Lump in Earlobe: Common Causes and Treatments

Lump in Earlobe

Do you feel a tiny, ball-like bump in your earlobe? Well, the lump in earlobe can be disturbing, and it may keep you thinking what exactly caused that hard bump. It is common to develop the bumps in and around the earlobe, but you should seek a professional medical help to find out the underlying causes.

This article discusses the common causes of the ear lumps, how to identify, risk factors, symptoms, and natural treatments.

What Is Lump in Earlobe?

The lump in earlobe is a localized swelling or bump that could be anywhere on the ear. Nodule, cyst, or tumor are other words to describe the bump. The lump could be caused by many factors. Some examples are inflammation, infections, and trauma (1).

They vary in sizes. They could appear to be a pimple on the ear or as large as the whole ear lobe. Common location areas for these bumps are ear canal, earlobe, and behind the ears. These lumps could be a cyst. The cysts do not produce pain. If they do, it is best to seek medical attention.

How to Identify Lump in the Earlobe

The lumps in earlobe are the sacs filled with dead skin cells. The size of the bumps is small and smooth. They are not larger than a pea, but you need to get them checked if they change in size. These bumps are similar to a blemish with a color that is slightly off than the skin color. They can be found behind or inside the ear, especially the ear canal.

The majority of these bumps are benign. The only issue about them is a minor cosmetic issue or distraction. These can be uncomfortable, even if earbuds rub against them. Damaged cysts leak a liquid called keratin. Keratin has almost the same texture as toothpaste.

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What Causes a Lump in Earlobe?

Lump on earlobes are harmless and go away on its own. Some of these bumps can cause annoyances, which require treatment. The first step to do before treatment is figuring out the cause.

1. Acne

Acne is a localized skin inflammation that is caused by overactive oil glands. These glands are at the base of the hair follicles. Acne can flare up on any part of your body. Some common areas for acne are parts exposed to the environment, such as the face, hands, neck, etc. This fact makes sense because earlobes are exposed to the atmosphere.

2. Piercing

Lump in the earlobe is a typical result when it comes to piercing the ears. Bumps from piercing happen due to the sudden removal of skin when the needle punctures the skin to make a small hole for the earring. The punctured area tends to have a burning and achy sensation after the piercing. Then, swelling develops, which leads to the lump in the earlobe.

3. Allergic Reaction to Certain Metals or Materials

People can develop an allergic reaction to certain metals or material. An allergic reaction can be the case when it comes to earrings. The lump that emerges from an allergic reaction is not always a sign of an infection. It is the body’s natural histamine response to the metal or material.

4. Trauma

Some examples of injury to the earlobe are unsanitary instruments, insect stings/ bites, cuts, and scratches. Trauma can cause a lump as the skin heals on its own. A lump immediately appears with insect stings or bites. Unsterilized piercing needles and dirty earrings can also cause bumps on earlobes.

5. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an inflammation of one or a group of hair follicles on any part of the body. An inflammation happens from microorganisms that enter the hair follicles that have experienced trauma. These are commonly found on the scalp, but it could happen to earlobes also. The reason for an inflammation on earlobe is the type of earring.

6. Cancer

Cancer cells can be triggered anywhere on the body, especially the earlobe. A tumor forms as a lump in the earlobe, and it looks like a hard bump.

7. Clogged Sebaceous Gland

Bump in earlobe due to a clogged sebaceous gland is also called a sebaceous cyst. These cysts are benign and harmless. The cysts are filled with dead skin cells and oil. They are not painful if it is not an infection. These cysts grow on the skin of earlobe, not under the skin.

8. Epidermoid Cysts

Epidermoid cysts are tiny bumps that develop under the skin. You can easily remove them using the fingers. Medical attention is needed if the bumps do not go away on its own in a week, as these bumps can turn into cancer.

Symptoms Associated with Lump in Earlobe

Lumps in your earlobe can produce other symptoms depending on the cause of them. The cause or reason of the bumps could stem from another part of the body.

Below the some localized, non-threatening symptom:

  • Itching
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Pus or discharge
  • Redness, swelling, or warmth

Other symptoms associated with ear lumps include:

A lump in earlobe associated with the above symptoms might indicate a medical emergency.

There are some other symptoms can turn into the life-threatening conditions and should be evaluated by doctors immediately. These symptoms include:

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  • Change in level or alertness or consciousness, such as passing out or fainting
  • Confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations, and delusions all indicate the change in mental status or behavior

Lump in Earlobe Risk Factors

There is a danger of developing a cyst according to some factors. Here are some factors that put an individual at risk for cysts.

Having a Rare Syndrome or Genetic Disorder

It is uncommon for babies and children to develop cysts. Cysts are more common for people who are past puberty. The skin is more prone to cysts or lumps with fluid when there is acne. Individuals who have experienced acne in the past or currently are more prone.

Lumps can bury themselves deep in the skin. This process is an abnormal skin cell reaction due to trauma on the earlobe.

How to Remove the Lump in Earlobe

It is easy to get rid of pimples and white or red bumps inside or on the ear. If the lump on earlobe creates pain, discharge, or bleeding, it is best to see a doctor.

1. Natural Healing

Natural healing is recommended in the case of pimples and cystic acne. The best course of action for pimples is to clean the area to promote healing. Cleaning the area also prevents future growth due to dirty build-up. Here are some tips to follow regarding pimples.

  • Avoid bursting or popping the pimple. Bursting the bump is painful and may cause a blister to bleed for long periods of time.
  • Apply tea tree oil and saltwater on the pimple to reduce swelling and irritation.

2. Antibiotics

Antibiotics can come as oral pills or topical creams. Infections of the earlobe or outer ear are sometimes treated with tablet versions. Antibiotic pills are ideal for swelling, little ear bumps, or pimples. An exception is for a condition called otitis externa. This situation requires corticosteroid ear drops.

Your doctor can give a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to remove a lump in the earlobe.

3. Drainage and Excision

A physician may use a corticosteroid injection to treat epidermoid cysts and to prevent future cysts from developing. Another treatment option is to have the cysts drained by creating an incision on the cyst.

Surgery is an option for keloids if they get too big, interfere with hearing, or considered too much of a distraction to the individual. It might not be the best option for cysts, bumps, and growths inside of the ear. The keloids have a tendency to grow back bigger, and surgery can help you prevent them from coming back.

Irene Entila

Irene Entila

Irene is a health and fitness consultant based out of Albuquerque, NM. She was a personal trainer during the years of 2010-2013. She holds a Bachelors of Liberal Arts with a focus on creative writing from The Evergreen State College. She obtained her personal trainer license through Seattle Central College in 2010. Irene has been an athlete since childhood. She currently train and compete in ultra-marathon running and jiu jitsu. She started health writing in 2009 as a hobby through her personal blog. She believes that people can seek help from a trainer or trained profession to reach fitness and health goals. Though, people can learn a lot about them and promote self-sufficiency if they had affordable resources. By 2010, Irene started contributing to several health websites while completing her personal trainer certification and training for marathons. She saw how certain health variables affected her training and wanted to share this information with the public. Since then, Irene has written various articles about health and fitness featured on different magazines.