What Is Chondrodermatitis Nodularis Helicis?

Do you have a bump on your ear? If so then there’s a chance you might have chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis (CNH), which is also referred to as Winkler disease. This is a skin condition that causes a bump inside the curved area of cartilage. This condition can be caused by various factors including sleeping on

Do you have a bump on your ear? If so then there’s a chance you might have chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis (CNH), which is also referred to as Winkler disease. This is a skin condition that causes a bump inside the curved area of cartilage. This condition can be caused by various factors including sleeping on one side of the body more than the other. People of different genders and ages can experience this condition although it often happens to 40+-year-old males. It can be tough to deal with skin infections and especially those that appear on organs like ears.

A small bump like CNH can cause big problems for people. The bump keeps growing until it has a diameter of 5mm to 10mm. Besides the bump itself, there’s sometimes some liquid that’s emitted from the center. The bump can also be sensitive to temperatures and touch. That includes a sharp feeling when the bump is exposed to cold weather. There are different ways to treat CNH ranging from home remedies to surgery. Some of them can be expensive. On the other hand, it might be worthwhile if you don’t have to wait years for the little bump to go away.

What Is Chondrodermatitis Nodularis Helicis?

CNH is a type of skin infection that’s a bump on the ear’s cartilage. The bump starts out very small then usually expands as time passes. It can expand to a diameter of 10 millimeters. Sometimes this condition doesn’t just include the bump but also a core that gives off a liquid.

While CNH produces a small bump, it can cause pain and discomfort. This is based on different factors like temperatures and even touch. For example, when the bump is exposed to cold temperatures it can cause various sensations like a sharp sensation.

These factors can make it tough to deal with CNH. On one hand, it’s a relatively small bump. However, due to problems like the core and sensitivity, this can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

When people see CNH they often believe it’s skin cancer. This is especially true when the skin surrounding the nodule gets scaly or bleeds.

In fact, it’s reasonable for people to mistaken CNH for skin cancer. That’s due to the way the CNH looks. The skin can sometimes become scaly or bleed.

A doctor can often determine whether or not you have CMH just about looking at the bump. However, sometimes this isn’t enough so they might order various tests run to determine whether or not that’s the case.

This can include a biopsy to determine whether or not you’re dealing with CNH or something else. As always, it’s important to get a condition checked out to determine the exact condition you have. In some situations, you might have a serious health condition and in others, it might be less major like CNH.

Tests like biopsies can be somewhat expensive. However, it’s definitely worth the cost if it means you’ll know whether or not you’re suffering from a serious condition like skin cancer.

Causes of CNH

CNH often results from the ear experiencing trauma or pressure. Here are some of the main causes:

Trauma to ear

This can include different situations like the ear cartilage being knocked in sports or other events. If you experience this situation then you’re more likely to have CNH. Whenever possible try to avoid trauma to your ear since it might result in this condition.

Sun Damage

It’s one thing if you get one sunburn every summer. However, if you keep damaging your skin due to sun exposure this can cause a lot of problems. It’s mainly due to UV rays, which include UVA, UVB, and UVC. Make sure to use sunscreen.

Sleeping on one side

In fact, sleeping on one side is one of the most common causes of CNH. There’s extra pressure on one ear when you sleep on it. It’s believed the problem could be related to changes in your blood flow.

A related issue is it’s usually better to sleep on your back. This helps to make sure you’re putting even pressure on both sides of your body. It’s also better for the back in particular because it’s being supported better than sleeping on one side.


It goes without saying that you should try to avoid frostbite in general. Unfortunately, sometimes people are in situations in which they’re unable to control certain situations and end up with this condition. One side-effect you might experience is CNH.

The solution is to prepare effectively for long-term periods you might have to spend in sub-zero weather. Bring enough gear and equipment to keep you warm.


You won’t necessarily experience CNH just by using these units. However, if you use them all day and day-after-day then over time you might develop CNH. If you have to use a headphone or phone all day just make sure to take breaks.

Treatments for CNH

If you have CNH here are some possible treatments:

Change Sleeping Habits

In theory, it’s better to sleep on your back instead of one side. If you want to avoid CNH then this is one of the best steps to take.

However, if you simply can’t avoid sleeping on your side then you can take some steps to reduce the risk of CNH:

  • Make an ear protector made of foam rubber that’s secured by a headband
  • Alternate the side you sleep on
  • Make a hole in your pillow around your ear
  • Sleep on a soft pillow


This zaps the chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis bumps and can be an effective way to remove them.

Don’t press a headset against your ear

You should instead use the loudspeaker if you have to use the phone all day. Using a headset now and then won’t be a problem. However, if you have to use a phone all day then consider the loudspeaker to take the pressure off your ear.

Liquid nitrogen

This can help to speed up the healing process of the bump. The liquid nitrogen can freeze the bump so it will hopefully fall off.

Take precautions in extreme weather

If you’re going to be in super-cold or hot weather then make sure to minimize how much exposure your skin has to such temperatures. This includes bundling up in frigid weather and using sunscreen/hats in sizzling weather.

Use medication

Your doctor can provide you with various options to treat your CNH. They include ones like antibiotics. There are various options that treat different aspects of CNH. One of the possible drawbacks of this option is side-effects.


This includes collagen injections under your skin. This provides a layer of protection atop the cartilage, which can help to treat chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis.

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