Do you understand what having a crusty skin behind the ears means? Is it a crust or a scab in the first place? What causes it? What are the solutions or treatments? Can it be managed at home or it must be managed by a doctor?
Crustiness behind your ears can be mild or severe and it has many causes. Let us explore the causes as well as possible treatment options to go for.
What is a crust?
Crusts and scabs are two terms usually confused or used interchangeably. However, a scab is a layer that forms on a skin wound or a cut while a crust is a hard layer that grows over a skin surface, therefore a scab can be described as a crust. Normally, crusting results when the body secretion or exudates dries up.
Crusts can also develop when pus or serum on a ruptured blister dries up. Therefore, there are many causes that can result in crusts on your skin. The symptoms will vary depending on the underlying causes. Read on to explore the common causes below.
Here, we will discuss the common causes and their respective treatments.
Contact dermatitis or ear eczema
This is one is an inflammatory skin condition that can affect anybody at any age and it can to occur anywhere in the body. Eczema occurs when the skin comes into contact with irritants or allergens. Allergic contact dermatitis is when the body comes into contact with allergens whereas, irritant contact dermatitis occurs when the body comes into contact with irritants.
Allergens or irritants may include dyes, shampoos, certain headwear and other body care products. They can result in blister or rash behind the ear that is extremely itchy, red and inflamed and that often causes crusting later.
Contact dermatitis is treated using topical drugs such antihistamine creams, salicylic acids and selenium and zinc pyrithione shampoos, or oral drugs such as antibiotics as well as phototherapy in serious cases. Home remedies are also available to relieve this condition.
Seborrheic dermatitis in ears
This another skin condition with an unknown cause that can trigger this problem. It is usually characterized by dandruff-like white scales on skin and flaking but it may also result in crusts behind ears. Factors that can aggravate or trigger this condition are Malassezia yeast infection, stress, and anxiety, HIV/AIDS, cold weather or Parkinson’s disease.
Unfortunately, this skin problem can only be treated or relieved but cannot be cured, and thus it may tend to come and go. Medicated shampoos and soaps can relieve it but, your doctor may also recommend other treatments.
This is also an inflammatory dermatological disorder. It can appear at any age and tends to affect the elbow skin, knees and scalp more often. It is an autoimmune disease but just like seborrheic dermatitis, the exact cause is not well known. This condition usually runs in family with symptoms such as thick red rashes that are scaly and crusty. Usually, it is the scalp psoriasis the spreads to the area behind the ears.
How can we treat this condition? Well, a major aim of ear psoriasis treatment is to stop the rash and avoid any pending infection. Topical therapies such as steroidal cortisone creams and oral treatments may be prescribed. Injections and phototherapy can also be administered depending on the causes and severity.
Medical experts describe this as an infection of the hair follicles that results in symptoms like itchy rashes, irritation, redness and development of blisters. If this condition occur behind the ears and can result in crusting. Serum or pus from the blisters will dry up to form a crust.
Depending on the seriousness of the resultant symptoms, folliculitis can be treated using antibiotics or antifungals.
Changes in levels of certain hormones can also lead to crusting on the skin. When the level of some hormones such as androgens increase, oil-producing glands are sent to their overdrive mode and thus producing extra body oils. This can lead to the formation of skin lesions that may form scab or crust as they heal.
You are vulnerable if you are a teen, you are pregnant when you are almost experiencing or have just experienced periods, if you are using certain medications such as birth control pills and if you have other underlying health conditions. All these can lead hormonal disorders and thus skin breakouts that are likely to cause crusting.
The best treatment here is the hormone therapies to suppress it. Other solutions involve finding an alternative to certain medications or treating the underlying diseases.
Dry skin is usually prone to many disorders. It occurs when the skin lacks sufficient amount of moisture. This may be due to many underlying factors such as nutritional deficiencies, harsh weather, hormonal shifts and more. A dry skin can easily itch, scale or crust.
Treatment for dry skin depends on the underlying causes but common ones include moisturizing the skin daily, drinking plenty amount of fluids daily, changing your diet or taking nutrient supplements among others. The doctor should intervene and know the exact cause and prescribe for proper medication in case it is chronic.
This skin condition emerges when the sweat glands are blocked and thus moisture and sweat are trapped below the skin. This may result in symptoms such as itching, tinny bumps, flaking, redness and crusty behind ears.
Treatment includes controlling the rate of sweating and exposure to heat, proper use of humidifiers and moisturizers. In severe cases, you may proceed to your doctor for medical treatment.
A good number of infections can develop behind ears with the most common one including fungal and bacterial infections i.e. tinea capitis and impetigo respectively. Other infections include viral infections such as chickenpox and measles. These skin infections usually have these symptoms; itching, reddening, scaling and crusting.
Bacterial together with fungal infections are cured using oral and topical antibiotics and antifungals respectively. Anti-viral medications are also available for viral infections. Certain home remedies can also be used to treat and relieve these infections.
Crust behind the ear can also be symptoms of the diseases like rubella among others. What is important is to find out the exact causes and provide proper treatment. This should be done by qualified medical personnel.
Symptoms of crusting will vary in many aspects however their color is usually red, white, dark or yellow, all these depend on causes. Other variants include their onset and severity. The severity of these symptoms will depend on the causes and how they are being treated. Some symptoms may be mild but if not treated in time, maybe a great menace!
Again, the symptoms may occur just before the crusting process, during or after crusting. Here are the common symptoms:
- Before crusting: itching, swelling, tendering, inflammation, dryness, oily skin, bleeding, bruising or blistering
- During crusting: Tightening of the skin, itching, pain, the hardening surface grow dark
- After crusting: Scarring, peeling, the red or white surface after the crust peels off and bleeding if the crust or scab is forced to peel before time
If you develop symptoms such as fever, nausea, impaired vision, loss of consciousness or more serious symptoms, please see your doctor for an emergency treatment, this could signify a serious veiled health condition. Alternatively, you or someone near may call 911 since this is an emergency.
Crust behind eras is usually a mild condition that can be easily managed from the comfort of our homes. The main role of these home solutions is to relieve itching, inflammation, nourish your skin, and improving the healing process among other roles. Below are top 5 home remedies you should try if you are battling with crustiness behind ears.
1. Tea Tree Oil
This is a natural product with antimicrobial properties and thus suitable treating of the infections that may cause this condition. It will also help to soothe skin itching resulting from bacterial infections. Definitely, this is the best treatment for acne that may in one way or the other contribute to crusting.
- Mix 10 drops the tea tree oil with ¼ cup of jojoba oil
- Apply the mixture on the affected area
- Leave it to rest for 10 minutes and then rinse with water
2. Aloe Vera
This wonderful natural product that has a soothing effect and an effective gel for crusty ear problems. It relieves itchiness and is good at fighting skin infections. Use this remedy as follows:
- Extract fresh aloe gel from an aloe leaf
- Use your fingers to apply the gel to the affected area
- Leave the gel to dry there and then rinse with lukewarm water
3. Olive Oil
This is a perfect solution for itchiness and crustiness. It softens the crust and thus relieve itching and at the same time foster the healing process. It is also another good moisturizer and hence will reduce tension or tightness in the skin during crusting or scabbing.
- Take enough amount of olive oil and massage on the affected skin area
- Leave it there for 10 minutes
- Rinse off using warm water
- Continue using this remedy thrice a week until your condition improves
4. Egg Mask
Egg mask contains wonderful proteins and mineral that will ensure your skin is nourished. It will be smooth, moisturized and above all, it will help it to regain its beautiful look. Try this remedy today and you will have a testimony to share.
- Whisk three egg yolks in a bowl
- Apply the mask to your ear using your fingers.
- Leave it there to dry up the wash off with lukewarm water
5. Lemon Juice
This is another recommended remedy for this problem. Its acidic nature helps it the get rid of the infections and shrink the oils producing glands. This will regulate the amount of oil produced and thus treat acne that may contribute to the development of crusty ear. Dilute the juice if you have sensitive skin.
- Extract a juice from a lemon by cutting two lemons and squeezing them to get the juice
- Apply the mixture on the crusty area using a clean cotton towel
- Leave it there for 10 minutes and rinse off using water
Besides these home treatments, there are more precautions you need to observe. You should not scratch, peel or pick the crusty layers, you should maintain the skin moistures, regulate the activities of your sweat gland and also keep your skin clean always.
You may need to see a doctor
Since this skin condition has many causes, knowing the underlying cause may be so challenging. Therefore, you should see your doctor to evaluate your condition and provide appropriate treatments. You should also see your doctor if the condition aggravates or persist besides applying over-the-counter drugs or the above home remedies. A hidden severe health condition may be the cause of your crusty ears!
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