Ear Eczema : causes, symptoms, and treatment  

Eczema is a condition that makes your skin red and itchy. It can affect any part of the body, including the ankles, feet, inner elbows, around the eyes, and in and on the ears. Ear eczema can be an extremely irritating and, at times, painful . In this article we’ll discuss ear eczema, its causes, symptoms and how to treat it. 

What is Ear Eczema ? 

It’s skin condition that causes discoloration, dry skin and itchiness in, on and around your ears. It’s a red and itchy rash that develops on the inside or outside of the ear. 

Eczema can affect the entire ear including the earlobes, conchal bowl, the ear opening (meatus), ear canal – the part of the ear that leads to the ear drum and the ear drum itself. The ear folds, backs of the ears and the area where the ears meet the face are also common areas for eczema.

Types and Causes of ear eczema

There are three types of eczema that can affect your ears and its causes. These are : Allergic eczema,Asteatotic eczema and Seborrheic eczema.

  1. Allergic eczema occurs when you comes into contact with an irritant or something you’re allergic to. This overreaction can cause inflammation of your skin. Common irritants and allergens include earrings, hair and skin care products, food, pollen, cell phones or headphones.
  2. Asteatotic eczema. People of 65years and older  are more likely to be affected by this type of eczema. This happens when the skin is exposed to changes in the weather or temperature and it tends to flare up during the winter season. Low humidity (dry air) can cause your skin to become dry and itchy. Harsh soaps, wool and hair and skin care products can also cause it.
  3. Seborrheic eczema. This commonly affects the oily parts of your body, including your ears, scalp, nose and chest. No one knows exactly what causes seborrheic dermatitis, but a surplus of a type of yeast on the surface of your skin may be the cause.

However the following can also cause ear eczema; 

  1. Genetic 
  2. Having a family history of asthma or hay fewer. 
  3. Stress
  4. Nutritional deficiencies 
  5. Environmental triggers 


Symptoms of ear eczema include:

  • Itchy skin.
  • Dry skin.
  • Discolored rashes.
  • Bumps on your skin.
  • Leathery patches of skin.
  • Crusty skin.
  • Swelling.
  • Discharge coming from the ear.
Ear eczema


Some measures can help prevent eczema flare-ups: 

  • Identifying specific allergens that trigger your symptoms (with the help of your dermatologist) and avoiding triggers whenever possible
  • Using a cool-mist humidifier at home when the air is dry
  • Implementing lifestyle changes (such as eating a healthy diet and reducing stress)
  • Wearing a hat to cover your ears in cold weather, since cold air can worsen eczema symptoms
  • Practicing good bathing habits such as taking warm baths—not hot—and using unscented bath products
  • Moisturizing your skin after you bathe or shower with a product approved by the National Eczema Association

Home remedies

Remedies and making lifestyle changes are the primary treatment of ear eczema 

These home remedies for ear eczema include the following:

  • washing the ears each night with warm, but not hot, water
  • using fragrance-free moisturizers on the ears immediately after bathing to lock in moisture
  • preventing any triggers, such as jewelry, from coming into contact with the ears
  • wearing a hat that covers the ears in cold weather, as cold temperatures can trigger flares
  • avoiding irritants that have caused eczema flares in the past
  • using over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch creams that contain hydrocortisone, which reduces itchiness and swelling
  • switching to gentle cleansers and products that are suitable for sensitive skin


The treatment for ear eczema may include a combination of the following:

  • ear drops, if the eczema is in the ear canal
  • prescription creams for the skin, such as antifungal creams, steroids, or barrier creams
  • systemic medications that reduce the immune system’s response to triggers
  • biologics, which are medications that target the immune system reaction
  • phototherapy, which uses a machine to shine UVB light onto affected areas of skin

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