Acne is the most common skin problem in the United States. About 40 to 50 million Americans have acne at any one time, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (1).
Pimples can occur in different areas of the body, including your ears where it is more common than you might think. They can develop on your ear wattle, ear canal, the ear cartilage, or behind or near your ears.
Pimples occur when the pores in your skin get blocked with oil, dead skin cells or germs.
This can happen due to poor hygiene, extreme winter and summer weather, wearing hats or helmets, hormonal fluctuations, ear piercing, using low quality cosmetics, getting beach sand in your ear, certain medicines (specifically corticosteroids and contraceptive pills), poor diet, excess stress and too much sebum production.
Pimples in the ears can be very tender and cause mild pain, as well as give the false impression that your ears are dirty.
Whether huge or little, pimples in your ears can be treated with some simple and effective home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to deal with pimples in the ear.
1. Warm Compress
To take care of a pimple in the ear, warm compresses can be extremely useful in drying out the acne.
Heat also helps reduce inflammation and irritation, which in turn can soften a pimple to bring the pus to the surface.
Plus, the warmth helps reduce any pain associated with pimples.
- Soak a washcloth in warm water and squeeze out the excess water.
- Apply the warm compress on the ear for 5 minutes.
- Use a gentle cleanser to wash the ear.
- Use this remedy twice daily for a few days.
2. Ice Pack
If your agonizing ear pimple is puffy and causing a lot of pain, an ice pack can be highly beneficial.
The cold temperature will slow down blood flow and reduce inflammation by tightening up the skin temporarily. It also helps reduce the redness.
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin, clean towel.
- Rub the pimple with the ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Repeat a few times a day.
Caution: Do not apply ice directly on the skin, as it can cause frostbite.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar acts as an astringent and has antibacterial properties. It kills the bacteria and also opens up the clogged pores, providing quick relief from the discomfort.
- Mix 1 part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water.
- Dip a cotton ball in the solution.
- Apply it directly on the pimple.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes, then clean the area thoroughly with a few cotton balls dipped in water.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily for quick results.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is excellent for treating pimples in the ears. It has antibacterial properties that help fight the bacteria that cause these skin problems.
Plus, it helps reduce the redness and inflammation due to pimples.
A 2007 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology reports that topical application of 5% tea tree oil is an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne vulgaris (2).
- Dilute 1 part tea tree oil with 10 parts water.
- Mix well and dip a cotton ball in it.
- Hold the soaked cotton ball on the pimple for 10 minutes.
- Wipe off the area using a clean cotton ball.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day.
Turmeric is the right solution for all types of pimples, including those in your ears.
It helps kill the bacteria that cause pimples and prevents pimples from forming. It is also a good anti-inflammatory agent to reduce the inflammation caused by the pimples.
A 2013 study published in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin reports that curcumin in turmeric exhibits antimicrobial activity that inhibits P. acnes bacteria that cause acne (3).
- Mix equal amounts of turmeric and honey, then apply it directly on the pimple. Leave it on overnight. The next morning, rinse it off with cool water. Do it once daily.
- You can also add 1 teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of warm milk, and drink it regularly before going to bed to prevent pimples.
6. Aloe Vera
Another good remedy for treating pimples in the ears is aloe vera.
It has antibacterial properties and can treat redness, swelling and inflammation of the affected skin.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found aloe vera to be very effective for the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris (4).
- Cut open a leaf from an aloe vera plant.
- Extract the gel and apply it on the pimple and the inflamed area.
- Leave it on for 20 minutes before cleaning it off with a cotton ball soaked in water.
- Repeat twice daily for several days until you get positive results.
7. Neem (Indian Lilac)
Neem, also known as Indian lilac, has antifungal, antibacterial and blood-purifying properties that make it one of the best remedies for pimples in the ears.
Neem kills the bacteria that cause pimples and can prevent them from coming back.
A 2014 study published in the Indian Journal of Research in Homoeopathy reports that neem has a role in the early and recovery phases of acne, when inflammatory changes are minimal. However, further study on a larger sample size is desirable (5).
- Grind a few neem leaves thoroughly to form a paste. Mix a pinch of turmeric powder into the paste. Apply it on the pimple. Leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Do this once daily.
- Alternatively, you can apply neem oil on the pimple twice daily to help it heal quickly. Make sure to dilute the neem oil in 2 teaspoons of any carrier oil like coconut oil before applying.
As honey is a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agent, it can treat pimples in the ears and prevent infections.
- Dip a cotton swab in honey, put it directly on the pimple and leave it on for 30 minutes. Clean the area well with a cotton ball soaked in lukewarm water. Do this a few times a day.
- Alternatively, thoroughly mix 1 tablespoon of honey and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Apply it on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then clean it off with a cotton ball soaked in warm water. Repeat once or twice a day.
Note: Avoid using cinnamon in case you have sensitive skin.
9. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol has disinfectant, soothing and cooling properties that work effectively against pimples in the ears.
It helps remove dirt from the skin and unclog blocked pores, which in turn help reduce the pimple in size and redness.
It also keeps the affected area sterilized to help reduce the risk of infection.
- Soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently dab it on the affected area.
- Leave it on for 15 minutes.
- Clean the affected area with a cotton ball soaked in lukewarm water.
- Do this 2 or 3 times a day.
10. White Toothpaste
Your regular toothpaste can also be used to treat pimples quickly. It is most effective when used following the ice pack remedy.
However, only use white toothpaste and avoid using gel or flavored toothpaste.
- Apply some white toothpaste on the pimple before going to bed.
- The next morning, clean it off using a damp washcloth or a cotton ball soaked in water.
- If you wish, you can repeat the process in the daytime also.
- Clean your ears regularly to prevent buildup of oil and dead skin cells.
- Avoid touching your ears with dirty fingers.
- Do not squeeze the pimple. It will only make the problem worse.
- Do not scratch or scrape the pimple with your nails, as it can cause scarring.
- Choose your hair and face care products carefully, as they can be a reason for pimples in your ears.
- Always keep your cell phone and earphones clean, as they can contribute to causing acne in your ears.
- Make sure to wipe your ears dry with a towel after taking a shower and after exercising.
- Eat less processed foods and fast foods.
- Include more whole foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Acne. Acne | American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne#causes.
- The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Indian journal of dermatology, venereology and leprology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17314442.
- In vitro anti-propionibacterium activity by curcumin containing vesicle system. Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23546001.
- Effect of Aloe vera topical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, prospective trial. The Journal of dermatological treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23336746. Published April 2014.
- Azadirachta indica in treatment of acne vulgaris-an open-label observational study. Indian Journal of Research in Homoeopathy. http://www.ijrh.org/article.asp?issn=0974-7168;year=2014;volume=8;issue=4;spage=218;epage=223;aulast=Miglani.