Why You Get Dry Skin in Your Ears — And What to Do About It

November 13, 2020
Claudia Dimuro
By: Claudia Dimuro | skincare.com by L'Oréal
Why You Get Dry Skin in Your Ears — And What to Do About It

Dry skin can affect many parts of your body, including some areas you’d least expect like your scalp, elbows and around the nose. Another common but rarely talked about area that can fall victim to dryness, itchiness and flakiness is the inside of your ears. If you’re someone who experiences dry skin in your ears, we’re explaining what causes this dryness and how to address it, ahead.

Causes of Dry Skin in Your Ears


Lack of Earwax

One of the most common culprits behind any type of dry skin is a lack of moisture. Earwax plays a very important role of keeping your ear canal clean and moisturized. While an excess of earwax can cause issues such as ear infections and temporary hearing loss, not having enough ear wax can actually cause dry skin. 

Overexposure to the Elements

Prolonged sun exposure can strip away the natural protective barrier on your skin. This barrier is composed of lipids, fats that contribute to the retention of the skin’s moisture. If these lipids are damaged by harmful UV rays or other external aggressors, dryness may appear all over your body, including the ears.

Underlying Skin Conditions

Dryness inside your ear may also be due to other underlying skin conditions you may or may not be aware of. Among them are psoriasis, eczema or seborrheic dermatitis, which causes scaly skin, redness and flakiness. If you suspect the dry skin in your ear could be the result of an underlying medical condition, contact your dermatologist or health-care provider.   

How to Get Rid of Dry Skin in Your Ears



If the dryness is affecting the outside of your ear, a topical moisturizer can be used to help address it. If the issue is within your ear canal, your health-care provider may prescribe some lubricating ear drops. To help keep your ear canal hydrated, avoid sticking cotton swabs into your ear as they can remove wax and irritate the lining of your ear canal. If you feel like too much earwax has built up, ask your doctor or dermatologist for instructions on how to remove the excess. 

Apply SPF

The ears are one of the most forgotten areas for applying sunscreen. Make sure you’re applying SPF 15 or more every day on the outside of your ears. We recommend the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen with SPF 100 because it’s great for all skin types, including sensitive.

Avoid Irritants

Just like the rest of your skin, harsh soaps, cleansers and ingredients can cause dryness, itchiness and flakiness in and around your ears. Make sure you’re only using gentle skin-care products to keep skin irritation minimal. Try the CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser and follow up with the brand’s Moisturizing Cream to keep your ears clean and moisturized.

Wear Protective Clothing

During the cold-weather months, invest in a pair of earmuffs or a fitted hat that can keep harsh winds and low temperatures from drying out your skin. In summer, wear a sunhat to prevent sunburn and the resulting flakes that can come with it.

Explore Medicinal Options

If you’re still unsure about the cause of dryness or suspect that you may have an underlying medical condition, consult with your dermatologist or medical professional about alternative options like topical medicinal treatments to help alleviate your symptoms.


Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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