Bumps on the Top of My Ears

Ears are generally very tender and sensitive. If you develop bumps on the top of your ears, it may be uncomfortable and painful. It may make tasks, such as talking on a telephone, more difficult to perform. Depending upon the cause of the bumps, your hair may aggravate them.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.


The bumps on the top of your ears can vary in size. The bumps may be as small as a tiny whitehead or as larger pea-sized bumps. The diameter can also vary, ranging from the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen or as wide as the tip of your finger. Size will greatly depend upon the cause of the bump or bumps.


The bumps may appear small and hard or large and tender. They can resemble acne, blisters or larger sores. The skin on and around the bumps may be rough, flaky or smooth. The bumps may or may not have texture, depending upon the cause. If the bumps are infected, pus may ooze from the site. The pus will harden and cause crusting. If you have long hair, your hair may stick to the pus as it dries, making it very painful when you sweep your hair back, as it rips away from the infection.


Acne can cause these bumps. This can happen when a whitehead or pimple forms on the top of your ear. Gel, hairspray and mousse can cause acne to develop when the sticky substances dry on your skin and clog pores. Rosacea can also appear as acne on your ears, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Skin cancer can form on the top of your ears, creating a single bump or a cluster of bumps, according to DermNet NZ 2. You may have developed psoriasis on the tops of your ears or keloid scars from an injury or ear piercing.


If acne forms on the top of your ears, consider styling your hair differently or using oil-free hair products. Oil-free products will not cause your pores to clog. If the bumps are caused by rosacea, your health care provider may prescribe a topical antibiotic cream or lotion to help treat your condition. If you have skin cancer, treatment will vary depending upon the stage of skin cancer. Psoriasis is typically treated by using a moisturizer and switching to mild soap and shampoo; mild detergents tend to be less irritating to your skin. If the bumps are keloids from ear piercings or an injury, treatment options consist of having injections, wearing silicone sheets over the area or undergoing laser surgery.


To prevent skin cancer, wear sunscreen while outdoors and reapply often if you’re outside for prolonged periods. Wearing protective clothing, such as a hat, can help block the sun from reaching your skin. If you’re thinking of getting your ears pierced, consult with your physician to see if you’re a likely candidate to develop a keloid. Teenagers, pregnant women and those who have a family history of keloids are more likely to develop keloids, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Always consult your physician if the bumps on your ears don't go away with simple home treatments or if you are concerned about them at all.