Scaly skin at ear canal?
November 8, 2012 6:41 AM   Subscribe

Scaly skin around the entrance to my ear canal.

For some time now the skin at the entrance to my ear canal has become somewhat scaly and slightly itchy. I read that this can be caused by excessive earwax removal, but I couldn't find tips on how to reverse the process. Anyone else experienced this, or know how to return to the nonscaly unitchy state?
posted by waraw to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Probably a touch of eczema - even people with no history of eczema seem to get it at the entrance to the ear canal sometimes. A little petroleum jelly or even olive oil ought to provide enough of a barrier to allow the skin to recover - you just have to leave your ear alone for a while.

If the itch is too much to resist, your pharmacist might have a mild hydrocortisone cream.
posted by pipeski at 6:47 AM on November 8, 2012

Yup, definitely mild eczema. I got the same thing.
Hydrocortisone cream will fix it up super quick, but it will probably keep coming back. Sorry.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:50 AM on November 8, 2012

Q-tips are scratchy. Vaseline helps.

I speak from experience.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:00 AM on November 8, 2012

I actually just went Googling because I get this same thing under my eyebrows - and there is a convincing argument that it may not be eczema as such, but may also be seborrheic dermatitis, which is a bit different.

Fortunately the link gives an easy-sounding OTC treatment suggestion (using Nizoral shampoo to clean it and a cortisone cream until it clears up). I've also had luck with apple cider vinegar on a q-tip swabbed on the affected area.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Instead of a q-tip, try using a bulb syringe and warm water with 25% white vinegar to remove ear wax. Won't solve the immediate problem which others have addressed but will lessen recurrence.
posted by leslies at 7:04 AM on November 8, 2012

I spent about $100 on eczema medication before I was properly diagnosed with psoriasis. Your symptoms sound a lot like mine, including the location of the scaly patches. I would suggest heading to a dermatologist.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:19 AM on November 8, 2012

Cortisone cream will clear up at least 2 of the 3 things it's likely to be, so I'd go with that.

(I get this, but mine is stress related, fwiw. I use Vaseline and try to ignore it.)
posted by DarlingBri at 7:28 AM on November 8, 2012

I have insanely itchy ears, as well as some seborrheic dermatitis on my face, so I think there is a relation.
The thing that has helped both issues is dandruff shampoo. Use it on your hair, and then work a little of the lather in to the itchy and flaky spots.
Cleared up the red patches on my face after trying prescription and otc remedies for years.
posted by exparrot at 8:12 AM on November 8, 2012

Your new Google search term is "fungus". Combine it with "itchy", "ear", or whatever else fits you. Do this now to attain enlightenment.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 10:30 AM on November 8, 2012

I actually tried an antifungal and it didn't help.
posted by waraw at 11:03 AM on November 8, 2012

I'm leaning towards seborrheic dermatitis, which I'll get in/behind my ears and around my nose, among other places. I use Neutrogena anti wrinkle anti blemish cleanser -- I think it's the salicylic acid that fixes it, usually with one washing.

And I add 40-60 drops of tea tree oil to my body wash, which seems to fix all skin issues not located around my face/ears.
posted by MeiraV at 8:38 AM on November 12, 2012

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