Having eczema in your ear can be a really frustrating and uncomfortable experience! But what’s it all about? We take a closer look at the various different types of ear eczema, the various symptoms, and what you can do to help yourself.
Uncomfortable, itchy and inflamed, this type of eczema often affects the area of skin between the ear lobe and the face, and can lead to sore and cracked skin, and is vulnerable to infection.
Options for treatment: regular application of emollients, especially on cracked skin, where ointments are more appropriate than creams or lotions. GPs might also suggest a course of mild topical steroids.
Options for treatment: regular application of emollients (both ointments or oils) on the affected area around the ear or on the ear itself. GPs might also prescribe a course of steroid drops, or antifungal or antibiotic drops if they think the ear canal is infected.Most often found on the scalp, neck and eyebrows, seborrheic dermatitis can also affect the ears, where it appears as scaly, red, crusty or flaky skin. Just as when it occurs on the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis is susceptible to fungal infection.
Affecting mostly older people, asteatotic eczema (also known as eczema craquelé) appears as scaly, cracked and shiny skin anywhere on the body and sometimes on the ears. It is affected by dryness in the air, such as changes in weather, humidity, and central heating, but also excessive contact with water or detergent/soap.
Options for treatment: avoid washing with soap; protect exposed skin; reduce contact with water; use an emollient ointment (rather than a cream or lotion) on affected skin. GPs might also suggest a course of mild topical steroids on areas that are particularly uncomfortable.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin is irritated by something it’s come into contact with, whether that is something you’re wearing, using, or putting on your hair or skin. Symptoms include redness, rashes, soreness, inflammation and cracked skin.
Options for treatment: First, identify what’s causing the problem and avoid it! Emollients can help soothe itchy, inflamed skin and keep it in resilient condition. GPs might also suggest a course of mild topical steroids on areas that are particularly uncomfortable.
Important: don’t poke cotton buds or anything else in the ear canal!
Be aware that topical steroids should not be used for prolonged periods or at inappropriately high concentrations; it's important to work out what's causing your eczema to flare and tackle that, as well as treating symptoms.
For more information on what you can do to help yourself, check out our article The Best Natural Treatments for Ear Eczema.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.