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Ear Eczema

Ear eczema is a fairly common skin infection. What is surprising is that, even though there are many people who have been suffering from this condition for years, there is yet no definite cure.
Rohini Mohan
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a very common skin condition which can affect anybody. While some believe that it could be caused due to allergic reactions to foods containing yeast, others correlate it to hormonal imbalance. However there seems to be no precise explanation for the onset of this infection. What we do know is that there are people who have been suffering from incessant bouts of ear eczema through most of their lives. Eczema, in minor forms, is common among babies, and usually disappears on its own. However, among adults the infection seems to be showing its symptoms with sheer vengeance. What could be causing this ear infection and how to prevent it from reoccurring are some of the issues that this article will dwell into.
Symptoms
  • Ears feel sore
  • Excessive itching
  • Dryness or sometimes fluid discharge
  • Pain and swelling (in some cases)
  • Excessive earwax
  • Formation of skin crust
  • Burning and throbbing sensation
Causes
Ear eczema, as the name suggests, affect the skin of the ear, either in the inner or external part of the sensory organ. It causes the skin to itch, burn and often ooze fluid. The infection may start off as a rash behind ears or on the cartilage of the outer ear. The skin becomes inflamed and reddish or white in appearance and often tends to form flakes on the skin. These symptoms are further aggravated by the unbearable urge to scratch the affected area. It would be easy to tell a person suffering from this skin infection not to scratch the place, but only they can tell you how excruciating the itch actually is! Why does this itching occur and why is it so extreme? The causes mentioned below may give you the answers:
#1 Inherited Condition
This condition is hereditary and passes on from gene to gene. Which is why parents who have suffered from eczema, often have children with the same skin condition. This however does not specify the intensity of the infection and thus may vary from one case to the other. If not the parents, it may have been passed on nonetheless, through someone else from the previous generation.
#2 Epidermal Malfunction
The answer seems hidden within our own immune system. As per research, some individuals are born with different set of genes which have changes in their structure. As a result people with these variations in their genes may be more susceptible to varied forms of eczema. There are 3 categories of genes, which are:
  • Epidermal proteases
  • Structural proteins
  • Protease inhibitors
However, as to why it affects only the ear, and not other parts of the body seems confounding still. The only probable explanation seems to be that the affected area may have the least amount of protective barrier which would otherwise have protected the skin from pathogens, infection, sensitivity and damage.
#3 Overactive Immune System
When the immune system becomes overactive it begins to damage itself by attacking the body. It seems very likely that the white blood cells may be triggered to attack the sebaceous glands specifically. During this reaction, certain chemicals are released which cause inflammation and itching. This attack of the immune system could be correlated to the structure of varied genes in people prone to eczema.
#4 Allergic Reaction
It has also been observed that allergens play a major role in aggravating or triggering eczema in some people. Eating certain types of food, such as those which have excessive yeast, fermented food, certain types of nuts, milk, fish, eggs, etc. lead to this condition. It has its relation to climatic conditions as well, wherein it has been noticed that people who live in polluted area with low humidity are more prone to eczema. These people may be averse to externally derived histamine, an organic nitrogen compound. This compound is readily available in spinach, sausages, tomatoes, fish and eggplant.
Treatment
Keep the Ear Moisturized
There is no cure for eczema, however it's the symptoms which can be treated once they appear. The treatment includes keeping the affected area clean. Using a thick moisturizer helps control the fluid loss from the affected area. Which is why Vaseline has been found to be affective in many people.
Clean Your Ear
Get your ear checked by a good ENT specialist. They will clean all the built up in your ear. However, ask them how to clean it yourself. Many people use peroxide to clean their ear with a q-tip. These ear bud cleaners can be very dangerous to use, so be careful when you are cleaning the inner ear walls.
Ask for Antihistamines
Ask your doctor for antihistamines because it may be the histamines and other allergens which may be causing this condition. These medications should help ease the itching for some time.
Avoid Water
Try to not let water come in contact with the affected area, as this may increase the infection. What you can do is to swab the area with salt water as it acts as a disinfectant and has antibacterial properties.
Do not Scratch
The more you scratch the more vulnerable your ear will become to injury and infection. Every time you scratch you create a new wound which will never get the chance to heal, if you keep scratching it. If it gets too itchy use a cotton ball and wipe gently with Vaseline.
Effective Medication
Treatment of ear eczema will depend on the cause and type of eczema diagnosed by your doctor. It may include ear drops, antifungal creams suggested by your doctor. There have been cases where people suffering from ear eczema have been completely cured with proper treatment. If the condition keeps reoccurring, you must get a complete allergy test done, so that you know for sure what all may be responsible.