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What Causes Earlobe Cyst & How To Manage It?

About Earlobe Cyst:

It is quite common for cysts to form anywhere in the body. A cyst can be defined as a sac like structure that forms on the surface of the skin that is filled with fluid and other debris. While a cyst can develop anywhere in the body, a cyst in the earlobe is something that is not quite as commonly seen. An Earlobe Cyst is in most cases completely benign with little chances of it getting malignant and poses no real threat to the health of the individual. Earlobe Cyst is also referred to by the name of epidermoid cyst.[1]

Earlobe Cyst cysts grow very slowly and a removal of these cysts are only considered if these cysts cause any pain or discomfort or if there is a chance of the cyst rupturing and causing an infection. Earlobe Cyst cysts are normally filled with keratin and in majority of the cases are found in the face, trunk, and neck. They may also at times be found in the genital areas and fingers as well. The chances of an Earlobe Cyst increases as an individual reaches the third or the fourth decade of life. It is very rare for a cyst to form in children under 10 years of age.[1]

Earlobe Cyst is seen more in males than females. Studies suggest that only around 1% of all cysts have a chance of becoming malignant. This article gives a brief overview of some of the potential causes and management options for Earlobe Cyst.[1]

What Causes Earlobe Cyst?

What Causes Earlobe Cyst?

As stated, a cyst is a sac like structure of tissue that is filled with fluid or air along with other debris. A cyst is formed when the cells multiple and accumulate instead of falling off. This accumulation occurs in the innermost layer of the skin. In some cases, a cyst can also form on the outer layer of the skin. This happens when the hair follicle gets damaged. There are also certain risk factors which increase the chances of an individual developing Earlobe Cyst.[2]

Age plays a vital role in determining whether an individual is at risk for developing cysts. As stated, it is extremely rare for children to get Earlobe Cyst when compared to adults. In some cases genetic makeup also plays a role in increasing the risk of an individual developing a cyst. It has been seen that people with a genetic condition like Gardner Syndrome have a tendency to develop polyps and cysts around the colonic region. Additionally, having a history of skin disorders like acne also puts an individual at risk for developing cysts.[2]

There have also been rare cases where cancers have been linked to epidermoid cysts. These forms of cancers are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. In some cases melanoma in situ can also occur after an epidermoid cyst.[2]

How is Earlobe Cyst Managed?

How is Earlobe Cyst Managed?

With regard to treatment of Earlobe Cyst, in majority of the cases this condition does not require any treatment once a confirmed diagnosis has been made. For this, the physician may do a biopsy of the cyst by taking a small sample of the cyst and analyze it to check for any malignancy. In case if the cyst grows in size to an extent that it looks unsightly or causes pain or discomfort then the physician may decide to remove the cyst.[2]

This may be done by using local anesthesia and making a cut to remove the cyst in its entirety. This form of removal of Earlobe Cyst usually prevents any recurrence of the condition. In other cases, the physician may simply make a cut on the cyst and drain its contents. This shrinks the cyst where it is barely visible. However, with this treatment the chances of the cyst recurring is extremely high. In case if the physician believes that there is a chance of an infection due to Earlobe Cyst, then the patient may be put on a course of antibiotics.[2]

Additionally, a steroid may be injected in the Earlobe Cyst to decrease the inflammation. It is important to mention that the cyst should never be squeezed to take its content out since this may lead to scarring and infection. With regard to home remedies, applying warm compresses over the Earlobe Cyst can hasten the healing process and may even help with the drainage of the cyst. As stated, Earlobe Cyst in majority of the cases is completely benign; however, there are rare chances of certain complications which will need evaluation and treatment.[2]

At times, the Earlobe Cyst may become infected and there may be surrounding inflammation. When this happens, the patient will have to be treated with antibiotics to clear the infection and medication generally steroids to treat the inflammation. At times, the Earlobe Cyst may go on to burst spilling out its contents. This will require immediate consultation and treatment by a physician. An extremely rare complication of an Earlobe Cyst is the development of skin cancer.[2]

In conclusion, Earlobe Cyst in majority of the cases is benign and poses no threat to the health of the individual. These cysts also referred to as epidermoid cysts tend to develop in people who are in their 30s or 40s. A cyst forms when the cells multiply and accumulate in an area instead of shedding. This results in the development of sac like tissue that forms in the innermost layer of the skin. This structure may be filled with fluid, air, and other material like keratin.[1,2]

In some cases, an individual with certain genetic conditions like Gardner Syndrome are predisposed to development of cysts. Medical treatment is not required in most cases of Earlobe Cyst and applying just warm compresses hastens the process of drainage and healing of the cyst. There are many cases where these cysts resolve spontaneously without need for any intervention. However, if an individual has pain, discomfort, or observes that the cyst is either ruptured or is infected then a consultation with a physician is required for treatment.[2]

Additionally, if the patient feels that the Earlobe Cyst looks unsightly then he or she may opt to remove the cyst. This may be done either surgically using local anesthesia or draining the cyst. While surgically removing the Earlobe Cyst prevents recurrence, the chances of the cyst returning after drainage is high. Thus the patient should weigh the options carefully and discuss it with the physician before going in for treatment of Earlobe Cyst.[2]


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 5, 2022

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