Dry ears: Causes, treatment, and prevention

why do i have dry skin in my ears

Dry ears can have many causes. It can be as simple as not being able to produce enough earwax or cleaning the ears too much. Dry ears can also be linked to skin allergies, and to other dry skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. In most cases, it can easily be treated.Dry ears: Causes, treatment, and prevention

The materials that hearing aids are made from can also cause an allergic reaction.

Over-the-counter steroid creams or ear drops combine an oily component with an anti-inflammatory steroid. Together, these relieve the itching and can help restore the moisture balance in cases of dry ears that are not infectious.

Gentle cleaning of the ears can be helpful if dry ears are the result of dry or windy weather conditions. The aim is to remove irritants, such as dust while keeping the ear’s natural moisture balance.

It is best not to use cotton swabs for cleaning because they tend to over-clean the ear. Also, they can push waxy debris further down the ear canal, leaving it to cause irritation and infection.

Over-the-counter steroid creams or ear drops combine an oily component with an anti-inflammatory steroid. Together, these relieve the itching and can help restore the moisture balance in cases of dry ears that are not infectious.

Check your routine

Before you try anything else, look through your soaps, shampoos, and other personal care products to find any that might be causing your irritation. Think about environmental factors that could have contributed to your symptoms. Have you been in the sun recently, taken hot showers, or swam in chlorinated pools?

Keep a diary of any symptoms you have and any products or situations that might be causing them. Discontinue use of cleansers or avoid any activities that make your skin worse.

Treating your dry ears usually involves finding a way to restore moisture to your skin. Choose from ointments, creams, or lotions.

  • Ointments contain a mixture of water in an oil, like lanolin or petrolatum, and they provide the best layer of protection.
  • Creams contain oil as well, but their main ingredient is usually water. They need to be applied more often than ointments.
  • Lotions feel cooler on the skin, but they’re mostly water mixed with powder crystals. You’ll need to apply lotions very frequently to relieve your symptoms.
  • Most of these products can be used liberally for as long as you have symptoms. It’s best to apply these moisturizers right after bathing and toweling off.

    Try other over-the-counter topicals

    If simple moisturizers don’t work, you may want to try over-the-counter (OTC) creams that contain lactic acid, or lactic acid and urea. These products are particularly helpful if your skin is very dry or very scaly. Follow instructions printed on the product, or ask your pharmacist to clarify how much to use and how often to use it.

    Even if you don’t think your symptoms are caused by the products you’re using, it’s a good idea to switch to gentler personal care items until your ears heal. Try using mild moisturizing soaps and shampoos, which won’t dry out your skin when you shower or wash your face.

    Don’t know what to buy? Check the labels. Stay away from antibacterial soaps or those containing alcohol and perfumes.

    Dry skin often itches, but itching can invite bacteria into your skin and lead to infection. Use a cool compress on your ears if they’re particularly itchy. A hydrocortisone-containing cream or ointment can help with inflammation. Find one that contains at least 1 percent hydrocortisone for the best results.

    Causes

    The exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown. It may be due to a combination of factors:

  • Oil gland activity
  • Yeasts called Malassezia, which live on the skin, mainly in areas with more oil glands
  • Changes in skin barrier function
  • Your genes
  • Risk factors include:

  • Stress or fatigue
  • Weather extremes
  • Oily skin, or skin problems such as acne
  • Heavy alcohol use, or using lotions that contain alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Nervous system disorders, including Parkinson disease, traumatic brain injury, or stroke
  • Having HIV/AIDS
  • In this Article

    Ear eczema is when you experience itchiness or dry skin around, on, or inside of your ear. Eczema can range from only slightly noticeable to very painful or irritating.

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