What Causes Dry Skin Behind Ears and How to Treat It

 A photo of a woman have dry skin behind ears

Understanding and Treating Dry Skin Behind the Ears

Dry skin, particularly behind the ears, can potentially create discomfort and embarrassment for individuals. It is a dermatological condition that requires comprehensive understanding for effective treatment.

Defining Dry Skin and Its Causes

Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is a common condition that is often temporary and seasonal. However, for some, it can become a lifelong issue. The main factors leading to dry skin include environmental conditions, genetics, and lifestyle choices. Low humidity, particularly during winter, can lead to the skin losing its moisture, resulting in dryness (Huang, et al., 2012).

Besides environmental factors, genetic predispositions also play a considerable role, as polymorphisms in the filaggrin gene are associated with dry skin and diseases like atopic dermatitis (Palmer, C.N.A., et al., 2006). Lifestyle choices such as smoking, a diet low in essential fatty acids, and excessive sun exposure can further exacerbate skin dryness.

Specific Causes of Dry Skin Behind the Ears

One of the leading contributors to dry skin behind the ears is excessive washing, which strips the skin of its natural oils. Moreover, dermatological conditions such as atopic eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis can be localized in the area behind the ears (Gupta, & Versteeg, S.G. 2018).

Symptoms of Dry Skin Behind the Ears

Common symptoms of dry skin behind the ears include itching, flaking, redness, and in severe cases, pain. Chronic or recurrent dry skin behind the ears may also be a signal of an underlying skin disorder.

Treatment Options

Several treatment options are available to combat dry skin behind the ears. These include:

  • Over-the-counter creams and ointments
  • Home remedies like applying coconut oil or aloe vera
  • Prescription medications for severe cases

The choice of therapy should be based on the severity and precipitating factors for each individual case.

Preventing Dry Skin Behind the Ears

Prevention is always better than treatment. The following strategies can prevent the onset of dry skin behind the ears:

  • Avoid harsh soaps and shampoos as they can strip away the natural oils of the skin.
  • Regularly moisturize the area using creams high in emollients.
  • Protect the area from extreme weather conditions, particularly cold and windy situations.

Dry skin behind the ears needs to be understood in terms of its causes, symptoms, and treatments. Appropriately addressing this issue requires regulatory lifestyle changes, possible medication and regular skincare routines. Recognizing its causes enables better prevention and management of this condition.


1. Byrdie - Causes of Dry Skin Behind Ears 

2. Clevelandclinic - Ear Eczema

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