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Do you have lumps behind your ear and are unsure about their causes? Lumps behind the ear have many possible causes, including skin or bone problems. Infections, certain cancers, and swollen lymph nodes can also lead to this issue. In most cases, a lump behind the ear isn’t a cause for concern and can typically resolve without treatment. Sometimes, however, it can signify a more serious, underlying condition.

Lumps behind the Ear: Causes

Several skin conditions and infections can cause lumps at the back of your ear. Some are cancerous, while others are not. Read on to find its possible causes.

1. Lumps in the skin

There are three main noncancerous causes of lumps behind the ear.

  • Acne
  • Lipomas
  • Skin cysts

Acne is a common cause of why you have lumps behind your ear. Acne occurs when your skin’s pores get blocked with sebum, an oily substance present at the base of your hair follicles. When the sebum mixes with dead skin cells and becomes infected, inflamed pimples can grow in. In the most severe form, they turn into lumps and are often called acne cysts.

If acne is causing the issue, the lump may cause pain when pressed and is often accompanied by pimples or cysts on the face. It would be best to visit a dermatologist to treat acne and acne scarring.

Lipoma is another common cause of lumps behind the ear. They are harmless, noncancerous, and grow very slowly. You can expect them to appear on any part of your body, including at the back of your ear. Because they don’t cause any pain and harm, it’s unnecessary to receive treatment and should go away independently.

Skin cysts can occur anywhere on your body, including behind the ear. They are fluid-filled sacs underneath the skin and can move around freely. You don’t have to worry about skin cysts since they are common and harmful and may disappear without treatment. However, it’s often difficult to tell whether the lump is a cyst or something dangerous. Therefore, you should visit a dermatologist or a general physician for the proper diagnosis.

2. Enlarged lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are parts of your immune system that filter tissues. They can cause lumps behind the ear and become swollen due to a nearby infection and should resolve without treatment. But you should visit a doctor if a lump lasts more than a couple of weeks.

3. Infections

The body sends white blood cells to the affected area due to infections. These white blood cells are sent to fight the invading cells, sometimes leading to fluid buildup in the area. If you develop otitis or ear infection and don’t get treatment, it may lead to a more serious infection called mastoiditis, which requires medical attention. Visit your doctor if the swelling behind the ear is red and tender, or push the ear outward.

Other symptoms of lump due to an infection include:

  • Ear discharge
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Possible hearing issue
  • irritation

When to see a dermatologist

Visit a dermatologist or doctor if the following symptoms accompany the lump:

  • Pain, tenderness, or redness
  • Discharge
  • Fixed in place
  • The lump grows or changes

Cancer is a rare cause of lumps under the skin. However, it’s advisable to rule out potential cancerous lumps with a doctor’s appointment. For this reason, we welcome you to visit Care Dermatology. We take pride in providing the best dermatology in Florida. Please call one of our offices for more information, and we’ll be happy to help.
You can reach us at (352) 612-1722 for our Fruitland Park location or (352) 218-3211 for our location at The Villages. You can also reach our Kissimmee location at (407) 553-3979.

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