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  5. Dry Skin Behind The Ears: Causes, Treatment & Prevention

Have you felt dryness and itchiness on the skin around your ears? There might be a plethora of reasons such as overexposure to the sun or a chronic skin condition behind it.

Understanding the underlying cause can help you determine the right treatment. In this article we talk about the different factors that could possibly trigger dry skin behind the ears and the suitable treatments available.

Scroll down to know more.

What Causes Dry Skin Behind The Ears?

1. Sun Exposure

Overexposure to the sun can cause serious damage to our skin. In this case, when you step out in the sun without using any sunscreen or protective clothing, you expose your skin to the harmful UV rays. The harmful rays of the sun tend to damage the outermost layer of your skin by killing the skin cells, thus making the skin dry and flaky.

2. Swimming In A Chlorinated Pool

Chlorine has the potential to strip off the natural sebum oil from your skin. When you swim in a chlorinated pool, your skin comes in touch with chlorine and it dries out your skin by removing the natural oil. You may also experience itchy rashes and irritation as a side effect of chlorinated water. [1]

3. Dehydration

Dehydrated skin indicates that your body is lacking water. If your regular water intake is not sufficient, your skin would be dehydrated. Dehydration can make your skin extremely dry and dull-looking.

4. Smoking

Nicotine is a primary component of cigarettes. Consumption of nicotine is harmful to you as it interferes with your blood flow by narrowing the blood vessels. Along with major health issues, it triggers skin dryness. [2]

5. Stress

Stress has a lot more effect on your body than you think. When you are stressed out about something, your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. An increase in adrenaline causes excessive sweating which makes you lose way too much water from your body. It can lead to dehydration. Dehydrated skin looks dry and vulnerable.

6. Extreme Weathers

Dry skin behind the ears may be caused by extreme weather conditions in your area. Both hot and cold weather can dry out your skin. Even your room’s temperature matters a lot for your skin. If it’s too hot or dry, it can have adverse effects on your skin.

7. Harsh Soaps

Chemical-based harsh soaps and body cleansers often have serious impacts on your skin. It strips off the natural oils from your skin and makes it dry. The same thing applies to perfumes as well. Many of you use perfume behind your ear, it may give you a nice fragrance but your skin suffers.

8. Allergic Reactions

Some of you might have allergic reactions to certain metals. For example, if you are allergic to nickel, wearing a nickel based earring can lead to an allergic reaction, thus leading to dry, itchy skin behind your ears.

9. Skin Conditions

There are few chronic skin conditions that may cause dryness on your skin. Psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis are among them. Psoriasis [3] builds up skin cells in your body and it feels dry and itchy. It can happen behind the ears too. Similarly, eczema [4] starts with dryness on your skin and later makes your skin sore and itchy. Seborrheic dermatitis too causes dandruff-like skin flakes behind the ears. Your skin appears extremely dry and scaly.

How To Treat Dry Skin Behind The Ears?

1. Over The Counter Creams

You can try using over-the-counter creams to treat your dry and scaly skin issues. Such topical creams contain lactic acid and urea and work great on extremely dry skin. The dosage is mostly instructed on the product label itself, however, you can still clarify with the pharmacist about the usage.

2. Change Your Soap

Exposing your skin to harsh soaps or cleansers can dry out your skin. It’s wise to switch to something natural and mild that would not harm your delicate skin. Go for antibacterial soaps that not only cleanses your skin but also protects it from germs and bacteria. You can also use a mild moisturizing soap.

3. Avoid Itching

If your skin feels itchy due to extreme dryness, it needs attention. Do not use your nails to scratch the already irritated skin. Rather hold a cold compress behind your ear for a calming effect. Get an anti-inflammatory cream from any medical store to reduce the sensation and itching. Hydrocortisone is a commonly used topical cream/ointment used to relieve itching.

4. Moisturize Your Skin

Moisturization becomes essential in the case of dry skin. You can choose from a wide range of lotion, ointment or cream to treat dry skin behind the ears. Ointments are mostly made of water and oil and they give an ultimate protection for your skin. It also lasts long. Since cream contains more water than oil, it needs to be applied multiple times a day. Lotions on the other hand are a bit runny and require frequent application.

5. Stay Away From Allergens

If you are allergic to some metal or ingredients, try to stay away from it. Choose your favourite jewellery meticulously. Check if you are allergic to the metal. If your skin feels sensitive to the metal, stop wearing it immediately.

Tips To Prevent Dry Skin Behind The Ears

1. Apply sunscreen behind your ear when you are going out in the sun or going for a swimming session.

2. If you are living in extreme weather, make sure your room temperature is moderate.

3. Avoid any metals or ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions.

4. Use natural fragrances instead of regular perfumes.

5. Avoid taking hot baths. It may dry out your skin.

6. Use soaps and cleansers formulated natural ingredients on your skin.

7. Make sure you drink sufficient water daily.

8. Moisturize the skin behind your ear regularly.

When To Consult Your Doctor?

If moisturizing or using topical creams doesn’t seem to help your skin, it’s time to consult your doctor for help. Extreme dry and flaky skin can be more than just dryness. It can be symptoms of serious skin conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. In that case, over-the-counter medicines might not work. Properly prescribed medication is required for such skin conditions.

Also, if you keep these skin conditions untreated, it can lead to further infection. Your doctor is the right person to suggest the right treatment depending on the severity and whether you need any kind of wet dressing or not.

Wrapping Up

Dry skin behind the ears can be managed if you make a few lifestyle changes and follow a proper skin care routine. It usually can be managed by applying moisturizer or over-the-counter creams on the affected area. But if the dryness is a symptom of a serious skin condition, it will need time and medical attention.

Be mindful of understanding the symptoms early on to determine the right treatment. Also, take the precautionary measures we have mentioned in the article to protect your skin. We hope that they help!

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