Cracked Skin Behind the Ear: Causes, Remedies, and Treatment Options

Cracked skin behind the ear can happen due to conditions like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, allergies, and harsh weather. These cause your skin to dry out, leading to itchiness, redness, and cracks that might bleed. But here’s the twist: it’s not just about slapping on a lotion. You’ve got to address the root cause – changing your skincare routine or seeking medical treatment. And just like that, we’re talking about causes.

Treating cracked skin behind the ear may involve regular moisturizing with hypoallergenic creams, such as those containing shea butter or ceramides. In more severe cases, a dermatologist may recommend a prescription-strength hydrocortisone cream to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. Additionally, it’s important to keep the area clean and dry to prevent moisture build-up, which can exacerbate the condition.

Why Skin Cracks Behind the Ear?

The skin behind our ears is delicate and sensitive, making it susceptible to various issues. One common cause of cracked skin behind the ear is eczema, an umbrella term for conditions that make the skin red, dry, and itchy. 

  • Atopic eczema can lead to painful cracks, itchiness, and redness behind the ear. Allergens in the environment can also trigger this condition.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis is another culprit. This condition occurs due to an overgrowth of yeast on the skin and often affects the ear canal and the area behind the ear. The excess yeast causes inflammation, leading to dry, flaky patches of skin. It can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to manage the affected areas.

Understanding the root cause of your skin issue is crucial for effective treatment.

  • In addition to these conditions, psoriasis can contribute to cracked skin behind the ear. Psoriasis causes an increased production of skin cells, leading to thick, silvery scales on the skin. When this occurs behind the ear, it can result in cracking and discomfort.
  • Allergic reactions are also significant contributors to this issue. Reactions to certain hair products, jewelry, or environmental factors can lead to skin irritation and subsequent cracking. Identifying potential allergens is critical to managing symptoms.

Recognizing Symptoms

When identifying cracked skin behind the ear, paying attention to the signs and symptoms is essential for timely treatment. The skin in this area is delicate, and any issues can cause much discomfort. The most telling symptoms of cracked skin behind the ear include:

ItchingIt’s not just an itch that can be ignored—this itchiness can bother you. Often, it’s one of the earliest signs that something is wrong with your skin.
RednessWhen the skin becomes red and irritated, it’s a clear sign of inflammation. This redness can result from the skin being dry and flaky, causing irritation.
Flaking or Peeling SkinYou may notice tiny flakes on your shoulders or collar after scratching, indicating dry, flaky skin.
Pain or TendernessAny discomfort in this area should not be dismissed. If the cracked skin starts to hurt, it’s likely getting worse.
SwellingSwelling in this area is also a sign that something isn’t right. Redness, itching, and swelling might indicate an allergic reaction or an infection.
Bleeding or Oozing of Clear FluidIn severe cases, the skin might crack enough to bleed or ooze clear fluid. This signifies more extensive damage and requires immediate attention to prevent infections.

These symptoms may vary in intensity depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Paying attention to these signs and seeking medical advice promptly for proper diagnosis and treatment is important. Left untreated, cracked skin behind the ear can lead to complications such as infections and prolonged discomfort.

Lotion for your Dry Skin

At-Home Remedies for Healing

A gentle approach is key when treating cracked skin behind the ear at home. The delicate skin in this area requires tender care to promote healing and prevent further irritation.

Gentle Cleansing

First, opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Look for products containing colloidal oatmeal, known for its soothing properties, to effectively cleanse the area without causing additional irritation.

Remember: Avoid using harsh soaps or cleansers with strong fragrances, as these can further irritate the sensitive skin behind the ear.


After cleansing, it’s important to moisturize the affected area to aid in repairing the skin barrier and preventing further cracking. Look for hypoallergenic moisturizers or healing creams containing ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter, known for their hydrating and skin-repairing properties.

Pro Tip: Applying moisturizer to damp skin can lock in moisture more effectively.

Warm Compress

In addition to gentle cleansing and moisturizing, a warm compress can be incredibly soothing for cracked skin behind the ear. Simply soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring out the excess liquid, and then apply it to the affected area for a few minutes. The warmth from the compress can help alleviate discomfort and promote faster healing by improving blood circulation in the area.

The gentle heat from the warm compress can also help soften any crusts or scabs that may have formed, making them easier to remove without causing further damage to the skin. It’s important to use a mild temperature for the compress to avoid burning or aggravating the delicate skin behind the ear.

Emerging Medical Treatments

If you’ve exhausted home remedies like coconut oil, but your cracked skin behind the ear still won’t heal, it’s time to consider medical treatments. When over-the-counter products fall short, it might be time to consult your dermatologist for professional advice and prescription medications targeting the root cause.

  • One of the most common prescription treatments for eczema-related cracking is topical corticosteroids. These anti-inflammatory creams or ointments help reduce redness, swelling, and itching. Your dermatologist will recommend a specific type and strength based on the severity of your condition.
  • Another category of medication that may be used is calcineurin inhibitors, which can reduce inflammation and relieve itchiness without using corticosteroids. They target the immune system cells involved in eczema, providing an alternative for those who cannot use or do not respond well to corticosteroids.
  • In cases where an underlying fungal infection contributes to the cracked skin, antifungal creams may be prescribed. These help eliminate the fungus causing the issue, thereby addressing one of the potential triggers of the cracking.

It’s important to remember that these medical treatments should always be used as directed by a healthcare professional. The right treatment plan will depend on your specific condition—so it’s crucial to consult a dermatologist who can provide personalized recommendations tailored to your needs.

Preventative Measures for Recurrence

Preventing the recurrence of cracked skin behind the ear often involves identifying and addressing triggers contributing to the condition. Allergens or irritants, such as certain skincare products, jewelry, or environmental factors, can exacerbate the dryness and cracking. It’s essential to take note of these triggers and make the necessary adjustments to reduce exposure.

  • For those prone to allergic reactions or sensitivity to certain substances, it may be helpful to undergo allergy testing to pinpoint specific triggers. Once identified, avoiding these allergens becomes easier, reducing flare-ups and discomfort. This not only reduces the risk of recurrence but also helps in improving overall skin health.
  • In addition to identifying and avoiding potential triggers, a regular skincare routine is crucial in maintaining healthy skin behind the ears and preventing dryness and cracking from resurfacing.
  • Regular moisturizing is vital in preserving the skin’s natural moisture barrier and preventing dehydration that can lead to cracking. A consistent skincare routine should include gentle cleansing methods and a high-quality moisturizer. The moisturizer should be fragrance-free and specifically formulated for sensitive or dry skin.
  • Aside from skincare products, protecting the skin behind the ear from harsh environmental factors is essential for preventing recurrence. Exposure to extreme weather conditions like cold winds can aggravate skin sensitivity and increase dryness and discomfort.

Implementing these preventative measures ultimately creates a holistic approach toward managing cracked skin behind the ear. By proactively identifying triggers, establishing a consistent skincare routine, and protecting the affected area from environmental factors, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of recurrence and maintain healthier, more resilient skin.

Contextualizing Cracked Skin: Severity and Implications

Understanding the severity of the condition is crucial for effectively managing cracked skin behind the ear. The severity levels can range from mild discomfort to more serious health concerns, impacting overall skin health and quality of life.

  • Severity Levels:
    • Mild cases may cause minimal discomfort and redness.
    • Moderate cases often involve increased discomfort, potential inflammation, and itching.
    • Severe cases can lead to prolonged discomfort, pain, and even difficulty sleeping.

Cracked skin increases the risk of infection due to the compromised skin barrier. This can lead to secondary bacterial or fungal infections, causing additional discomfort and potentially scarring. Moreover, prolonged inflammation and discomfort from untreated cracked skin can harm your overall well-being.

If you are experiencing discomfort due to cracked skin behind the ears, consider seeking medical advice and exploring various treatment options for relief. Visit Cutemol Emollient Cream for Severe Dry Skin for a potential solution.