When Atopic Dermatitis is on Your Ear
I have a family member who has a tough case of the scaly itching ear. He works in a business environment, so dress slacks and a shirt are required for everyday wear. Recently, I saw him at an event where he was wearing a dark suit. Knowing that I research and write about eczema, psoriasis, and other skin problems, he asked me about it. I had a few insider tips about what to do when atopic dermatitis is on your ear.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
The first line of defense is moisture. Since regular moisturizers haven’t helped, we talked about creams. He shared his experience with putting cream on, only to have his hair look super greasy immediately! Letting it grow a little longer in the back was one way he tried to hide the white, peeling, skin behind his ear. The tender area inside of his earlobe was easier to treat with a thicker allergen free topical cream.
I suggested that he try an over the counter type of steroid cream. It can be useful when there is a small area that needs to be treated. I didn’t pull his hair back and inspect his ear, but I could tell that this was not a HUGE problem. Steroid creams are available in brand names, and also store labels. They come in little tubes that are easy to carry.
The reason that I suggest moisture in the form of a cream is because it can help the area in a couple of ways. It reduces the itching, and can also make the drying skin less visible.
All in the family?
When it came to wearing the dark suit, it was easy to see how self-conscious he was. He kept looking down at his shoulder. Several times I had seen him sweeping the flakes off of while darting his eyes around to see who was watching. Since we’re kin, I looked at his shoulder and smiled. After reassuring him that nobody could really notice, I could see that he felt better. He probably still worried about it some, but knowing that others’ in our family has the same problem did help.
I had brought up the topic of genetics and autoimmune disease. He was not aware that a few of his cousins struggled with severe skin problems. He asked if there was anything else that might help. Since he did not have any other areas that were atopic dermatitis related, I told him that he was pretty lucky. I still suggested that he let his doctor look at it, especially if it got any worse, or started to spread.
After encouraging him to watch for excessive scratching that could lead to breaking the skin and causing infection, he seemed relieved.
Finding support in unexpected places
We talked a bit about diet and the relationship between food allergies and skin problems. I invited him to spend some time of this website. Finding information about atopic dermatitis in one spot is always a bonus. I was proud to be able to point him to all of the medical information, patient stories, and caregiver experiences here. If you need help when atopic dermatitis is on your ear, I hope our story helps you.
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