If you’re treating ear eczema, you should only use steroids like hydrocortisone in certain circumstances!
If your eczema appears in or around the ear, it can be very hard to treat, and how you tackle it will depend on what kind of eczema it is, as well as where it appears.
Treatment options for eczema in the ear
If you go to your GP about ear eczema that is around, behind or outside the ear, they are likely to suggest using emollients as a first line of treatment.
You can apply emollient oils, creams or ointments anywhere that is not in the ear canal itself, ie behind the ear, on the ear lobes, around the ear itself.
The emollient you choose depends on what works for you; Skin Salvation is a great choice if you want to go natural and avoid paraffin or lanolin-based emollient creams, but you could also use an antimicrobial emollient oil like our Scalp Oil.
Healthcare professionals might also prescribe a mild corticosteroid cream (ie hydrocortisone) to soothe itching and inflammation of external areas; you can use this as well as using emollients.
However, if your eczema is inside the ear canal, they can prescribe steroid drops to use instead. Whatever you use topically to manage your eczema needs to be able to be applied carefully to avoid damaging the inner ear or ear drum, so drops are a better choice than creams for the ear canal.
If your ear is showing signs of infection, GPs might also give you drops that contain antifungals or antibiotics.
Important: don’t poke cotton buds or anything else in the ear canal!
Be aware that topical steroids should not be used for prolonged periods or at inappropriately high concentrations; it's important to work out what's causing your eczema to flare and tackle that, as well as treating symptoms.
Looking at possible causes
If you’ve got eczema in or around your ears, it’s really important to work out why so you can tackle the root causes of ear eczema, because topical treatments such as steroid creams will only affect symptoms. Look at things like:
- The toiletries you’re using: shampoo, facial washes, cleansers, shower gels, hair products, skincare, etc.
- Any other allergens or irritants you’re coming into contact with: ie earrings, headphones, chlorine from swimming pools, rubber, plastics etc.
- Environmental factors: cold winds, changes in humidity and temperature, central heating etc.
- Your overall health: stress levels, diet and nutrition, sleep, etc.
For more information on what you can do if you're prone to eczema in the ear, check out our article The Best Natural Treatments for Ear Eczema.Recommended products:
Balmonds Scalp Oil
Balmonds Skin Salvation
Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash