What is ear eczema?
Ear eczema - also known as eczema ear - is a common, non-contagious condition that causes the skin on the outside of your ears or the inside of your ear canals to become dry, inflamed, flaky, or itchy.
You have a higher risk of developing ear eczema if you have a family history of allergies.
What does ear eczema feel like?Because eczema ear weakens your skin's natural barrier, it makes your ear more susceptible to infection. Ear eczema symptoms include:
- Dry, flaky skin on or behind the ear.
- Dry, flaky skin inside the ear canal.
- Inflamed, swollen, itchy skin in or around the ear, including the ear canal.
- Cracked, leaking/weeping skin in severe cases.
Why does ear eczema happen?Ear eczema has several causes, including:
- Seborrhoeic dermatitis - triggered by your skin overreacting to a yeast called Malassezia.
- Asteatotic eczema - where the ear is exposed to environmental changes like cold, windy weather, or low humidity.
- Contact dermatitis - occurs when the skin on or in your ear is irritated by a substance like a shampoo, fragrance, or metal studs (especially nickel).
- Otitis externa - aka "swimmer's ear" - this condition affects the ear canal and is exasperated by sweating, swimming, increased humidity, or damage to the skin.
What triggers eczema on the ears?Eczema ear can flare up due to several triggers, including:
- Stress - when you're stressed, your body produces cortisol, which can make your skin oily. This excess oil can trigger an ear eczema outbreak.
- Diet - certain foods, such as red meat, shellfish, and dairy products, have been shown to flare up eczema in some people.
- Heat - when your skin is dry due to dehydration, your skin's barrier is weaker, which can cause eczema flare-ups in some people.
- Damp and Mold - damp, moldy conditions have been shown to aggravate eczema symptoms.
- Soaps - harsh ingredients and scents found in some soaps can dry your skin, making it more prone to flare-ups.
- Jewelry - particularly nickel, which corrodes, releasing nickel ions that are absorbed into your skin, triggering a reaction.
What is the difference between eczema and dry skin?
Is eczema in the ear serious?
For the majority of people, eczema ear symptoms are, at worst, frustrating, irritating, and embarrassing. However, some people suffer more severe symptoms, including:
- Rough, leathery patches of skin.
- Bleeding, oozing, or crusting areas of skin.
- Infected skin in the ear canal.
How can I get rid of eczema in my ears?
Treatments for ear eczema include one or a combination of the following:
- Ear drops
- Prescription / over-the-counter creams
- Lifestyle changes
- Natural Eczema Ear treatments
Natural treatments for ear eczema
Natural preventative treatments for ear eczema include the following:
- Washing your ears gently with warm (not hot) water.
- Using a natural, ph-balanced face and body wash.
- Switching to natural shampoos and conditioners (when you wash or condition your hair, the product washes down over your ears, and products packed with synthetic chemicals and fragrances will not help!)
- Using natural, fragrance-free moisturizers on your ears to lock in moisture.
- Identifying triggers, such as jewelry or specific foods, and avoiding them.
- Covering your ears in cold weather.
When you wash your hair in the shower, your hair products wash down over your ears and face. Some shampoos and conditioners contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that irritate your dry skin.
Topical remedies for eczema ear include the following:
Aloe Vera - Aloe vera has been used for centuries and is known for its remarkable skin healing properties. Packed with 75 active ingredients, including vitamins A, C, and E, which aid skin cell turnover and promote healthy skin.
Argan Oil - Argan oil contains vitamins A and E, which possess anti-inflammatory properties. For people with eczema, such properties can prevent inflammation and alleviate symptoms like itching by restoring lost hydration to the skin's barrier function.
Coconut Oil - Enriched with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, Coconut oil is ideal for repairing and relieving irritated and damaged skin.
White Tea Extract - White Tea Extract's anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate redness and inflammation caused by eczema.
Sweet almond Oil - Sweet Almond Oil helps your skin lock in moisture. According to the National Eczema Association, this is "critical for people with eczema to help relieve and repair flaring skin."
- Kakadu Plum - Packed with more Vitamin C than any other food on the planet, Kakadu Plum reduces skin inflammation and improves wound healing.
Is there a cure for ear eczema?
If you're suffering from eczema ear, try to identify what is triggering the condition. A simple lifestyle change, such as removing certain foods from your diet, switching to a natural shampoo, or avoiding contact with jewelry, could offer you relief.
Unfortunately, this process of elimination can be time-consuming and it might be that, no matter what you try, ear eczema continues to flare up. Try applying our Natural Eczema Treatment generously to the affected area, multiple times a day over a week.
Packed with natural ingredients like Aloe Vera, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, White Tea Extract, and Sweet Almond Oil, it relieves, hydrates, and soothes your inflamed skin, replenishing it with moisture and helping to restore its natural barrier.
If you're looking to make the switch to natural grooming products, try our chemical free shampoo and hair conditioner, which are pH-balanced to suit the chemistry of your skin and hair won't further irritate your skin.
And finally, be patient - even after you start taking action, it can take a few weeks for your skin to calm down and repair. If in doubt, or if you're worried about eczema ear, always consult your doctor.