Bumps on the earlobe are rarely serious and usually go away without any intervention. However, these bumps can be painful, especially for people who must use earplugs, headphones or other protective hearing equipment and other devices or coverings that go over the ears. Understanding the causes of earlobe bumps can help prevent the onset of more bumps in the future.
Disorders of the skin on the earlobe can result in an earlobe bump. Epidermoid cysts are small bumps that develop under the skin and can be moved around with the fingers and are usually painless. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, epidermoid cysts can sometimes become cancerous and require medical evaluation. Benign cysts, such as sebaceous cysts, can develop on the earlobe, resulting in pain or discomfort. According to the National Library of Medicine, sebaceous cysts result from a collection of dead skin cells and oil produced in the oil glands of the skin and can develop on the earlobe or even inside the ear canal. Swollen or inflamed hair follicles on the earlobe can develop into a condition referred to as folliculitis, which can also result in earlobe bumps.
Trauma to the earlobe can result in a bump on the lobe. A cut or scratch on the ear can lead to an earlobe bump as the wound heals. Trauma that results from an insect bite or sting might cause a temporary bump on the earlobe that could get worse if the area is scratched or rubbed. Injuries to the earlobe, such as getting punched or hit with an object can also result in a bump. Attempts to pierce the earlobe with non-sterile equipment can also result in a bump in the earlobe and can also lead to infections, which can make the bump worse. Inserting dirty objects into the earlobe such as metal rings, studs or bars can also result in earlobe bumps, especially if the items are forced into the earlobe without any previous piercing hole for the item to go through.
Infections and Irritants
People with an infected cyst on the earlobe can also develop a bump; the original cyst might grow larger as a result of the infection and become more painful, swollen and tender to the touch. Folliculitis can also cause infections on the earlobe, which can lead to earlobe bumps. Excessive exposure to the sun can irritate the oil glands in the skin and result in a bump on the earlobe, especially since the earlobes are not often covered with sunscreen compared to other parts of the body. Use of beauty products such as facial creams or soaps can irritate the skin of the earlobe in some people and cause a bump to develop. In addition, wearing earrings or other ear jewelry can cause irritations to the earlobe that result in the development of a bump. People with acne on the earlobes might develop bumps if the acne lesions are picked at or squeezed.