Itchiness behind the ears can be because of a number of causes ranging from allergies to infections. To properly treat itchiness, also called pruritis, you should consult a doctor for a definitive diagnosis. If not properly treated, scratching behind the ears can result in damage to the skin, worsening infection or spread of the condition.
One of the most common causes of itching behind the ears in adults is dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis 2. The condition causes flaky, itchy skin on the scalp and can occur behind the ears.
Ringworm can affect the skin behind the ears. According to MayoClinic.com, ringworm causes redness and itchiness and commonly affects toddlers and school-age children.
Head lice, also called pediculosis capitis, can cause intense itching behind the ears and on the scalp. Head lice are extremely contagious.
Other conditions exist that may cause itching behind the ears. Consult your doctor for a clear diagnosis.
- One of the most common causes of itching behind the ears in adults is dandruff, or seborrheic dermatitis 2.
- Head lice, also called pediculosis capitis, can cause intense itching behind the ears and on the scalp.
Why Does My Neck Itch?
According to MayoClinic.com, risk factors for seborrheic dermatitis include yeast infections, stress and fatigue, change of seasons with outbreaks usually worse in the winter, neurological conditions such as:
- Parkinson's disease,
- HIV/AIDS 2
Treatment for itchiness behind the ears depends on the cause. Creams and ointments are sometimes prescribed for dermatitis, anti-dandruff shampoos can be used to control seborrhea, oral medications may be given to treat ringworm, and head lice requires treatment with a lice-killing topical solution and removal of the nits.
Always consult your doctor before beginning any treatment for itching behind the ears.
Scalp Rash in Toddlers
Most causes of itching behind the ears can be managed or eliminated. With dermatitis, removing the offending allergen can help minimize outbreaks and both ringworm and head lice can be cured with medication. Seborrheic dermatitis may be a lifelong condition that can recur when treatment ends 2.
Contact a doctor immediately if signs of infection are present.
Why Does My Neck Itch?
Scalp Rash in Toddlers
How to Know If Scabies Is Gone
Ringworm in Babies
What Causes Itchy Ears?
How to Get Rid of Scabies in the Hair
Types of Itchy Skin
Can Milk Thistle Cause Skin Rashes?
Skin Problems That Cause Eyebrow Loss
Causes of a Skin Rash on Hands and Feet
- Merck Manuals Online Medical Library: Dermatitis
- MayoClinic.com: Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Skinsight.com: Head Lice
- Tucker D, Masood S. Seborrheic dermatitis. In: StatPearls Publishing. Updated December 28, 2019.
- Borda LJ, Wikramanayake TC. Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff: A comprehensive review. J Clin Investig Dermatol. 2015;3(2):10.13188/2373-1044.1000019. doi:10.13188/2373-1044.1000019
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- Takagi Y, Ning X, Takahashi A, et al. The efficacy of a pseudo-ceramide and eucalyptus extract containing lotion on dry scalp skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2018;11:141-8. doi:10.2147/CCID.S158428
- Dobler D, Schmidts T, Wildenhain S, Seewald I, Merzhäuser M, Runkel F. Impact of selected cosmetic ingredients on common microorganisms on healthy human skin. Cosmetics. 2019;6(45):1-13. doi:10.3390/cosmetics6030045
- National Psoriasis Foundation. What's tops in topical steroid treatments?. Updated August 14, 2019.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves updated labeling with boxed warning and medication guide for two eczema drugs, Elidel and Protopic. January 19, 2006.
- De Souza Leão Kamamoto C, Sanudo A, Hassun KM, Bagatin E. Low-dose oral isotretinoin for moderate to severe seborrhea and seborrheic dermatitis: a randomized comparative trial. Int J Dermatol. 2017;56(1):80-5. doi:10.1111/ijd.13408
- Altman K, Vanness E, Westergaard RP. Cutaneous manifestations of human immunodeficiency virus: a clinical update. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2015;17(3):464. doi:10.1007/s11908-015-0464-y
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When not working in her family-owned food and bar business, Viola Horne can almost always be found with a cookbook in one hand and a whisk in the other. Horne never tires of entertaining family and friends with both comfort food and unusual delicacies such as garlic cheese smashed potatoes and banana bacon pancakes.