Itchiness behind the ears can be because of a number of causes ranging from allergies to infections. To properly treat itchiness, also called pruritis, you should consult a doctor for a definitive diagnosis. If not properly treated, scratching behind the ears can result in damage to the skin, worsening infection or spread of the condition. One of the most common causes of itching behind the ears in adults is dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis. The condition causes flaky, itchy skin on the scalp and can occur behind the ears. According to the Merck Manuals, dermatitis causes an itchy, often red, rash sometimes accompanied by blisters, swelling and often oozing, scabbing and scaling. Ringworm can affect the skin behind the ears. According to MayoClinic. com, ringworm causes redness and itchiness and commonly affects toddlers and school-age children. Head lice, also called pediculosis capitis, can cause intense itching behind the ears and on the scalp. Head lice are extremely contagious. Other conditions exist that may cause itching behind the ears. Consult your doctor for a clear diagnosis. According to MayoClinic. com, risk factors for seborrheic dermatitis include yeast infections, stress and fatigue, change of seasons with outbreaks usually worse in the winter, neurological conditions such as Parkinson\’s disease, and HIV/AIDS. Dermatitis can be triggered in people with allergies to substances such as ingredients in soaps, hair care and styling products, metals used in jewelry and some trees, grasses and weeds.
Ringworm can occur in children who have frequent exposure to other children and pets. Poor hygiene and overcrowding can also contribute to contracting ringworm. According to Skinsight. com, head lice can be contracted by almost anyone, but children from ages 3 to 11 are the most commonly affected. Girls tend to get lice more often than boys, and those with straight hair are more susceptible than those with curly hair. Treatment for itchiness behind the ears depends on the cause. Creams and ointments are sometimes prescribed for dermatitis, anti-dandruff shampoos can be used to control seborrhea, oral medications may be given to treat ringworm, and head lice requires treatment with a lice-killing topical solution and removal of the nits. Always consult your doctor before beginning any treatment for itching behind the ears. Most causes of itching behind the ears can be managed or eliminated. With dermatitis, removing the offending allergen can help minimize outbreaks and both ringworm and head lice can be cured with medication. Seborrheic dermatitis may be a lifelong condition that can recur when treatment ends. When itching is severe, scratching can lead to a secondary infection, which is usually characterized by pain, swelling, pus and fever. Contact a doctor immediately if signs of infection are present.
Finding the right treatment for your dry ears depends on the cause of your symptoms.
If your ears are dry from lifestyle or other environmental factors, you can likely treat them at home. If you suspect that a chronic skin condition might be the cause, you may need to visit your doctor. 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 theyвre mostly water mixed with powder crystals. Youвll 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. Itвs best to apply these moisturizers right after bathing and toweling off.
If simple moisturizers donвt 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 donвt think your symptoms are caused by the products youвre using, itвs a good idea to switch to gentler personal care items until your ears heal. Try using mild moisturizing soaps and shampoos, which wonвt dry out your skin when you shower or wash your face. Donвt 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 theyвre 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. Do you think you might be allergic to a piece of jewelry? Once you develop a sensitivity or allergy to nickel, it becomes a chronic or a lifelong condition. If you suspect youвre allergic to nickel, stop wearing jewelry and let your ears heal. When theyвve healed, switch to jewelry made from a different material, like stainless steel, sterling silver, solid gold, or polycarbonate plastic.