancerous bump in on the earlobe or inside the ear, surgical excision may be recommended to get rid of the bump.
- Over-the- Counter- Medication
Over the counter medication such as 5% Benzoyl peroxide compounds can also be used to get rid of ear bumps. When using 5% Benzoyl peroxide, it is always advisable to avoid applying on open wounds and on mucus membrane in places like inside your mouth and nose.
- Systemic Drugs
Systemic drugs are usually derived from vitamin A compounds and they are used to treat severe cases of cystic bumps. Systemic drugs are normally taken under strict guidance of a health professional because in some cases they can cause complication and extensive side effects.
Garlic is rich with ingredients such as allicin compounds that are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.
To use garlic:
- Crush 2 garlic cloves and add 4 tablespoons of mustard oil.
- Heat the oil on low flame till the garlic cloves turn black.
- Strain the oil and let it cool down for at least 15 minutes.
- Dip a Q-tip in the oil and apply it to the pimple inside the ear.
- Repeat this process 2 to 3 times a day.
Cinnamon contains a chemical compound known as cinnamaldehyde that fight bacteria and microbes responsible for the ear bump. It also prevents the bacteria from spreading to other parts of the eye and stops the recurrence of the bumps.
To use Cinnamon:
- Take a spoon of raw honey and mix it with a tablespoon of powdered cinnamon in a bowel.
- Apply this mixture to the bump using a Q-tip.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes and then clean it with a wet cotton pad.
- Reapply this remedy at least 2 times each day until the bump goes away.
Epsom salt helps to destroy the infectious bacteria causing bumps and restoring a healthy PH on the skin.
To use Epsom Salt:
- Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt to ½ cup of water.
- Stir the water well until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Let the solution cool down and then dip a cotton pad into this solution.
- Wring out the excess water from the cotton pad and place it on your bump.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes and remove it.
- Repeat this process at least 2 to 3 times a day.
Alcohol is a great disinfectant and antiseptic and can prevent the bump from being infectious to other parts of the ear.
How to use:
- Take a cotton pad and pour some rubbing alcohol on it.
- Place this pad on the bump and leave it for 5 minutes.
- Repeat this remedy 2 to 3 times a day.
The anti-bacterial properties of basil fight the bacterial responsible for the bump and in the process curing the bump on your ear.
How to use:
- Take a handful of fresh basil leaves and grind them into a smooth paste.
- Apply the paste on your bump and leave it on to dry for at least 30 minutes.
- Repeat the application at least 3 times a day.
Other home remedies that can be effective in treatment include:
- Tea tree oil
- Witch hazel
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Black Tea Bag
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Lemon Juice
When to See a Doctor
Visit your doctor for examination when:
- The bump has become inflamed, starts leaking pus or raptures on its own.
- You are experiencing some form of difficult when swallowing
- The bump is accompanied with lots of pain and discomfort
- The bump is relatively growing in size
- The bump does not go away after several weeks of using home remedies.
- Symptoms accompanying the bump keep on worsening every day.
- You are experiencing difficulty in moving your neck or head.
How to Prevent Bumps on your Ears
- Avoid scratching your ear with keys, toothpicks or sharp objects.
- Increase your intake of vitamin A rich foods like carrots, papaya, pumpkin and spinach or vitamin C foods such as bell peppers and tomatoes to boost your immunity.
- Avoid using dirty hairpins or dirty ear buds to clean your ears.
- Avoid using oily, greasy and chemical laden hair products that make your bump on your earlobe worse.
- Maintain high levels of hygiene and cleanliness. Clean the earlobes and areas behind the ears everyday with a mild soap and dry with soft towel.
- Avoid picking or touching the bump on your earlobes frequently.
- Avoid swimming in dirty water
- Taking breaks from wearing helmets
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