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Last Updated on June 19, 2024

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that affects a lot of people globally. While it commonly appears on the scalp, elbows, and knees, it can also develop in less typical areas, such as the ears. Psoriasis in ear can be particularly troublesome due to the delicate nature of the skin in and around the ear canal.

 

This blog aims to provide an understanding of ear psoriasis, including its symptoms, causes, treatment options, and care tips so individuals with this condition can live comfortably.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is characterized by the rapid growth of skin cells and is an autoimmune condition. This accelerated cell turnover leads to the buildup of cells on the skin’s surface, forming scales and red patches that can be itchy and sometimes painful. Moreover, psoriasis can vary in severity, from small, localized patches to complete body coverage.

Additionally, pain or itching around the ear, earlobe, or inside the ear canal can indicate psoriasis. You might notice a buildup of skin scales or wax. Furthermore, you can develop patches of affected skin on or near your ears.

Symptoms of Psoriasis in Ear

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, psoriasis typically affects the external ear canal. Regardless of its exact location on your ear, you may experience a buildup of scales or wax, which can lead to hearing difficulties.

Moving on to the specifics, psoriasis in ear manifests in several ways. Common symptoms include:

  • Red Patches and Scales: These patches can appear on the outer ear, behind the ear, or within the ear canal. The scales are often silvery-white and can cause discomfort.
  • Itching and Discomfort: The affected areas can be extremely itchy, which can lead to further irritation and potential infection if scratched excessively.
  • Hearing Problems: In severe cases, the buildup of scales and inflammation can block the ear canal, leading to temporary hearing loss or a feeling of fullness in the ear.
  • Dryness and Cracking: The skin around the ear may become very dry, leading to cracking and bleeding in severe cases.

Additionally, Psoriasis in the ear often can spread to the face, appearing around the eyes, mouth, and nose. In some cases, it can also affect the gums, tongue, or the inside of the cheeks and lips.

Causes of Psoriasis in Ear

Researchers believe it to be caused by a combination of two factors; genetic and environmental factors. While the exact cause of psoriasis in ear remains unclear, several contributing factors have been identified:

  • Genetics: A family history of psoriasis increases the likelihood of developing the condition. Specific genetic markers have been associated with psoriasis, indicating a hereditary component.
  • Immune System Dysfunction: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skin cells. This immune response causes the rapid production of skin cells that accumulate and form plaques.
  • Environmental Triggers: Various environmental factors can trigger or worsen psoriasis. These include stress, skin injuries, infections, certain medications, and changes in weather.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, have been linked to an increased risk of developing psoriasis and exacerbating its symptoms.

Diagnosis of Psoriasis in Ear

Diagnosing psoriasis in ear requires a detailed examination by a healthcare professional, typically a dermatologist. The dermatologist will start by looking for the characteristic signs of psoriasis, such as red, scaly patches, on the outer ear, behind the ear, or inside the ear canal. Furthermore, the dermatologist will inquire about the patient’s medical history and symptoms during the examination to obtain a comprehensive clinical picture.

To confirm the diagnosis and ensure accurate treatment, the dermatologist may perform a biopsy. This procedure involves taking a small sample of the affected skin, which is then examined under a microscope. Additionally, a biopsy can reveal specific histological features of psoriasis, such as thickened epidermis and inflammatory cell infiltration, distinguishing it from other skin conditions. Moreover, this microscopic examination is crucial for distinguishing psoriasis from similar conditions like seborrheic dermatitis or fungal infections.

Treatment Options for Psoriasis in Ear

If you have never been diagnosed with psoriasis before, your primary doctor may refer you to a dermatologist for treatment.

Additionally, several methods are available for treating psoriasis in the ear. However, some options may be more suitable for you than others.

Natural Treatment

While psoriasis cannot be cured, managing ear psoriasis at home is essential. Research suggests jojoba oil can benefit psoriasis-affected skin, offering a natural option. Moreover, olive oil is known for its moisturizing and antioxidant properties. A simple two-step process involves using an over-the-counter ear cleansing kit to gently apply warm distilled water. Then followed by applying jojoba oil to affected areas with a cotton ball.

Furthermore, combining herbal medications with traditional therapies has shown to enhance treatment efficacy, with common ingredients found in holistic psoriasis ointments.

Topical Treatments

These medications function by reducing the rate of skin growth, smoothing existing lesions, and alleviating pain and itching.

  • Corticosteroids: These anti-inflammatory medications can reduce redness and swelling. They are often applied as creams or ointments, but for the ear canal, drops may be used.
  • Calcipotriene: A synthetic form of vitamin D, calcipotriene helps to slow down skin cell growth and can be effective in treating ear psoriasis.

Phototherapy

Phototherapy, specifically UV light therapy, is a treatment option for managing psoriasis. Additionally, this method involves controlled exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, which helps alleviate symptoms by slowing down skin cell growth and reducing inflammation. Furthermore, UV light therapy is beneficial for psoriasis in various areas, including the ear. However, it requires careful monitoring to avoid potential damage to the sensitive skin in this region.

Systemic Treatments

In severe cases of psoriasis, oral medications that impact the immune system, like methotrexate or cyclosporine, may be recommended. These medications work systemically to suppress the immune response and manage widespread symptoms effectively. Alternatively, biologics represent a more targeted approach, addressing specific aspects of the immune system that contribute to psoriasis. Additionally, typically reserved for severe or treatment-resistant cases, biologics are administered via injection or infusion. This is to achieve controlled and lasting relief from psoriasis symptoms.

Care Tips for Managing Psoriasis in Ear

In addition to medical treatments, several self-care strategies can help manage psoriasis in ear. Here are some essential strategies for managing psoriasis in the ear and surrounding areas:

  • Avoid Irritants: Steer clear of harsh chemicals and fragrances in hair and skin care products that can irritate the skin and worsen psoriasis.
  • Stay Hydrated: Maintain adequate hydration by drinking plenty of water, which helps keep the skin hydrated and may reduce the severity of psoriasis symptoms.
  • Manage Stress: Practice stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, as stress is a known trigger for psoriasis.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Schedule regular visits to a dermatologist for monitoring the condition and adjusting treatments as needed.
  • Moisturize: Apply moisturizer regularly to keep the skin around the ears hydrated and to alleviate dryness associated with psoriasis.

Conclusion

In conclusion, psoriasis in the ear is a challenging and often uncomfortable condition. However, with proper care and treatment it can be managed effectively. Remember, managing psoriasis is a continuous process. Furthermore, staying informed about the latest treatments and care techniques is key to living healthy with this condition.

MBCP Team

MetroBoston Clinical Partners is a well established and experienced research center in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of qualified physicians and medical professionals, we coordinate a range of clinical research trials in Dermatology and Internal Medicine.

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