Say Goodbye to Ear Eczema: Expert Tips and Tricks for Relief

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Have you lost hope regarding the dry skin of your body? Does the dry skin, especially your ears, distress you a lot? Then, you might be undergoing ear eczema. Now, you might be thinking, what is that? Is it any skin condition? Well! We will make you familiar with this skin disease & also with the remedies that will cure it. Just follow us.

Say Goodbye to Ear Eczema: Expert Tips and Tricks for Relief
Say Goodbye to Ear Eczema: Expert Tips and Tricks for Relief

What Actually Eczema Is?

Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis by dermatologists, is a common skin disease that makes one’s skin itchy & red. One may develop this condition anywhere on their body, including the ear or ear canals. Eczema is of different kinds & its underlying cause usually identifies them. Most Eczemas affect your ears other than affecting your body’s rest parts.

What Is Ear Eczema?

Ear Eczema is a skin condition where the skin of the inner ear, ear cartilage, outer ear, or behind the ears becomes dry & itchy. Also, it is sometimes accompanied by redness.

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ear eczema
ear eczema

Symptoms Of Ear Eczema

Ear Eczema’s main symptoms are:

  • Skin patches of the ear become extremely dry or dry skin in the ears
  • The skin patches of the ear become red
  • The skin patches of the ear become scaly
  • Skin patches of the ear become itchy or itching in the inner ear
  • The skin patches of the ear become cracked
  • Dry skin behind ears
  • Dry skin on ear cartilage
  • Experiencing clear discharge from one’s ear

All these symptoms worsen in dry weather, like in the winter months. This is because the indoor heating (primarily through heaters) in these months makes the indoor air drier than usual. Ear eczema not only affects your ear’s inner & outer skin. Or, Eczema behind the ears (dry skin behind the skin of your ears) is not the only matter of concern for some people.

Ear eczema also happens on the skin of your ear canals. The ear canals start from your eardrums & continue till your ears open. Also, it affects the folded area between your earlobe & face. 

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Types Of Ear Eczemas:

1) Allergic Ear Eczema:

This type of ear eczema’s happened due to contact with an irritant or other things that you are allergic to. Generally, the following irritants or objects cause Allergic Ear Eczemas in people:

  • Hair products
  • Mobile phones
  • Makeup
  • Earrings
  • Headphones
  • Other personal care commodities

2) Asteatotic Ear Eczema:

This kind of ear eczema is more common in older people. It mainly happens when the skin of your ear is exposed to climate change. Several factors make Asteatotic Ear Eczema worse, and they are overwashing the skin area of the ears, windy circumstances, & indoor heating.

3) Seborrheic Dermatitis Ear:

This type of ear eczema happens mostly to people whose skin is oily (especially the area surrounding the ear) or who has an oily scalp. It happens to your ears, especially in the area behind your ears. Up til now, no doctor has claimed the actual cause of Seborrheic Dermatitis Ear Eczema because the reason for this skin disease is still uncertain. 

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However, it is thought that this skin condition may be either associated with the growth of any fungus within the oil that is secreted by your skin’s glands or due to your immune system response.

Are Ear Eczema & Ear Allergy the Same?

It can be said that ear eczema & ear allergies are related if not the same. Even for some people, ear allergy plays a vital role in causing ear eczema.

Does Infection Develop In Ear From Ear Eczema? What Are Its Signs & Symptoms?

As time passes by without treatment, the dryness & irritation (resulting from ear eczema) of scratching may cause several cracks in the skin of your ears or the areas surrounding them. 

This increases the risk of happening infected Eczema of the ear. In case of infected Eczema of the ear, you will find that wax, hair, or extra skin has formed inside your ear canal. It leads to ear infections & hearing issues.

Thinking! How will you understand that you have developed infected ear eczema? Want to know, what is the right time to contact a doctor? Well! Here are some of the signs & symptoms of infected ear eczema that will make you aware that you urgently need to consult a doctor:

  • Distressing pain inside your ears
  • Yellow/green discharge from your ears
  • An unexpected redness over your ear’s skin or its surrounding areas
  • Some flu-like symptoms like fever, pain, etc

A combination of antibiotics & some topical steroids suggested by doctors is needed for clearing up the symptoms of infected ear eczemas.

In What Way Ear Eczema Is Diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose ear Eczema through your ears’ basic examination. They may check the inside part of your ears with the help of light & see if your ears’ external canals have any irritation. They will listen to you about the symptoms of your ear problem & also your medical history. And, after that, they may go for a biopsy of your ear. 

The process involves collecting tiny skin cells from your ear’s affected area & observing them under a microscope. Such a biopsy of your ears’ skin tissue will help the doctor rule out similar conditions like Psoriasis.

Are Psoriasis In Ears & Ear Eczema The Same Thing?

Psoriasis in ears & ear eczemas are more or less the same thing though there are some mild differences between the two:

Ear Eczema and Psoriasis In Ears
Ear Eczema and Psoriasis In Ears
  • Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, whereas Eczema is a chronic skin condition triggered by inflammation of the skin in your body.
  • In the case of Psoriasis, skin cells peel quicker than normal whereas In the case of Eczema, dry, itchy skin with red patches is caused by the inflammation
  • In the case of Psoriasis, the surface of your skin develops dead skin cells whereas, In the case of Eczema, gene mutation happens that impacts a rise of the protein filaggrin. 

Ear Eczema Causes and Symptoms

The exact cause of ear eczema is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and a compromised immune system. Common triggers for ear eczema include exposure to water, harsh soaps, and irritants like hair dyes and hair care products. Symptoms of ear eczema include redness, itching, flaking, and crusting in the ear canal, as well as a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears. In severe cases, there may be discharge or bleeding from the ears.

Over-the-counter Ear Eczema Treatment

Over-the-counter treatments for ear eczema include hydrocortisone cream, calendula cream, and over-the-counter antihistamines. Hydrocortisone cream can help reduce inflammation, while calendula cream has soothing properties. Antihistamines can help relieve itching. However, it’s important to check with your doctor before using any over-the-counter treatment, particularly if you have severe eczema or a history of allergies.

Ear Eczema in Adults

Ear eczema can affect anyone, but it is more common in adults. In adults, ear eczema is often caused by exposure to irritants like hair dyes and hair care products, as well as frequent exposure to water. Symptoms of ear eczema in adults include redness, itching, flaking, and crusting in the ear canal, as well as a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears.

Ear Eczema and Hearing Loss

In some cases, ear eczema can lead to hearing loss. This is because the inflammation and itching caused by ear eczema can lead to damage to the ear canal, which can result in a blockage. Additionally, if ear eczema is not treated properly, it can lead to a secondary infection, which can also cause hearing loss.

Ear Eczema and Ear Infection

Ear eczema can make the ear canal more prone to infection. This is because the inflammation and itching caused by ear eczema can lead to breaks in the skin, which can make it easier for bacteria

Best Cream for Ear Eczema

When it comes to treating ear eczema, it is important to use a cream that is specifically formulated for the delicate skin of the ear canal. Some of the best creams for ear eczema include those that contain hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid, as well as moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and ceramides. Some examples of creams that can be used for ear eczema include Hydrocortisone cream, Eucerin Eczema Relief cream, and CeraVe Eczema Soothing cream. It’s always important to check with your dermatologist before using any cream.

How to prevent Ear Eczema

To prevent ear eczema, it is important to avoid known triggers such as exposure to water, harsh soaps, and irritants. It’s also important to keep the ears dry, which can be achieved by using earplugs while swimming, showering, and washing your hair. Avoid using cotton swabs in the ear canal, as they can irritate the skin. Also, always dry your ears thoroughly after bathing or swimming.

How to treat ear eczema

The treatment of ear eczema relies on the underlying reason for the condition and the area the skin disease affects. Allergic Eczema can be stopped by stopping the use of certain products, such as makeup and earrings. In this way, you can narrow down the cause of the irritation that causes Eczema. 

If your ear is affected by seborrheic Eczema, you have to cure it by applying antifungal ointment on your ear’s affected parts. Also, your doctor may prescribe you a topical steroid to reduce the inflammation of the skin behind your ear. In contrast, if your outer ear canal is showing the symptoms of ear eczema, your doctor will prescribe you to give steroid ear drops in that canal.

Another important thing for patients suffering from ear eczema is keeping the affected area moisturized, no matter what type of ear eczema you have. Also, the patient must avoid applying harsh soaps or cleansers surrounding their ears. This is because harsh soaps or cleansers may dry out the skin surrounding their ears & make the Eczema of their ears worse.

So, it is advisable to always use a gentle cleanser instead of a harsh one. It is best to shop for and apply cleansers specially made for eczema-prone skin. Doctors also recommend following up with a moisturizer containing colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal, having naturally anti-inflammatory properties and proven benefits, protects and soothes dry and irritated skin.

Furthermore, it is also better to stick with NEA’s (National Eczema Association) accepted sealed products. These products are well-evaluated to ensure that no eczema-worsening known skin irritants are present in them. Never use long cotton swabs for applying any ointment inside your ear. Only eczema ear drops can be dropped inside your ear canal with the doctor’s prescription. Doctors never endorse self-medication.

Natural remedies for ear eczema

Conventional treatment options for ear eczema include topical steroids, antibiotics, and antihistamines. However, many people prefer to use natural remedies to avoid the potential side effects of these medications.

Here are some natural remedies for ear eczema that may provide relief:

  1. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help soothe irritated skin and prevent infection. Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil to the affected area and massage gently.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has acidic properties that can help balance the pH levels in the ear canal. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and use a dropper to apply a few drops to the affected area.
  3. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can help reduce redness and itching. Simply apply aloe vera gel directly to the affected area.
  4. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and prevent infection. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil or olive oil and apply it to the affected area.
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and improve overall skin health. Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts, into your diet.

It is important to note that natural remedies may not work for everyone and can be ineffective in some cases. Also, it is important to consult a doctor before trying any new remedy, especially if you have severe eczema or a history of allergies.

Wrapping Up:

Yes, the name of the skin condition, ear eczema, indeed sounds heavy, but in reality, it’s not as heavy or challenging as it sounds. It is a very common skin condition and can be treated easily.

However, though the treatment shows its improvement fast, the skin of your ears or surrounding them does take some time to calm down. If you notice any severe symptoms or still have doubts about your Eczema, it is good to make an appointment with a doctor to rule out any other conditions.

So, why worry about your ear eczema when a regular topical steroid cream can control your inflammation and help you to heal? Regardless of your need for medical treatment for ear eczema, it is always a good practice to moisturize your ears, especially when they are in a healing process.

FAQs on Ear Eczema

Q1. Can you get Psoriasis in your ears?

Answer: Yes, one can have Psoriasis in their ears. Psoriasis in the ears is more or less the same as ear eczema, though there are some mild differences between the two. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, whereas Eczema is a chronic skin condition triggered by inflammation of the skin in your body.

In the case of Psoriasis, skin cells peel more quickly than normal. Apart from that, in the case of Psoriasis, the surface of your skin develops dead skin cells. 

Q2. Why does the inside of my ear itch?

Answer: The inside of your ear can itch because of the development of ear eczema inside your ear. Ear Eczema is a skin condition where the inner ear, ear cartilage, outer ear, or behind the ears becomes dry & itchy and is accompanied by redness.

Q3. Why do my ears itch when I wear earrings?

Answer: Your ears may itch when you wear earrings because you have developed ear eczema. Earrings are an irritant for some people known for triggering itching & Eczema is sometimes suggested by doctors (to eczema patients) to avoid it.

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Dr. Angela Olivares
Dr. Angela Olivares
Dr. Angela Olivares is a board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed her residency in dermatology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Ashton has a private practice in New Jersey and New York City, where she specializes in skin cancer detection and treatment, as well as general dermatology.

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