Rash behind Ear: 10 Possible Causes and Home Remedies

Rash behind ear

A rash behind the ear can be concerning. Some rashes come and go, while others are more permanent. A rash can develop on one ear or both. A rash behind the ear and at the back of the neck can appear irritated, red, and swollen. If these outbreaks are not treated properly, they can form blisters.

This type of rash happens because of the moisture that settles in the ear fold. One primary cause of this outbreak is a fungal skin infection behind the ear. This article explores more on what causes rash behind the ear and some home remedies to try before seeking medical attention.

Related Reading:  Lump in Earlobe: Common Causes and Treatments

Symptoms Associated with Rash behind Ear

Various health concerns cause rash behind the ear. Each cause produces different symptoms than the other.

Here are some common symptoms:

  • Bumpy Rash
  • Headaches
  • Itchy bumps behind the ear
  • Peeling of skin behind the ear
  • Redness of skin behind the ear
  • Swollen lymph nodes behind the ear

Most of the time, these symptoms go away or heal on their own. It takes about a week for the itchy, rash behind ear to go away with medication. If not, a dermatologist should check the rash to determine the cause. There is a possibility that the rash could be due to an infection or another health condition that needs to be rectified promptly.

What Causes Rash behind Ear?

There are many skin conditions and other variables that cause rash behind the ear.  Other variables include environmental factors and bug bites. Here are ten common rash behind the ear causes:

1. Atopic Dermatitis

This type of dermatitis is also called eczema. Characteristics of eczema include dry, itchy skin that is inflamed and swollen. Some cases even reported painfulness. The rash becomes a cluster of blisters if it is not treated. Although adults can have eczema, it’s more common in children. The cause of eczema is environmental and genetic factors, such as allergens and asthma.

2. Contact Dermatitis

The difference between atopic and contact dermatitis is skin irritation that happens when it makes contact with an irritant, like an allergy to a laundry detergent, hair dye, or a particular metal in jewelry.

The immune system may react abnormally react to the allergens resulting in allergic contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis can also occur with occupational exposure to a material. The characteristics are the same as the atopic version.

3. Skin Infections

Skin infections can cause rash behind ear. A common infection associated with the rash is scalp ringworm, which is caused by fungi called dermatophytes. The rash makes the skin dry and scaly with red, itchy rings. It is contagious and can cause a significant amount of pain and red blisters.

4. Hives

Hives are also called nettle rash and are caused due to cold or flu. Other causes include weather change and food allergies. Hives on children can grow up to two cm in diameter. Symptoms of hives are red or white skin, itchiness, and rash. It can go away on its own in a few hours to a few days.

5. Heat or Baby Rash

Infants, toddlers, and children are prone to rashes. Newborn babies develop red rash behind ear.  Heat rash is caused by keeping the baby too warm.

6. Bug Bites

Bug bites from mosquitoes, lice, or bedbugs can cause a rash. Bites happen behind the ear due to that area’s warm and soft nature. Bug bites can get infected if the bump is scratched.

Related Reading: Wolf Spider Bite: Symptoms and Natural Treatments

7. Dry skin

People who have dry skin issues are more prone to infections because of the skin’s vulnerability. The area behind the ear is the affected the most. Hydration is a way to prevent dry skin, as well as moisturize it.

8. Swimming

Swimming is another cause of rash behind ear, but it depends on the person’s skin type. Swimmer’s ear can cause a rash around the ear. It is suggested to talk to a dermatologist if rashes happen after swimming. Treatments include antibiotics and antifungal medicines.

9. Yeast Infection

Skin does have an average amount of yeast to function. It becomes a problem is there is excess yeast or an overproduction of it. A reaction to an excess of yeast is rash or scaly skin with yellow pus. It can happen in both children and adults.

10. Lyme Disease

This disease causes a rash from a tick bite. Ticks are found in rural areas where farming is done. A primary tick bite characteristic is a red ring shape at the area of the bite. The rash does spread rapidly and requires immediate medical treatment.

Related Reading: How to Identify and Treat Gnat Bites?

Home Remedies for Rash behind Ear

Mostly, rash behind ear is harmless and not life-threatening. These types of rash can be treated using home remedies. The remedies mentioned below can relieve itching, irritation, and inflammation. These treatments can speed up the healing process as well.

1. Scrubbing the Area with Thin, Fiber Washcloth

A thin, fiber washcloth should be used every day on the rash.

  • Soften the crust and skin by wetting the rash area
  • Press the crease behind the ear with the washcloth
  • Scrub the crust and scales vigorously
  • Pat dry with a clean towel
  • Apply medicated cream
  • Cool, damp washcloth

A cool, damp washcloth helps alleviate irritation and itching. It also cools down fever, which is the cause of the irritation.

2. Clothing

Dress in material that can absorb sweat. An example of such material is cotton. Cotton helps keep moisture in and prevents the rash from further irritation.

3. Nails and Hygiene

Keeping nails short is suggested, especially for children. Children tend to scratch the rash area since it seems like the only option. cratching the area leaves it vulnerable to infections. Nails tend to have germs and dirt which can get into the crevices of the rash. When it comes to healing the rash, it is vital to keep bacterial or fungal infections away from the area.

4. Household Products

Allergens can cause rash behind ear. If a home product, such as laundry detergent is suspect, switch to a mild version of that product. Products that are mild tend to have less harsh chemicals in them.

Replace the hair dye with a natural dye. Natural dye is a better option because it does not contain human-made chemicals. If the rash is caused by a specific metal in jewelry, you should remove the jewelry.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil works on rashes that are caused by a fungal infection. It should be diluted before applying to affected area. Here are the steps to dilute the oil:

  • Put a small amount of tea tree oil in a container.
  • Mix an equal portion amount of olive oil with the tea tree oil.
  • Gently apply it to the rash, and let it settle.

These are some home remedies to try before seeking help from a dermatologist for rash behind ear. Before trying a remedy, it is best to figure out the cause of the rash too. Figuring out the cause of the rash does not only help align a proper home remedy. It helps prevents the rash from recurring in future.

Read Next:

Lockhart, T., “Rash Behind the Ear: 5 Causes and Treatments,” Doctors Health Press web site, Jan 27, 2017; https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/skin-care-articles/rash-behind-the-ear-5-causes-and-treatments/.
“Rash Behind Ear and Neck, Itchy, Bumpy, Pictures, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment,” Healthmds web site; http://www.healthmds.org/ear/ear-rash/rash-behind-ear-neck-itchy-bumpy-pictures-shingles-hives-child-baby-rash-seborrheic-dermatitis-causes-symptoms-treat/, last accessed October 30, 2017.
Alexandra, “Rash Behind Ear, Neck, Causes, Itchy, Symptoms, Pictures, Small Bumpy Rash on Child, Heat Rash, Not Itchy, Get Rid Treat, Home Remedies,” How to Cure web site; http://howtocure.org/rash-behind-ear/rash-behind-ear-and-neck-causes-symptoms-itchy-bumpy-rash-on-child-adult-get-rid-treatment-home-remedies/, last accessed October 30, 2017.

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Irene Entila

Irene is a health and fitness consultant based out of Albuquerque, NM. She was a personal trainer during the years of 2010-2013. She holds a Bachelors of Liberal Arts with a focus on creative writing from The Evergreen State College. She obtained her personal trainer license through Seattle Central College in 2010. Irene has been an athlete since childhood. She currently train and compete in ultra-marathon running and jiu jitsu. She started health writing in 2009 as a hobby through her personal blog. She believes that people can seek help from a trainer or trained profession to reach fitness and health goals. Though, people can learn a lot about them and promote self-sufficiency if they had affordable resources. By 2010, Irene started contributing to several health websites while completing her personal trainer certification and training for marathons. She saw how certain health variables affected her training and wanted to share this information with the public. Since then, Irene has written various articles about health and fitness featured on different magazines.