2 doctors weighed in:
Painful swollen, warm to touch earlobe, with hard lump inside. What could this be, a boil?
2 doctors weighed in

Dr. Joseph Eastern
Dermatology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Ruptured cyst
Most likely it is an epidermal cyst that has ruptured.
The swelling and tenderness is the resulting inflammatory reaction, which is often mistaken for an infection. But like an infection, it needs to be drained to relieve the pressure and stop the pain. Epidermal cysts occur very commonly in earlobes; no one knows why.

In brief: Ruptured cyst
Most likely it is an epidermal cyst that has ruptured.
The swelling and tenderness is the resulting inflammatory reaction, which is often mistaken for an infection. But like an infection, it needs to be drained to relieve the pressure and stop the pain. Epidermal cysts occur very commonly in earlobes; no one knows why.
Dr. Joseph Eastern
Dr. Joseph Eastern
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