Why Is My Ear Dry And Itchy?

Wondering about what might be causing your ear to feel itchy and scratchy? It’s a good question, and one that has several possible answers, so let’s take a closer look at the reasons why ears get itchy.

Is it a reaction to something?

The skin of the ear is more sensitive than you might think; it can react to a variety of substances, from the ingredients in your toiletries, to the metal in your earrings! So take a good look at anything that might be causing contact dermatitis in or around your ear: your shampoo, soap, shower gel, face cream, hairspray, dye or any other hair product, as well as things that might have come into direct contact with your ears. Nickel in jewellery is a common irritant and can make earlobes itchy and dry.

Do you have an inflammatory skin condition?

Many skin conditions can affect the ears, making them itchy and dry. Eczema, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis (also known as dandruff) are particularly likely candidates, and can make your earlobes, outer ear and even ear canal get dry, cracked, flaky and itchy. 

Have you been swimming a lot?

Otitis media is an infection of the inner ear; it’s also known as ‘swimmers’ ear’, which gives a clue to its association with damp conditions. Although otitis media is caused by a combination of humidity and bacterial infections, it can make ears feel intensely itchy and cause inflammation to the skin outside the ear canal.

Is something rubbing on your ears?

Do you wear headphones or a headset? A hearing aid, or tight PPE? Dry, itchy, sensitive skin could be friction from something you’re wearing, as well as an actual reaction to what they’re made of. Check the fit of anything you’re wearing, and try Skin Salvation balm to both soothe and protect sore skin.

What can you do about dry, itchy ears?

It can be very hard to manage any problems in the inner ear because the dry skin is not very accessible! But whatever you do, don’t insert ANYTHING - not a fingernail, not a cotton bud - into your ear, as this can cause damage to the skin (increasing the risk of infection) or to your hearing.

Instead, moisturise the outer ear with a good emollient (Skin Salvation is ideal for this, as its consistency means it will stay put easily!) several times a day, and if there’s itchiness in the inner ear, use a very few drops of oil (our antimicrobial Scalp Oil works well for this), dripped from a pipette or dropper, to soothe and moisturise the ear canal.

If the itchiness doesn’t improve, or worsens, or if you develop a fever, see your doctor or pharmacist. They may prescribe antibiotics or topical steroid drops.

Recommended products:

Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax

Balmonds Scalp Oil
with tea tree, nettle, borage & rosemary

ear eczema

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