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Solution eczéma de l'oreille.

Ear Eczema: What's the Solution?

Eczema is a skin condition that can manifest in various parts of the body. Symptoms of this chronic inflammatory disease can even appear in the ear canal and the outer ear. Ear eczema primarily affects infants and children but can also impact adults. While it can be quite uncomfortable, fortunately, there are several solutions to alleviate it. What are they?

Summary
Published February 8, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read
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Ear Eczema: What is it?

Ear eczema is a skin disease that causes inflammation in the external auditory canal. It is characterized by redness and intense itching around the ear and within the auditory canal. The itching is caused by inflammation of the mucous membrane. When the individual scratches, it increases the risk of infection which can lead to a ear infection. The part of the ear surrounding the area affected by eczema swells and sometimes causes difficulty hearing. As the disease progresses, crusts and oozing appear, and severe pain is felt.

Eczema of the ear canal can originate from allergic or atopic sources. Allergic eczema of the ear is caused by contact with an object or product that triggers an allergic reaction. It's important to note that this form of eczema does not necessarily occur upon first contact. Eczema in the ear can stem from materials used in earrings, hearing aids, or even cell phones. Skin or hair care products that come into contact with the ear can also be the cause.

Flare-ups ofeczema in the ear are due to genetic predispositions. Individuals who are prone to this condition produce significant amounts of immunoglobulin E, a type of antibody, in response to environmental antigens. Their skin reacts excessively to its environment and is particularly sensitive during periods of stress. According to several studies, 50 to 70% of people affected by eczema have a first-degree relative (father, mother, brother, or sister) who has also been affected.

What treatments for ear eczema?

Eczema of the ear canal should be addressed as soon as possible by a doctor. If you notice one or more symptoms related to the disease, it is recommended to quickly consult a dermatologist. They typically prescribe a cortisone cream to alleviate itching and soothe the skin. This molecule has anti-inflammatory and healing properties and is widely used to combat eczema. Applying an emollient several times a day is also recommended to moisturize the infected area.

If the ear eczema is due to an allergy, patch tests are conducted to determine which product caused it. Once identified, the allergen must be permanently removed from the patient's daily life to prevent recurrence. It is also possible to supplement medications with homeopathic, allopathic, or phytotherapeutic treatments. However, it is not recommended to resort to any form of treatment without the doctor's approval.

Once ear eczema has been treated, here are some tips to consider to prevent future flare-ups:

  • Avoid using cotton swabs to clean your ears, as they can irritate the sensitive area of the ear canal. Opt for gentler methods, such as ear sprays, and stay on the outer edge of the ear canal.

  • Dry the ears after washing them to prevent stagnant moisture from leading to bacterial proliferation and infection.

  • If you use earbuds, make sure to clean them regularly.

Sources

  • MACKEITH S. & al. Otitis externa. BMJ clinical evidence (2015).

  • SAURAT J. H., LACHAPELLE J. M., LIPSKER D., THOMAS L. et BORRADORI L. Dermatologie et infections sexuellement transmissibles. Elsevier Masson (2017).

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