Eczema in Ears? Quick Guide + Top Home Treatment Tips 2021
Ok so let’s get one thing straight here, eczema is no joke. It isn’t fun (or big or clever) and certainly isn’t something you can just ‘get over’.
We know it, you know it, the majority of the world should know it.
But eczema in your ears? Really?
There was no need for you to go there, eczema (and anywhere else in fact whilst we’re on the subject).
But alas, it does. And it leaves lovely people like us trying to come up with solutions for lovely people like you.
In this article, you’ll learn:
1) What is ear eczema?
4) Top tips for a simple home treatment plan
First off, what is ear eczema?
Ok, ok, seems like a straightforward question with an answer you’re probably already aware of - but let’s just set the stage here.
Ear eczema is nasty.
Red, itchy, sometimes weeping, it will form on the outside of the ear or inside the canal. This can make it difficult to treat especially when you might be averse to putting cream inside your ear canal.
It’s something that can arise without any triggers at all and in this case (technical word incoming) it’s referred to as aural eczematoid dermatitis.
This is more common in people with a natural predisposition towards skin conditions and unfortunately like all other forms of eczema, there is no silver bullet that magically cures it.
But, it can be managed!
As you might have already guessed the symptoms for ear eczema aren’t all that different from eczema on any other part of your body.
However there’s a few extra points you’ll want to take note of:
- Dry, itchy, scaly skin around the outside of your ear or inside the canal
- Visible redness that stands out compared to rest of your body
- Swelling of the ear
- Clear discharge from inside the ear
It’s important to remember that eczema can also form behind or around the ear and on the crease where your ear meets your scalp.
Because you clearly can’t see this, it’s easy to just scratch away mindlessly and think nothing of it.
We know how hard it is to resist the itch (trust us we really do) but going hammer and tong behind your ear is a surefire way to prolong your discomfort.
In the long run this can even lead to tough, scaly patches or bleeding and intense inflammation.
Basically, the stuff you really want to try and avoid.
So we know what this tricky little devil looks like, first tick in the box.
But what causes it?
Essentially there are 3 different types of eczema we need to be aware of that can affect in or behind your ears.
Number 1 on the hit list.
This forms on oily parts of your body so the skin around your ears, and specifically behind them, is a prime target (as are your upper back and nose).
An inflammatory reaction to excess Malassezia yeast, an organism that usually lives on the skin’s surface, is likely the main suspect here.
Common triggers for this can include:
- Cold, dry weather
- Hormonal changes
This results when the skin comes into contact with something that triggers an allergic reaction.
As ever, pinpointing the trigger is the whole game here and is vital if you hope to find some relief.
When it comes to ear eczema some of the main triggers can be:
- Earrings - usually nickel or gold
- Specific hair products containing certain ingredients
- Mobile phones
This is much more common in older generations (the average age of sufferers is 69 years) however it is not unheard of in younger people either.
It occurs when your skin is exposed to changes in weather and there are a number of factors that can make it worse.
Overwashing, specifically with soap, can irritate the skin further as can indoor heating.
Top tips for ear eczema treatment
1) Number 1 and maybe most important - get rid of any potential triggers that your skin might be reacting to.
Yep, that means throwing those lavish gold earrings into the bin (sorry not sorry).
This is easy to do and if it is contact dermatitis that’s the underlying cause, might hopefully go a long way to improving the problem.
2) Wash the ears each night with warm water to keep the infected area clean.
3) Right after washing, use our calming spray to nourish the skin and stop the need to itch.
Fragrance free and containing a blend of 3 traditional Chinese herbs used for 1000’s of years in Asian Medicine, our unique blend has been specifically designed to combat the symptoms of allergy prone skin.
4) If it’s cold weather, wear a hat! Lower temperatures can cause flare ups so it’s important to keep your ears protected.
5) If you have dry skin that has made its way down into the ear canal, again our calming spray is a great option as might be ear drops prescribed from a doctor.
6) Take a step back, pause, rest, breathe.
Stress is known to exacerbate the symptoms of eczema so to truly make a breakthrough with your skin, it’s vital to look at the problem holistically.
We’re big on this here at yan-yee and preach yoga, meditation and mindfulness to try and help you lead a more peaceful life (check out our socials @yanyeeskincare if you want to learn more).
Can this get infected and what should I do if it does?
With the oil, wax and other lovely things that tend to congregate in your ear, if eczema is put into the mix too it can create a tricky situation that might lead to infection.
You should speak with a doctor immediately if any of the following things happen:
- Ear ache.
- Green or yellow discharge.
- Unusual inflammation and redness.
Thats a wrap
So there you have it!
We’ve just taken you through the symptoms, causes and top tips for treatment when it comes to the dry, itchy, nasty stuff inside and around your ears.
What have we missed? Jump over to our Twitter page and let us know!
The yan-yee team
1) Ear eczema factsheet. (n.d.) Link
2) Dermatitis of the Ear Canal (Chronic Otitis Externa). (2020). Link
3) Seborrheic Dermatitis. (n.d.) Link
4) Skin conditions associated with malassezia. (2004). Link
5) Contact dermatitis. (2019). Link
6) Asteatotic Eczema. (n.d.) Link