We hEARd you, having psoriasis either on your ears or in your ears is not pleasant. We are sharing some thoughts from the community regarding ear psoriasis.
Psoriasis in and around the ears doesn’t happen to everyone, but for those who do experience it, they know…it isn’t a fun place to get it! The skin on the face is often more sensitive than some other areas of the body such as knees or elbows, so some treatments cannot be utilized on the ears. For some having psoriasis in and around their ears and on their face may cause self-consciousness or embarrassment as it is an area that is exposed. Some community members shared that their psoriasis in the ears began after a particular flare-up and was a new place where they experienced symptoms. For others, they have experienced ear psoriasis from the beginning.
Myths about ear psoriasis
Myth: Ear psoriasis is due to cleanliness. The Facts… Developing psoriasis in the ears has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the area in the ear or around the ear. Ear psoriasis is not caused by touching that area either. Psoriasis is not contagious it is an autoimmune condition, so cleanliness and/or touching has no effect on spreading psoriasis.
Myth: Scales cannot cause ear blockages The Facts… The combination of wax and the build up of scales inside the ear canal can cause the ear canal to become blocked. This may cause additional itching, possibly pain and could affect hearing. Clearing the ear canal of scales is important, not just for comfort, but for the protection of the delicate ear drum. A person who develops psoriasis in their ear should consult with their medical provider to discuss an appropriate method for removing scales in the ear, or have a doctor assist with removing the blockage in office as to not damage the eardrum or injure the skin.
Myth: There is no treatment for ear psoriasis The Facts… Treating ear psoriasis can be a bit more challenging, but there are options. As we mentioned the area in and around the ear can be more sensitive so not all topical ointments or creams are safe for ear psoriasis. If you are experiencing psoriasis in your ears, it is best to speak with your medical provider to determine what treatments are best for you. Close monitoring of ear psoriasis is also important to monitor for any issues such as hearing impairment or loss.1
Ear psoriasis treatment options
–Over the counter options: Some community members have found that using over-the-counter products as part of their home care routine is helpful. Community members have also used oils such as olive, coconut, and jojoba oil to moisturize the area around the ear and ease discomfort. In addition, some find it also helps to utilize over-the-counter ear cleaning kits that involve flushing the ear with warm water to loosen or remove build-up.1 -Manual extraction: As stated above many community members feel better when having their impacted ear canals cleared out by a medical provider. A medical provider can use a small tool to remove excess build up so it doesn’t impact hearing and won’t damage the ear drum. -Steroid options: There are some prescription steroid options that a medical provider can prescribe for relief. There are liquid steroid ear drops that can be used, such as Lidex to help with itching, swelling, and pain. Prescription steroids are often combined with another medication for enhanced treatment.2 -Topical medications:Topical treatment options that are nonsteroidal medications can be applied to the skin to treat ear psoriasis. Some options include Dovonex (Calcipotriene) or a combination of Calcipotriene and Betamethasone (Taclonex).2
Community comments about ear psoriasis
“I have them in and around my earlobes. Nothing works. Currently, I using warm salt water to remove the crusting. Afterwards, coconut oil and Vaseline. There’s an improvement, just not totally healed. You have to be diligent.”
“I have psoriasis in both ears, misshapen ear canals, and my one ear canal is a third of the size of what it should be. I now got to the ENT every 4 weeks to have my ears cleaned out. If I wait a day over four weeks I end up with ears that are completely plugged and then infected. It sucks. It’s only become worse as I’ve become older.”
“I use a product called Auralgan for about 5-7 days… it’s an ear oil that you fill your ear canal with before you go to bed. It helps soften up the plaques and ear wax. Then I go to my doctor or a local walk-in and I get the nurse to flush my ears out with their special syringe. All of the gunk comes out and I feel much better.”
“ENT doctor looked and found it was plugged by skin cells. He was able to take the entire plug out. There was a small amount in the other ear, which he cleared. He then prescribed some drops Derm-otic to be used regularly. It was an oil and it worked great. It was the same oil that was in a prescription the dermatologist had given me for a few spots of psoriasis in my hair.”
Living with psoriasis in the ears
We understand that having psoriasis can be a challenge due to both the physical and emotional symptoms it can cause. Working with a medical provider can help manage flares both in and around the ears and elsewhere on the body. Specifically with the ear, working closely with a medical provider is important to minimize the risk for developing ear-related complications such as hearing impairment or loss.
Duffy, N., Talbott, W. Complementary and alternative medicine for psoriasis: what the dermatologist needs to know. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2015 Jun;16(3):147-65. doi: 10.1007/s40257-015-0128-6.
Bae, Y., Kim, M., Kuk, S., Kwon, H.H., Kwon, I.H., Park, G.H., Suh, D.H., Youn, J.I. Facial Psoriasis log-based area and severity index: a valid and reliable severity measurement method detecting improvement of facial psoriasis in clinical practice settings. J Dermatol. 2016 Aug;43(8):894-9. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.13283. Epub 2016 Mar 19.