Psoriasis In Ears

Psoriasis in ears is one of the most common areas for the autoimmune disease to manifest itself, with nearly 20% of all people afflicted with psoriasis having it surface in the area around the ears. In essence, the disease speeds up the life cycle of the skin, causing it to deteriorate and degrade into scaly, patchy looking skin all around the ears.

Symptoms of Psoriasis in ears

Although psoriasis in the ears can strike both children and adults, it occurs more commonly in adults, with roughly 7.5 million adults being affected. The symptoms which are most often associated with this autoimmune disease include the following:

  • A recurring pattern of itching or consistent pain in the area around the ear
  • a buildup of scales or wax in the ear canal, which often makes it difficult to hear
  • areas of irritated skin which resist treatment and won't heal
  • skin around the ears which becomes dry or cracked
  • some degree of temporary hearing loss
  • fingernails or toenails which have ridges or pits on them
  • some joints which feel inflexible or swollen
  • potential for psoriasis in the ear to spread to the eyes, nose, and mouth, and in rare cases, cheeks, lips, tongue, and gums.

Common causes of psoriasis in the ear

It is known that psoriasis in the ear is triggered by an autoimmune disease, but it is not known why the immune system mistakenly attacks the skin cells of the ear or any other part of the body. There seems to be a genetic predisposition to contracting the disease, since it does run in families. It also seems to occur more often when there is a withdrawal of systemic steroids which have been used by a patient in the past.

Other cases of psoriasis have been triggered by the application of strong, irritating topical treatments such as zinc pyrithione in shampoo, anthralin, or tar. Other cases of psoriasis have been triggered by phototherapy or sunlight, and still others seem to have been caused by a deficiency of calcium in the body.

Treatment for psoriasis in the ears

It's quite likely that after consulting with your family doctor, you will be referred to a dermatologist for the specific treatment which will be most effective in your particular case. There are a number of approaches for treating psoriasis in the ears, and the specific approach adopted by your dermatologist will depend to some degree on how severe your symptoms are, whether or not you have allergies, what your history of psoriasis may be, and what your current health condition is.

Even though there is no known cure for psoriasis, there are some steps which can be taken right at home which will help to control the symptoms associated with psoriasis in the ears. For easing the itching and inflammation of the skin around the ears, doctors have found that olive oil or jojoba oil can be very effective. Both of these have a high moisturizing capability, and both contain antioxidants which help to counteract the symptoms.

When using one of these oil treatments, it is only necessary to purchase an ear cleansing kit at any pharmacy, and then use the squirt bottle to inject a small amount of distilled warm water into the ear canal. After this preliminary cleansing step, you should follow up by applying jojoba oil to a cotton ball and swabbing around the affected area.

Some herbal medications have also proven to be effective, especially when coupled with traditional therapies. Some of the herbal treatments you might try are aloe vera, indigo naturalis, and mahonia bush, all of which have shown promise in reducing the symptoms of psoriasis in the ears.

If you know that your ear canal is blocked by a buildup of wax or dead skin cells, do not attempt to remove the blockage yourself, because this could result in worsening the situation. Instead, make an appointment with your doctor and have it removed professionally, so that there is no risk to your eardrums, and no hearing loss.

Topical medications

There are some topical medications of a nonsteroidal nature which have proven to be effective on the less severe cases of psoriasis in the ears. A couple of these are Dovonex and betamethasone, which work by reducing skin growth and at the same time reducing the size of existing lesions. Even better, they tend to lower the itching and pain generally associated with psoriasis in the ears. However, it should be noted that any of the class of drugs which are recommended for use in autoimmune system suppression, can have the undesirable side effect of inducing at least low-strength headaches.

For more severe cases of psoriasis in the ear, your doctor might prescribe a steroid, or a combination of steroids and other medicines. Steroids can be dripped directly into the ear, right on the affected area, or they can be applied topically when psoriasis appears at other locations on the body.

Long-term outlook for psoriasis in the ear

Psoriasis which appears anywhere on the body, including in the ears, is a chronic condition, which means it is not likely to go away quickly, even with conscientious treatment. Given the fact that this autoimmune disease is likely to be in effect for a long time, it’s to your advantage to find out which types of treatment are most effective in your own case.

You should also try and learn whether there are any external triggers which exacerbate your psoriasis in the ears, so that you can minimize their impact when you have a flareup. Some of the external factors which have the greatest impact on psoriasis in the ears include the following:

  • infections
  • scratches or cuts
  • weather which is cold or dry
  • stress and anxiety
  • other medications
  • infections
  • excessive consumption of alcohol
  • excessive sunshine

If you are routinely afflicted by severe psoriasis in the ears, it will definitely be worth your while to maintain a journal with observations of which of these triggers affect you, if any. You can discuss the contents of the journal with your family doctor, so that a treatment plan can be formulated which can be customized to manage your specific symptoms effectively.

Psoriasis in the ear which is not effectively managed can cause hearing loss, and can become progressively more painful and uncomfortable. Given these facts, it's worth your while to take the time to learn about everything you can do to minimize the impact to you personally.

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Last Reviewed:
June 23, 2018
Last Updated:
June 21, 2018