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Common causes of flaky ear skin include allergic reaction, eczema, dermatitis, and dry skin. In addition, flaky skin can be caused by sunburn, which can usually be prevented by applying sunscreen to the ears. Flaky ear skin can occur on the outer portion of the ear or inside the ear. In addition, dry flaky skin can also cause significant itching and embarrassment. Like dandruff, flaking ear skin can drop off onto clothing, prompting the individual to limit their clothing to light-colored fabrics.
Flaking ear skin can usually be treated by replacing moisture to the area. The ears are typically very dry and this is more evident on the outer portion of the ear. Using a good moisturizing lotion or petroleum jelly can help reduce dryness and flakiness, while restoring the skin to its natural suppleness. Harsh facial washes can also contribute to flaky ear and facial skin. Certain facial washes contain alcohol and other drying agents that can contribute to flaky skin, and by avoiding these product, dry ears are less likely to occur.
Dry ears can also be the result of certain medications. Antihistamines not only dry up nasal secretions, they can also dry out the skin, including ear skin. Alternative methods of treating a runny nose should be considered when the ear skin is dry to avoid aggravating the symptoms. Certain shampoos and conditioners may also contribute to dry flaky skin. Shampoos designed for oily hair can cause the skin to dry out, as can facial astringents and toners.
When symptoms of flaky skin persist, a physician should be consulted. Flaky ears can signify a fungal infection, which may require treatment with an anti-fungal medication. These medications typically work rapidly to eliminate the infection, however, they can produce significant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In addition, anti-fungal medications can also cause severe stomach cramps and headache. These symptoms are typically more common with oral anti-fungal medications than with topical creams.
Excessive ear wax inside the ear can cause irritation, itching, and subsequent flaky ears. Ears should be kept free from wax, however, cotton swabs should not be used to clear the inner ear canal of wax. If ear wax becomes embedded deep into the ear, the individual should seek medical care to have the wax professionally removed. Self-cleaning the ears can push wax deeper into the ear, increasing the risk of infection and hearing loss.