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Ear Eczema

I grew up with eczema on and off and "sensitive " skin and some old time treatments from dermatologists which would be questionable by today's standards (gentian violet and even x-rays). For several years I fought seborreic dermatitis. More recently at 66 I have ear eczema. It is cyclical- itch reddening, thick skin, weeping. My dermatologist recommended cortisone cream or otic drops. These do not totally get rid. I try not to stay on cortisone. Even with I have breakouts. I have noticed several times following the weeping skin, I get ear infections and the last 3 bad ones, I had vertigo. I am careful about soaps and lotions. Perhaps food allergies? Is there any oil or treatment to get away from cortisone which doesn't work?

  1. Hi, jvcxtwo,

    I know you started this discussion a long time ago, but I have just seen it and was hoping I could help!

    Having eczema in my ears too, I completely understand what you're going through--I seem to have that same cyclical itching, reddening, weeping, and eventual semi-healing thing going on too! And almost every time I have dealt with it, I get ear problems. I can't say I've had any infections, per se, but I have noticed that there must be swelling or something as I can hear my heartbeat in my ear. That can't be good...

    I recently talked to my doctor about this and he was quite helpful. He suggested that part of my problem was the use of Q-tips to itch the insides of my ear canal. He said that they are very rough on the sensitive skin of our ear canals. (And with all the crazy scratching I'm actually using them for, of course they are part of the problem!) I sometimes "clean" my ears upwards of four times a day just to scratch my itch. Doc said to please stop doing that (easier said than done...) and gave me this little trick--he told me to take a cotton ball, dip it or dropper on about four to five drops of olive oil, and place it in my ear for a little while (I try to do a half an hour or so while I'm doing hair/makeup/teeth) and then take it on and go on with my day. He suggested I try this at least every two weeks in each ear. Maybe your doc would recommend something similar??

    Now, I'm not going to say this cured me (because you can't really "cure" eczema) but it has helped tremendously. Generally after I do this kind of treatment, I am less itchy and don't use as many Q-tips throughout the day (sometimes I don't need any because the itch is GONE!). But it always comes back....generally around that two week mark, and so I do it again....and so the cycle continues.

    I had tried some type of steroid cream awhile back, but I would say that the results were not far off from this olive oil treatment. My doc said that since I am using steroids on my hand eczema (since it was really bad) that maybe I should back off on other parts of my body if possible, and go as natural as I could without scratching myself to bleeding (I have definitely bled from my ears, sometimes over night while I sleep!). This has been a life saver for me. Maybe it could help you too! Just check with your doc first because if you are prone to infections, this may not be the way to go. He may suggest a certain amount of healing via steroids before any olive oil treatment. Hope this can help!

    Stefanie ( Team Member)

    1. Hi jvcxtwo,

      I am sorry to hear that you have been experiencing ear eczema recently. Cyclical itching, reddening, thick skin and weeping are all painful symptoms that many in the atopic dermatitis community endure. You are not alone. I am glad to hear that you have been working with your dermatologist to get cortisone cream and otic drops, but am sorry that these haven't been providing the relief you hoped for.

      It is important to consult your dermatologist before stopping or starting new treatments. If you haven't already, you can also ask about the ear infections and vertigo you have been experiencing to make sure those symptoms are addressed. We do have a treatment page on our site here that you can browse for information about medicines, over the counter, natural and alternative treatments: I would suggest asking the dermatologist about any treatments you might be interested in trying.

      Thank you for reaching out to us here. Please keep me posted on how you are doing, I will be thinking of you. I hope that you find some relief soon.

      -Sarah ( Team Member)

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