Pimple on the Outer Ear

The outside of your ear can be a breeding ground for pimples.

Photo: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

While some gals struggle with acne on their shoulders, back and neck, others find breakouts in a not-so-common area -- the outer ear. This includes the outside edge, as well as just outside the ear canal and on the lobe. Not only are these nasty little buggers not pretty, they can sometimes be painful as the ear is made up of cartilage. Just like acne on other areas of your body, ear pimples are easily treated.

What is a Pimple

To put it simply, a pimple is a clogged pore. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a few dead skin cells can clog a tiny pore. Usually, the dead skin cells get shed. But if your body is producing too much sebum -- or oil -- those dead skin cells get stuck together and trapped inside the pore. And when bacteria joins the party, you end up sporting a red, swollen cyst known as pimple.

Causes

There are loads of myths as to what causes overproduction of sebum oil. Don't blame it on your diet -- although eating healthy is the way to go. Acne also isn't caused by dirty fingers or bad hygiene. An article in "The New York Times," "Personal Health: Good News About Acne," attributes excess sebum oil to stress, hormones, medication and overexposure to sun. It could also be genetics -- some gals are predisposed to the dreaded pimple.

Treatment

It's never good protocol to squeeze a pimple, no matter where it is. Squeezing can lead to scarring or even infection. If the pimple is right near the ear canal and you decide to pop it, whatever bacteria is inside could seep into the canal.Treat an outer ear pimple the same way you would a pimple on your face. Wash with a mild antibacterial soap and use a topical acne spot treatment on the pimple. If the pimple is painful or infected, see your dermatologist.

Prevention

One way to prevent outer ear pimples is to keep your hair tied back. Hair oil can contribute to clogged pores. If you adore wearing your hair down but suffer from oily locks, shampoo regularly with a product geared toward eliminating the grease and lighten up on the heavy hair products. Acne that's caused by stress can be tempered by making a change in your lifestyle. Adding a yoga class to your routine, or something as simple as taking the time for a few deep breaths, can cut down on stress.

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