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Acne Behind Ears: Causes and Solutions

Acne is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. But did you know that acne behind ears is also a prevalent issue? Although not as visible, ear pimples can be uncomfortable and painful.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the causes of acne behind ears, discuss various treatment options, and share prevention tips to help you achieve clear, healthy skin. Additionally, we'll answer some frequently asked questions about ear acne and provide valuable information about home remedies and proper skin care.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Acne behind ears is caused by factors like clogged pores, cystic acne, ingrown hairs, and the use of pore-clogging hair products or accessories.

  • Treatment options include over-the-counter acne treatments, tea tree oil, cold compresses, and home remedies like minced garlic or egg whites.

  • Prevention tips include maintaining good hygiene, using non-comedogenic products, avoiding touching your ears, adopting a healthy diet, and keeping hair off your ears.

  • Exposed Skin Care is a beneficial skincare system that accelerates the healing process, exfoliates dead cells, targets acne-causing factors, and is suitable for all skin types.

Closeup of white man with acne

What Causes Acne Behind Ears?

Clogged Pores and Oil Glands

One of the primary causes of acne behind ears is clogged pores. When excess oil, dead skin cells, and other debris accumulate in skin pores, it forms pimples. In the case of ear pimples, the oil glands in the outer ear may produce excess sebum that traps dead skin cells and bacteria, resulting in inflamed pimples.

Cystic Acne

Cystic acne is a severe form of acne vulgaris characterized by deep, inflamed, pus-filled bumps. It often occurs in areas with dense oil glands, like the face, neck, and behind the ears. If left untreated, cystic acne can cause scarring and may require medical attention.

Ingrown Hair

An ingrown hair occurs when a hair follicle becomes trapped beneath the skin's surface, leading to inflammation and a pus-filled bump. This can happen behind the ears, especially in individuals with curly or coarse hair.

Other Factors

Several other factors can contribute to the formation of acne behind ears, such as:

  • Hair products, makeup, or accessories that clog pores

  • Poor hygiene, including infrequent washing or not thoroughly rinsing shampoo and conditioner

  • Hormonal fluctuations, which can increase oil production

  • Wearing tight clothing, hats, or headbands that trap sweat and dirt

Teen boy with curly hair putting on red headphones

How to Treat Acne Behind Ears

Over-the-Counter Acne Treatments

Over-the-counter acne treatments containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation. Apply the product directly to the affected area using a cotton swab, following the instructions on the packaging.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a popular choice for treating pimples behind the ears. Dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil (like almond or coconut oil) before applying it to the affected area using a cotton swab.

Cold Compress

A cold compress can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain caused by cystic acne or inflamed pimples. Wrap an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas in a clean cloth and gently hold it against the affected area for 10-15 minutes.

Man using towel to cold compress ears

Home Remedies for Acne Behind Ears

When treating ear acne, sometimes the best solutions can be found right in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet. Home remedies can offer a natural, cost-effective approach to achieving clear, healthy skin.

Here are various home remedies to help you manage andtreat pimples behind the ears:

  • Minced garlic: Apply a thin layer of minced garlic to the pimple, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. Garlic has natural antibacterial properties that can help kill pimple-causing bacteria.

  • Egg whites: Whip an egg white until frothy, apply it to the affected area, and let it dry for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. Egg whites can help tighten skin pores, reducing the likelihood of future pimples.

  • Retin-A: Retin-A, or tretinoin, is a topical medication derived from vitamin A that promotes skin cell turnover and prevents clogged pores. Apply a thin layer to the affected area, following your doctor's recommendations or the product's instructions.

Prevention Tips for Acne Behind Ears

Maintain Good Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent ear pimples. Wash your hair and the area behind your ears regularly using a gentle, oil-free cleanser. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to remove any residue from hair products. Additionally, clean your accessories, such as hats and headphones, to minimize dirt, sweat, and bacteria buildup.

African American man wiping ears

Choose Non-Comedogenic Products

Opt for non-comedogenic hair care products and cosmetics formulated to not clog pores. Avoid using heavy, greasy products that can contribute to the formation of acne lesions.

Avoid Touching Your Ears

Touching your ears can transfer dirt, oil, and bacteria from your hands to your skin, increasing the risk of acne behind ears. Refrain from frequently touching or rubbing the area behind your ears.

Adopt a Healthy Diet

A well-balanced diet can benefit your immune system and overall health, potentially reducing the severity of acne. Include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your daily meals. Minimize your intake of processed foods, sugar, and dairy products, as they may contribute to acne in some individuals.

Young asian woman girl holding health food fresh

Keep Hair Off Your Ears

If you have long hair, keep it off your ears to prevent the accumulation of oil and dirt that could clog pores. Style your hair in a way that allows your ears to breathe, such as a ponytail or bun.

The Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

Exposed Skin Care is a renowned skincare system designed to combat acne effectively. Combining science and nature, this comprehensive product line addresses various acne-related issues and promotes healthier skin.

Exposed Skin Care Ultimate Kit

Here are some notable benefits of incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your routine to manage acne:

  • Accelerates the healing process: Exposed Skin Care contains ingredients like green tea extract, aloe vera, and tea tree oil, which work together to soothe inflammation, reduce redness, and expedite the healing process for acne lesions.

  • Exfoliates dead cells: The Exposed Skin Care system includes products that gently exfoliate dead skin cells, preventing clogged pores and acne formation. Removing dead cells from the skin's surface makes your complexion appear brighter and smoother.

  • Targets acne-causing factors: Exposed Skin Care products contain potent acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, targeting acne-causing bacteria and reducing excess oil production. This powerful combination helps prevent future breakouts and manage existing acne.

  • Suitable for all skin types: The Exposed Skin Care system is designed for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Its gentle yet effective formulations ensure that your skin is adequately cleansed and treated without causing irritation.

In summary, Exposed Skin Care offers a comprehensive approach to managing acne caused by various factors. By incorporating this skincare system into your daily routine, you can expect improved skin health, reduced breakouts, and a smoother, clearer complexion.


Acne behind ears can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience, but with the right knowledge and treatment strategies, you can effectively manage and prevent this skin issue. Implementing prevention tips like maintaining good hygiene, using non-comedogenic products, avoiding touching your ears, and adopting a healthy diet, along with a combination of over-the-counter acne treatments and home remedies, can successfully treat and alleviate ear pimples.

A comprehensive skincare system like Exposed Skin Care can provide a well-rounded approach to managing acne for all skin types. If your acne persists or worsens, seek professional advice from a board-certified dermatologist to ensure you receive the most appropriate and effective treatment for your unique skin needs. With dedication and the right tools, you can achieve the clear, healthy skin you deserve.


How do you treat acne behind your ears?

To treat acne behind your ears, try over-the-counter acne treatments containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, or home remedies like minced garlic or egg whites. In severe cases, consult a board-certified dermatologist for professional advice and treatment options.

What causes acne behind ears and neck?

Acne behind ears and neck can be caused by clogged pores due to excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Other factors include cystic acne, ingrown hairs, hormonal fluctuations, and the use of pore-clogging hair products or accessories.

Why do I have acne-like bumps behind my ears?

Various factors, including clogged pores, cystic acne, ingrown hairs, or skin conditions like folliculitis can cause acne-like bumps behind your ears. It's essential to determine the underlying cause to select the appropriate treatment.

Can lifestyle changes help reduce acne behind ears?

Yes, lifestyle changes can help reduce acne behind ears. Adopting a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can improve your overall health and immune system, potentially minimizing acne severity. These changes, maintaining good hygiene, and using appropriate skincare products can contribute to clearer, healthier skin.