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How To Treat Ear Eczema

Wrap Up In Cold Weather

How to Take Care of Your Ears : Getting Rid of Eczema From Ears Naturally

Cold, harsh winter winds can dry out skin and cause eczema flares.

Keep the skin covered when temperatures are low. Also, consider covering the face with a scarf if eczema occurs on the face.

Many home remedies are suitable for babies and children, but always speak to a doctor before using them on kids of any age.

The following home remedies may help:

How To Treat Ear Eczema

Eczema is an itchy and uncomfortable skin condition that can occur anywhere on the body including outside the ear or inside the ear canal. If left untreated, ear eczema can lead to infection or inflammation of the ear canal.

Read on for everything you need to know about ear eczema – including different types, symptoms, and natural treatment options.

Please keep in mind that although these tips can relieve eczema, we are in no way medical professionals. If youre experiencing severe eczema symptoms like an infection, it is best to seek medical advice immediately.

Symptoms of Eczema Around Ears

As with all forms of eczema, itchiness is a prime characteristic. Those suffering from ear eczema may also notice dry and scaly skin in or around their ears. Its possible that there may be clear discharge from the ear, in addition to any redness and swelling.

Bear in mind that ear eczema can affect not only the skin of your ear, but the area behind your ear and the fold between your earlobe and face as well. In some cases, it may even affect your ear canal.

Most people will experience mild to moderate symptoms. Severe symptoms may result in dry patches developing a rough or leathery texture. Oozing or bleeding may result if the skin cracks.

What Causes Ear Eczema?

The cause of ear eczema depends on what kind of ear eczema it is. In general, people suffering from eczema tend to have an overactive immune system that responds with inflammation when triggered.

Common triggers include:

When To Call A Doctor

Its important to check in with your doctor any time youre concerned about the skin in your ears. Some causes of dry skin in the ears, such as eczema, can affect your hearing if left untreated. See your doctor if the skin in your ears is red and itchy. If at-home treatments do not provide any relief, check in with your dermatologist.

See your doctor right away if the skin in your ears appears to be infected. An infection may occur when the dry skin is scratched or cracks, which allows bacteria to enter. Symptoms of a skin infection include pain, swelling, weeping, discharge, or a foul smell.

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What Treatment Is Available

Initial treatment begins with cleaning debris and wax from the canal. Once the ear is cleaned specific treatment that is prescribed according to the cause of otitis externa should be administered. Occasionally if swelling in the ear is severe, a wick may be inserted before medication is applied, usually in the form of topical eardrops.


  • 2% acetic acid solution inexpensive and effective against most infections but can be irritating to inflamed canal
  • Neomycin otic drops effective but can cause contact dermatitis in 15% of patients
  • Polymixin B drops avoids potential neomycin sensitisation but is ineffective against Staphylococcus and other gram-positive organisms
  • Aminoglycoside drops less irritating than previous preparations but has potential ototoxicity
  • Fluoroquinolone drops very effective without causing irritation or sensitisation, no risk of ototoxicity, but is expensive and overuse may cause antibiotic resistance in an important class of antibiotics
  • Topical drops that combine antibiotic with steroids may help to reduce inflammation and help resolve symptoms more quickly
  • Drops are usually administered 3-4 times daily for 5-7 days. More severe infections may require 10-14 days treatment. Drops should be continued for 3 days more after symptoms disappear.
  • Oral antibiotics are rarely indicated except for in severe and persistent otitis externa


Systemic dermatological disease, e.g. psoriasis

Contact dermatitis

Where To Buy Tea Tree Oil

What is Ear Eczema

You should find neat tea tree oil in most chemists and also at health food stores. I dont know if some brands are better than others but the plant grows in Australia so I usually get the Aussie stuff!

You can also buy it on Amazon, and if you use this link to buy tea tree oil or anything else, I get a tiny bit of commission, which helps me keep this blog running:

Your local chemist will stock these two items. Heres what youll need:

  • Olive oil ear drops with dropper
  • 100% Tea tree oil
  • Cotton wool to keep the oil in while you sit with your head on one side

Mix a few drops of tea tree oil and olive oil and drop into your ear. Then sit with head on one side to keep the oil in your ear and massage the back of your ear to encourage it to coat the whole ear channel.

Do this for a week and it should help. Do beware, tea tree oil can sting on sensitive skin so use sparingly. If you have never put tea tree oil on your skin before, always do a skin patch test first to check you wont react to the oil. It is quite strong and not everyone gets on with it.

The tea tree and olive drops worked a treat. What came out looked mostly like layers and layers of compacted skin and some wax and discharge.

The dry skin flakes fall off your body during washing and exfoliation but inside your ear it can quickly build up. Ive found this happens during a TSW skin flare, so now olive oil drops are part of my weekly treatment.

Has anyone else had blocked and painful ears during TSW?

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Itchy Ears: What If It’s Eczema

Itchy ears is a feeling of irritation accompanied by an immediate need to scratch the affected area. If it is caused by eczema, it can be easily recognized by a reddish and rash-like appearance. Whatever the cause may be, it is advised to avoid scratching the itchy area as itchy ears often heal on their own. However, if the symptoms worsen or persist for a long period of time, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.

Scalp Eczema: The Fix

Its all about that poo: shampoo, of course! You want a fragrance-free, sulfate-free, hypoallergenic formula to minimize bothersome ingredients on the scalp. Free & Clear and Exederm shampoos fit the bill: Neither contains dyes, formaldehyde, parabens, or cocamidopropyl betaine, all of which can cause inflammation.

If switching shampoos doesnt help, consider cortisone in a foam or solution base these work well for hairy areas since theyre less messy than creams and ointments, says Dr. Fusco. For an extreme case of flakes, however, you may need a prescription cortisone oil before bed, apply it all over your scalp and sleep in a shower cap to help melt away the buildup.

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Cleaning Of The Ears And Self

You can very gently wash the inside of your outer ear with water or preferably an emollient wash. You can also use a damp cotton bud very gently in the bowl area of your ear but do not insert it into the ear canal. Never try to wash further into the ears you can damage the skin of the ear canal by doing this.

After washing, dry your ears thoroughly using a warm hairdryer is a good way to ensure your ears are dry. Avoid scratching the inside of your ears, especially with matches or hair grips not only can these damage your ear canal skin or drum, but they may cause an allergic reaction after continuous use.

The use of ear candles is not advised as there is no evidence to suggest that they work, and they can cause damage to ears. If you go swimming, use ear plugs. You can get custom-made ear moulds to fit your ears they are like the moulds used as hearing-aids. Ear moulds can be made and fitted at hearing-aid centres or at private audiologists.

Olive oil may sometimes be recommended for moisturising around the ear pinna and loosening wax. However, there is medical research evidence showing that olive oil damages the skin barrier. Instead, we suggest that an emollient cream/ointment is applied to treat dry skin around the ears and in the entrance to the ear canals, and refined petroleum oil or sunflower oil is used for softening ear wax .

Try This Simple 5 Step Home Remedy

ASMR Treating Your Ear Eczema – Ear Cleaning And Massage – Binaural FIXED Sounds!!
  • Lie on your side with a towel under your head, bad ear upwards
  • Warm a spoonful of Balmonds Scalp Oil to body temperature
  • Drip a few drops of the oil into the ear
  • Gently massage the areas in front and behind your ear with a bit more warm oil
  • Stay lying on your side for ten minutes a warm towel over the sore ear can be nice

NB: do not poke into the ear with a cotton bud or anything else!

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How Do I Take Care Of Myself

Many people live with ear eczema. It can be challenging, though.

There may be times when your ear eczema disappears. These times are remission periods. The goal of a good skin care routine and treatment is to prevent flare-ups. Be sure to avoid anything that triggers your ear eczema, moisturize, take your medicine and follow your healthcare providers recommendations.

Symptoms Of Ear Eczema

If you suffer from ear eczema, you may notice flaky, dry skin in or around your ears, such as the area behind the ear and even the crease where the ear attaches to the head. In some cases, symptoms can extend to inside the ear canal.

While symptoms of ear eczema are similar to other types of eczema including redness, swelling, and itchiness there is one key difference. Those with ear eczema may notice clear discharge from the ear. To avoid aggravating symptoms and possibly leading to infection, scratching should be avoided.

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How To Treat Itchy Ears

First, don’t put anything in your ears. While its tempting to insert something into your ear canal to scratch the itch, thats exactly what you shouldnt do. Not only do you risk damaging the eardrum and scratching the delicate skin of the inner ear, you also increase your urge to itch.

Try not to scratch at all, Dr. Daveluy said. For any skin, scratching makes the nerves that feel itch grow. So the more you scratch, the more youll itch.

The more you scratch, the more youll itch.

Instead, try treating the underlying problem. If you have dandruff, try switching to a dandruff shampoo. If your itching flares up along with seasonal allergies, try taking an antihistamine. To alleviate dryness associated with over-cleaning the ears or earwax blockage, apply a few drops of baby oil or olive oil before you go to bed at night.

Infectious Causes Of Itchy Ears

How to Treat Ear Eczema

Like the skin in general, the skin of the ear can get an infection.

  • The most common cause is “swimmer’s ear”, where generally speaking, bacteria start growing in an ear canal causing irritation and drainage.
  • Occasionally ears can be infected with fungus . This usually results in a chronically irriated ear that appears infected but does not respond to ordinary antibiotics.
  • The ear can also be infected with ear mites a parasite similar to the dust mites that live in your pillow. Ear mites in particular, are common in cats, and are probably underdiagnosed in humans. Cevik found an ear mite in about 6% of itchy ears. These mites are extremely common in humans– some studies report them in 100% of adults. Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids can also be caused by these mites.
  • Viral infections are rare — the most common one is recurrent herpes zoster where small blisters are seen in or on the ear.

is discussed separately.

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What’s The Best Natural Treatment For Ear Eczema

Eczema in the ears can be a tricky thing to treat, because it’s so difficult and uncomfortable to apply creams! But here are three simple, natural things you can try to soothe itchy, sore ears.

1. An ointment for exposed skin

If the eczema is around the outside of your ear, in the creases behind the ear, or on the ear lobe, you can apply Skin Salvation generously to the affected area. Apply several times a day for at least three days.

You can also use our Tea Tree balm, which is packed full of naturally antimicrobial tea tree essential oil, and is useful if you want to prevent infection around the ear.

2. An oil for hard to reach areas

One of the very best remedies for hard to reach ear eczema is to use drops of essential oils in the ear. That way you can get the oil where it needs to go without having to touch it. Balmonds Scalp Oil is an ideal blend, as it contains of naturally antimicrobial tea tree and rosemary, nourishing hemp seed and borage oils, plus skin-kind oils of nettle, chickweed, calendula and olive.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your side with a towel under your head, bad ear upwards
  • Warm a spoonful of Balmonds Scalp Oil to body temperature
  • Drip a few drops of the oil into the ear
  • Gently massage the areas in front and behind your ear with a bit more warm oil
  • Stay lying on your side for ten minutes a warm towel over the sore ear can be nice
  • Don’t poke into the ear with a cottonbud or anything else!
3. A natural shampoo

Causes Of Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis mainly affects the scalp and other oily areas of the body, including the ears, eyelids, eyebrows, sides of the nose, face and chest 6. This type of eczema can also cause flaking of the scalp, and is often called dandruff.

Doctors dont know the exact causes of seborrheic eczema, though it may be the result of an irregular immune response or the presence of a type of yeast on the skin.

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Caring For Your Ears At Home

Here are our top tips for caring for your ears on a daily basis:

  • Gently wash your ears each night. Be sure to use lukewarm water as hot water can further dry out the skin. Pat dry with a towel instead of rubbing.
  • Avoid contact with triggers such as jewelry or beauty products. If youre not exactly sure which products are causing a reaction, it may take some trial and error to figure out.
  • When showering, be sure to use natural products without any added fragrances or colours. Choose soaps, body wash, and shampoo that are suitable for sensitive skin.

What Is Seborrheic Dermatitis

Getting Rid of Eczema From Ears Naturally

Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammation of the upper layers of skin, characterized by red, itchy skin that sheds scales. Seborrheic dermatitis may be a hereditary condition. It is often aggravated by hormonal changes and cold weather conditions.

Seborrheic dermatitis is most common during:

  • Infancy. In infants, the condition is also called cradle cap, because of its characteristic scaly appearance on the scalp. However, cradle cap can also happen in the diaper area. Seborrheic dermatitis in this age group usually clears up on its own within the first year.

  • Middle age. When seborrheic dermatitis happens at this age, the condition is usually more intermittent and called dandruff.

  • Old age. When seborrheic dermatitis happens at this age, the condition is usually more intermittent. It becomes less common after 60 years of age.

People with oily skin or hair are also more at risk for developing seborrheic dermatitis.

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How Is It Treated

Treatment of ear eczema will depend on the cause and type of eczema, which will need to be diagnosed by your GP.

For atopic, seborrhoeic or asteatotic eczema, apply a medical emollient frequently to the affected areas. You may be prescribed a topical steroid on sore areas behind the ears, and in their folds. If you have seborrhoeic dermatitis, a topical steroid combined with an antifungal may be prescribed.

Apply your topical treatments to the affected area by using a cotton bud to gently paint on your cream or ointment around the ear pinna and the opening to your ear canal . Do not push the cotton bud into your ear. If you have eczema inside the ear canal, you will need steroid drops, which will be prescribed by your GP or other healthcare professional.

If allergic contact dermatitis is suspected, you may be referred to a dermatology department to help diagnose what you are allergic to so that you can avoid it in the future. The dermatologist will usually recommend patch testing.

For more information on ear eczema, please see our Ear eczema factsheet

Managing Severe Eczema And Stress

If your eczema is widespread and severe you will need to be under the care of a Consultant dermatologist, who will be able to assess your suitability for stronger treatments such as phototherapy or systemic immunosuppressants.

If your eczema could be attributed to stress, you might benefit from seeking out additional sources of emotional support. Your GP will be able to signpost you to local counselling services. You might also consider joining a local club or interest group to avoid becoming isolated.

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Why Are Ears So Sensitive

The environment in your inner ear is unique and faces some special challenges,

Because of the warmth and moisture, the ear canal is at a higher risk of infection by bacteria, Dr. Daveluy said. To protect against this, the skin of the ear canal has specialized oil glands that secrete earwax. Much like the nose, the ear canal also grows small hairs to help prevent debris from entering the ear.

Another unique attribute of inner ear skin is that it doesnt contain eccrine sweat glands, the kind the rest of our body uses to secrete sweat when were warm or stressed. This, along with the waxy nature of cerumen, helps prevent moisture buildup in the canal.


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