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Dry Skin in Ears

For some people, having dry skin in ears is just a mild irritant they live with, while for the other vast majority dry skin in ears is discomforting as the accompanying symptoms are just too bothersome and sometimes can be somewhat embarrassing.

Have you noticed dry skin in your ear canals? Or dry skin behind your ears? Are you thinking that it would just go away? Dry flaky skin in ears might be an allergic reaction or it could just be a symptom of an underlying medical disorder.

Symptoms of Dry Skin in Ears

Dry skin in ears can manifest in so many ways:

  • Dry skin in ear canals – You might notice that you have accumulated dry flaky skin in ear canals and sometimes the flakes can be seen on your pillow after a nap.
  • Dry skin behind ears – You may notice dry flaky/crusty skin behind your ears, dry skin around hairline and ears, and even on the earlobe.
  • Itchy ears – Sometimes, the ear canal, ear lobe and even the skin behind the ears can get itchy and this can be quite embarrassing especially in an office.
  • Peeling skin on the ears can be as a result of excessive scratching to relieve itching
  • Dry flaky eyebrows which can sometimes be itchy
  • Reddened skin in ear canal, earlobe and even the surrounding skin
  • There can be also pain in the ear and ear cartilage and blistering skin from bruises from the frequent scratches

What Causes Dry Skin in Ears?

Dry skin in ears may be as a result of numerous conditions. It could be due to lifestyle/daily habits, allergic reactions or even some medical conditions.

Due to lifestyle

  • Some everyday habits like cleaning the ear canal too often can cause the ear canal to become dry, flaky or crusty as all the wax which oils the canal has been cleaned off.
  • Also for regular swimmers, swimming in chlorinated pool can also cause dry crusty skin in ears due to chlorinated water causing dryness.
  • Use of harsh soaps or body washes that strip the skin of oil especially in people with dry skin gives rise to dry flaky skin on hairline and ear and also dry itchy flaky eyebrows
  • Smoking causes skin dryness generally
  • Dry skin in ear canal often arises as a natural part of the aging process.

Due to Allergic Reaction

People have different body reactions to certain things. For some people, they have an allergic reaction to certain beauty products (hairsprays, shampoos, hair dye, etc) or even nickel ear rings which can lead to itchy dry skin in ears, which in turn leads to excessive itching that causes reddening of the ear lobe and even pain in the ear cartilage.

Due to Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can give rise to dry skin in ears:

Ear infections

Dry skin in ears may be caused by existing ear infections. Ear infections are usually of two kinds – otitis externa and otitis media. Otitis externa is an infection of the outer ear; the outer is the visible part of the ear, while otitis media is an infection of the middle ear which is not visible for all. These ear infections can cause itchy flaky skin in ears and are usually accompanied by pain and redness of the surrounding area.

Some skin conditions can also cause dry skin in ear. Common skin disorders like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema are leading medical causes of dry skin in ears.

Seborrheic dermatitis

This is a skin condition with an unknown direct cause and usually causes itchy, dry, flaky skin in ears, around the eyebrows, hairline and nose. The skin may also become cracked, sore and secondarily infected by bacteria

Psoriasis and eczema are also common causes of dry, flaky skin inside the ear
and behind the ears.

Pictures of Dry Skin in Ears

Collection of Photos, Pictures of Dry, Flaky skin in ears:


There are various treatment options for dry skin in ears, but to treat effectively one has to determine the cause and treat accordingly.

For daily habits, lifestyle changes would be needed

  • The overzealous ear cleaners would do well to remember that wax is actually good for the ear. Do not strip your ears of natural lubrication by cleaning with cotton buds or q tips often.
  • Use of tight swim caps while swimming to avoid chlorinated water getting into the ear canal would go a long way for swimmers.
  • Use of sunscreen to avoid sunburn and also drinking plenty of water to help keep one hydrated

For allergies, check your personal care products and find that shampoo or hair dye that might possibly be causing the irritation. It would also be good if you would use non-nickel earrings going forward if you have an allergy history. Shampoos that contain zinc pyrithione, ketoconazole or selenium sulfide as an active ingredient also help in relieving itchy symptoms.

For ear infections and chronic skin conditions, visit a doctor as moisturizing the skin alone will not cure these diseases and relieving the symptoms is only a temporary measure.
Use of home remedies goes a long way in symptom relief of dry skin in ears.

Home Remedies for Dry Skin in Ears

  • Moisturize with cooling based lotions: Moisturizing with lotions like petroleum jelly or aloe vera based lotions can help alleviate the dryness in the ear lobe and the surrounding skin. These moisturizers should not be applied inside the ear canal.
  • Use Olive Oil: A drop of warm olive oil inside the ear canal helps keep the ear canal lubricated. A drop of oil once or twice a week is enough and the ear is rubbed to spread the oil evenly.
  • Use of Garlic Oil: A drop or two of garlic oil helps not just to relieve dryness but also helps in infections, as garlic has been found to have an antibacterial property.
  • Use of Vinegar: Vinegar has also been found to be an effective remedy for dry skin in ears, though it should not be used alone or undiluted: dilute vinegar is mixed with some rubbing alcohol for best results.
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