ZocdocAnswersCan whiteheads grow on earlobes?

Question

Can whiteheads grow on earlobes?

Is it normal to get things on your earlobes that look like whiteheads? If it's actually some kind of infection, I should use antibiotics (right?), but it actually looks just like a whitehead. Why would that even happen though? I wash my whole face quite regularly.

Answer

Acne is one of the most common reasons for people to seek medical advice. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. Whiteheads are a form of acne that forms when skin pores become clogged with dead skin debris and closed off allowing skin oils and bacteria and white blood cells to build up forming a white material. Whiteheads can appear on any part of the body, although they are more common on the face, and they can certainly also appear on the earlobes. It is possible that, while you have been diligently washing the whole of your face, you have not been applying quite as much attention directly to your ears. The best approach would be to try some focused cleansing of the ears, perhaps using an exfoliating preparation to see if that clears things up. If this does not work, you could try an acne treatment, but applying it to the ears. It is unlikely to be a more serious infection unless you are seeing a lot of redness and swelling around piercings, in which case those might be infected. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular skin concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. If things do not clear up then seeing your doctor is advised.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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