Home Dry Ears How to Get Rid of Itchy Dry Skin in Ears with Home Remedies, Treatments

How to Get Rid of Itchy Dry Skin in Ears with Home Remedies, Treatments

by Dr. Joe Morales

Dry skin in ears or inside the ear canal can present with symptoms such as an itchy and flaky ear. The symptom can spread to the area around and behind ears. Here are the causes, treatments and remedies to get rid of dry skin inside the ears and around ears.

What causes dry flaky skin in ears?

Although the ears play a very important role in allowing the people to interact with the world around them, most of the people normally don’t notice the ears until they begin to develop problems. Dry ear canal skin is a mild problem that might arise from several causes and may cause more serious ear issues if disregarded.

Dry skin in ears

Dry skin in ears and inside ear canal

  • Seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that leads to flaky, white to yellowish scales to form on the oily areas like the scalp, face or even the inside of the the ear.
  • It can happen with or even without reddened skin. Dry skin in ears may be a sign of dermatitis.
  • Cradle cap is the term that is used when the seborrheic dermatitis affects the scalp of toddlers.

The exact cause of the seborrheic dermatitis is not clear to doctors. Doctors think that it may be because of a combination the hormone levels, a weakened immune system, or nervous system problems. Irritation from a yeast known as Malassezia may also cause this condition. Seborrheic dermatitis appears to run in several families.

Risk factors are:

  • Stress or fatigue
  • Oily skin, or skin problems such as acne
  • Infrequent shampoos or even skin cleaning
  • Obesity
  • Neurologic conditions, including Parkinson disease  or even stroke

Dry skin doesn’t just happen on the face and legs. It can occur anywhere on the body—including the ears. Although you probably don’t discuss it with friends, dry skin in ears is normally very common.

It’s often thought of as a form of dandruff, which implies it can be treated the same way that you’d deal with a very dry, itchy scalp. But sometimes, the dry skin on the ears can be the due to a more serious condition.

Otitis externa is a condition that leads to inflammation (redness or even a swelling) and dry skin in ears of the external ear canal, which is the tube that is between the outer ear and eardrum.

Otitis externa is often called the “swimmer’s ear” due to the repeated exposure to water may make the ear canal to be more vulnerable to the inflammation. Symptoms of the otitis externa are:

Crusty ears due to dry skin

Crusty ears due to dry skin

  • ear pain that can be severe
  • itchiness in the ear canal
  • a discharge of the liquid or even pus from the ear
  • some extent of temporary hearing loss

Normally one ear is affected.

With the treatment, these very symptoms may clear up within very few days. However, some other cases may persist for months or longer.

Dry itchy ears

Dry skin in ears can be much annoying. Dry skin in the ears can be brought about by a wide variety of things, like too much wax in the ears or even too little. It can be brought about by a change in the weather, a new shampoo or even facial cleanser.

However, dry ears may be helped with several home remedies. Understanding what brings about dry, flaky ears can assist you to figure out if the condition is a simple one, or is an indicative of a much more complex underlying medical infection.

An outer ear infection is an infection that is found in the tube that normally connects the opening of the ear to the eardrum. These outer ear infections sometimes comes from the exposure to moisture. They are very common in the children and very young adults who have spend a lot of time swimming.

Dry skin in ears are brought about by a several things, and fortunately, you can pinpoint the problem very quickly.

One of the common problems is normally cleaning the ear canal too often or very vigorously. When you do this, you wipe away the ear wax which is meant to protect the ear canal. Without that very protection, the ears can become dry, flaky and even much painful.

Some other people suffer from the skin conditions that lead to too much oil to appear on the skin, while others may suffer from an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. Either one of the problems can cause dry, flaky ears. Itching can also accompany the issues.

Another problem is an allergic reaction to something new, like the shampoo that touches the ears when you apply it on the hair. It can dry out the skin enough that the result is formation of the dry skin in ears, and the pain that goes along with it.

Swimming can cause an outer ear infection. The water that is left inside the ear canal might become a breeding ground for the bacteria.

An infection can also happen if the thin layer of the skin that lines the outer ear is much ruptured. Intense scratching or even use of headphones or even cotton swabs may create a rupture. When the layer of the skin becomes damaged, it may provide a foothold for bacteria.

Cerumen is the ear’s natural defense against any dry skin in ears, but constant exposure to the moisture and scratching may deplete the ear of the cerumen, making the infections more likely.

Swimming is the risk factor for the otitis externa, especially swimming in water that has high levels of bacteria. It is less risky to swim in the chlorinated pool than natural body of water.

Showering or even cleaning the ears very frequently can also leave the ears open to the infection. The narrower the ear canal, the more likely it is that the water will be trapped inside. Children’s ear canals are normally narrower than the adults’ ear canals.

The use of headphones or even a hearing aid, as well as the skin allergies and also skin irritation from the hair products, also the increase the risk of developing an outer ear infection.

If you noticed dry skin in the ears. Try these steps:

  • Don’t use a cotton to clean your ear canal. Let the ear clean by itself. If you must clean out some of the ear wax, then use a lubricating method, like a water pick designed for ear use.
  • Avoid getting of soap or even shampoo into the ear. If you want to be very certain to avoid this, then use ear plugs so as to block the ear until you get out of the shower.
  • Let the ear dry naturally after shower. Using any other thing to dry the ear might push wax further into it, or even damage the delicate dry skin.
  • Wear a tight cap while swimming so as to prevent water from entering the ear canal.

If you take these steps but you are still suffering, it can be time to call on your doctor. Definitely see a doctor urgently if the ears are itching, experiencing significant discomfort, there is a discharge that is coming from the ear, or the hearing has changed.

If water, shampoo, hairspray, etc., get into the ears, they may lead to irritation or itch. This may make you to scratch or even poke the ear. This might damage the skin in the ear canal and lead to inflammation. Inflamed skin may quickly become very infected.

A vicious circle can then develop. The inflammation and infection lead to more itch, you then scratch which makes things much worse, etc. So, despite the treatment, the infection may continue if you still poke or even scratch your ear. Therefore:

  1. Try not to scratch or even poke the ear canal using fingers, towels, etc.
  2. Do not try to clean the ear canal using cotton buds. They can scratch and irritate and also push wax further into the ear. The ear cleans itself and the bits of wax can fall out now and then.
  3. Try not to let the soap or even the shampoo get into the ear canal. You can do this when you have a shower, by placing of a piece of cotton wool that is coated in soft white paraffin into the outer ear.
  4. Do not use the corners of the towels or even the cotton buds to dry water that does get into the ear canal. This can push things further in. Let the ear dry itself naturally.
  5. When you swim try to keep the ears dry. You can do this by wearing of a tightly fitting cap that covers both the ears. Some of the swimmers use a silicone rubber earplugs but only use them if they do not irritate the skin in the ear canal.

Dry skin behind ears and around ears

The skin on the surface of the body is the same in structure and it is very continuous. Therefore skin conditions can happen anywhere in the body. Some of the problems are likely to affect some areas more than others, like the acne which more often happens on the face and chest.

While most of us are accustomed to seeing the rashes on most parts of the body, a skin rash that is behind the ear is normally considered to be unusual. But it can happen and there are some skin conditions likely to afflict the skin behind the ears.

However, just about any skin disease might affect the area. It is thus vital that you consult with a dermatologist who is able to examine the area and make a proper diagnosis.

Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition of dry skin in ears among the children which is widely called eczema. It can happen in any person of any age but frequently happens in infants and the young children.

Atopic dermatitis also tends to arise in the people who are allergic disposition especially when a person have asthma and allergic rhinitis. It is a chronic skin condition that happens due to a combination of the genetic and also environmental factors.

In atopic dermatitis the skin becomes very dry and also itchy with acute flare-ups where the skin is inflamed. There may even be blisters and a weeping discharge. The condition also tends to affect the folds of the skin – at the elbows, behind the knees.

The skin that is behind the ears is also one of the sites that can be affected. People who have atopic dermatitis or even a history of the skin problem are also likely to develop the contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that is sometimes confused with the atopic dermatitis. It may affect any person of any age. In contact dermatitis, the skin reacts to an irritant or an allergen.

Irritant contact dermatitis can happen in any person when the skin becomes much irritated and injured by any substances. Allergic contact dermatitis happens in people who have allergies as the immune system normally reacts abnormally to the harmless substances.

The dry skin in ears is usually limited to the area where most of the irritant or even an allergen makes a contact. More of the common irritants or even allergens that include the hair dyes, other hair care products, spectacle temple tips and also ear jewelry.

Sometimes the irritant or even the allergen is not as obvious. It might also be brought about by occupational exposure to some substances. The rash is normally red, swollen and also itchy. In the severe cases there can be blister formation. Dryness or roughness of the skin may also happen.

Dry skin in ear canal or inside ears

Dry skin in ears might be brought about by a skin condition or ear cleaning issues. Skin conditions like the dermatitis and eczema can affect the sensitive ear canal skin, thus leading to skin irritation, more especially in people with a history of a sensitive skin or even skin problems.

  • According to the studies, lack of earwax in the ear canals could also cause dry or itchy ears.
  • Similarly, cleaning the ears very frequently, especially with the cotton-tipped swabs, could wipe away the earwax lining the ear canals, which can result in dry or even irritated ear canal skin

Dry ear canal skin normally shows itself in the form of an irritation or even itchiness. You can feel the need to scratch or even rub at the ear frequently, which might actually lead to a secondary bacterial infection of the external ear if you abrade the ear canal skin accidentally.

Often the irritated ear canal skin experiences a red, inflamed appearance, and you can normally be able to observe loose flakes of dry skin that is accumulating at the entrance of the affected canal.

Chronic or even an ongoing irritation from the dry ear canal skin normally requires a visit to the doctor. Dry skin in ears and also itching arising from the skin disorders or an infection normally require medication, often in the form of a topical ear drops.

If the ears simply lack the ability to produce an adequate amount of earwax, then you may require to begin applying the ear drops regularly so as to lubricate and moisturize the ear canal skin. If the doctor finds no underlying reason for the dry ear canal skin, stopping vigorous cleaning of the ears is often all that’s important for you to experience the improvement in the itching and dryness.

In most of the cases, environment plays a role in increasing the chances of having dry skin in the ear canal. Swimmers find that the increased exposure to the water dries their ear skin, making them to be more prone to an irritated ear canal skin and also external ear infections that are aptly nicknamed swimmer’s ear. Wearing perfume or ear devices such as hearing aids may also irritate the ears.

Treatment for dry skin inside ear

Flaking and dryness may be treated using over-the-counter dandruff or even medicated shampoos. You can buy at the drugstore without any prescription.

Look for a product that says on the label that it treats seborrheic dermatitis. Such products have ingredients like salicylic acid, zinc, ketoconazole, or selenium sulfide. Apply the shampoo according to label instructions.

For severe cases, your healthcare provider will likely prescribe a shampoo or lotion containing a stronger dose of ketoconazole, sodium sulfacetamide, or corticosteroid. A cream that contains an immunomodulator, such as tacrolimus may be prescribed. This medicine suppresses the immune system to treat inflammation.

It is thought that the sunlight improves the seborrheic dermatitis. In some other persons, the condition gets better in the summer, more especially after outdoor activities.

Otitis externa at times gets better without any treatment, but it might take many weeks. The doctor can prescribe an ear drop medication that normally improves the symptoms within a few days.

There are a several different types of the ear drops that can be used to treat otitis externa, but they all tend to be applied several times a day for about one week.

Your doctor can refer you to a specialist for further treatment and also advice if the symptoms are severe or that they fail to respond to any treatment.

To help reduce the chances of developing of the dry skin in ears, you should avoid inserting of the cotton wool buds and other things into the ears (including the fingers), as this might damage the sensitive skin in the ear canal.

If you’re a very regular swimmer, consider use of ear plugs when swimming or even wearing a swimming cap to cover the ears and also protect them from water.

You should also try to avoid getting the water, soap or even shampoo into the ears when you have a shower or even bath.

Complications of otitis externa are very uncommon, but some can be too serious.

One rare complication of the otitis externa is the malignant otitis externa, which is where the infection spreads from the ear canal into the surrounding bone.

This needs a prompt treatment using antibiotics and may sometimes require surgery, as it might be fatal if left untreated.

Home remedies for dry skin in ears

Try the following home remedies to get rid of dry skin in ears quickly.

1. Warm Oil

home remedies for dry skin in ears

home remedies for dry skin in ears

One of the well-known home remedies for an itchy ear is using the drops of the hot oil for relief.  The good news is that there are several varieties of oil that you may choose from for treating the itchy ear. Just a few of the options are:

  • Olive Oil
  • Tea Tree oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Garlic Oil

Once you have chosen the favorite type of oil out of the ones we have already listed above, you can continue by heating it up so as to use on the itchy ear. Make sure that the oil is not very hot, so you do not get in any way burned, but that it’s not very cold either.

The best way to warm it is by leaving a container with the oil in heated water for about 20 minutes. Make sure that you test the temperature of the oil before applying it directly in your ear.

2. Water

If you feel that the ear is itchy due to being clogged or maybe due to an insect got to it, then you can use some water so as to wash it out. In this particular situation, you can optionally use alcohol so as to make sure that the area remains very clean. Mix a bit of the rubbing alcohol using water and then use a syringe to drop the solution into your ear.

When you want to get rid of the solution, you can either let it drain out naturally by lying down on the side or even by reusing the syringe that you chose for a dropping the water and alcohol in. it is recommended that you use rubbing alcohol so you know that you are thoroughly cleaning out the ear.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide in ear

A great number of people who have an itchy ear claim that hydrogen peroxide is a fine solution for giving some relief. Using hydrogen peroxide is the same as using the oil; all you have to do is put a few drops in the affected ear, then let the solution work for a few seconds and then allow it to drain outside.

This is a fantastic alternative for the people who work in a wet environment, like professional swimmers, lifeguards or even swim instructors, as they can apply hydrogen peroxide at least once week or even a month for relief, depending on how severe the symptoms are.


Further references;

  1. 5 Home Remedies for Itchy Ear: http://homeremedyshop.com/5-home-remedies-for-itchy-ear/
  2. 5 Causes of Skin Rash Behind The Ears With Pictures: http://www.healthhype.com/causes-of-skin-rash-behind-the-ears-with-pictures.html
  3. Seborrheic dermatitis: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000963.htm
  4. How to Treat Dry Skin on Your Ears: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/moisturizing/tips/how-to-treat-dry-skin-on-your-ears.htm
  5. Otitis externa: http://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/encyclopaedia/o/article/otitisexterna/
  6. Dry Skin in Ears: http://www.enkivillage.com/dry-skin-in-ears.html

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