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Itchy Skin on the Ears

by
author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
Itchy Skin on the Ears
Never stick anything in your ear but you can certainly spread on a salve for itch relief. Photo Credit daizuoxin/iStock/Getty Images

The ears are frequently exposed to environmental factors, so itchy, dry skin on the ears is fairly common in the winter because of the lack of humidity in the air. However, there are other causes that can contribute to itchy ears. Sunburns, eczema and psoriasis are all possible causes of itchy skin on the ears.

Causes

Sunburns occur from harmful UVA and UVB rays from both the sun and artificial tanning lights. The burn can itch as well as the healing process when skin is peeling off the ear. The cause of eczema is unknown; however, possible causes are an overactive immune system, possible skin gaps that reduce natural moisture levels and genetics, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The cause of psoriasis is unsure, but researchers suspect genetics and environmental factors causes T-cells to attack healthy skin mistakenly, according to CNN Health.

Identification

Sunburns range from a pink discoloration to a bright red color. The skin will appear dry and may have a scaly appearance. There may also be blisters present. As the ear heals, the skin will slough off or peel. Eczema appears red, scaly and can have some pain. The skin will also be irritated and itch. Psoriasis has a similar sensation as eczema and a sunburn, except red patches are present with silver scales, according to CNN Health.

Treatment

A sunburn will typically disappear on its own, but you can relieve discomfort from home by taking acetaminophen and drinking plenty of fluids, according to McKinley Health Center of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Unless eczema is caused by an allergen, eczema can be difficult to treat. In the case of an allergic reaction, removing the allergen is the best treatment. Keeping the skin moisturized can relieve symptoms of eczema. According to the CNN Health website, psoriasis can be treated with powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, Anthralin, retinoids, salicylic acid and coal tar. Washing your ears daily can help with scale removal, suggests CNN Health.

Prevention

Avoid wearing your hair in ponytails or under hats or shaving your head, since all these expose the ears to harmful UV rays that result in sunburns. Even if it’s not sunny outside, you are still risking sun damage, so always wear an SPF of 15 or greater, according to McKinley Health Center of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Eczema is not curable, but you can limit irritation of the skin by keeping the skin moisturized. Moisturizing also works for psoriasis.

Considerations

Avoid scratching itches on your ear since scratching can make the itching worse. Scratching can also cause you to break the skin and cause bleeding. If the skin on your ears begin to ooze or the itching is interfering with your daily routine, contact your doctor since you may have an infection that requires topical ointment.

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