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Scabs Behind, Inside Ear Canal and on Earlobe Cause and Treatments


Many people have experienced a scab in the ear. Although this is thought to be normal, those that won’t go away are in most cases disturbing.

Psoriasis ear scabs
Psoriasis behind an ear

You shouldn’t get worried as this might be a symptom of a mild infection. However, if the scabs are crusty and recurring, then, you should consider seeing an ENT specialist. This condition is deemed to be critical, especially if they come along with blood and pain.

They are mainly found in the canal, earlobe or behind the ears. In other instances, you might get them if you recently had a piercing.

Why are they a concern to many people? You will attest to the fact they cause a lot of discomfort to the affected individuals. Also, the appearance of the scab, i.e., color and location, is not pleasant either.

Sometimes, they might come along with persistent itching, and make the skin around the affected area to be scary. 

If you wonder why scabs in ear won’t heal, or what causes them. There are many causes. We will discuss them. 

When should you consider the condition dangerous? When should you see an ENT specialist? You should only it worrying if they won’t heal after two weeks or they cause a lot of discomfort or pain. 


As noted by, their presence might be an indication of mild or severe health condition. However, you need to know their causes before looking for treatments and remedies.

There are many possible causes and while some of them are worrying, others are minor and shouldn’t cause any alarm. You should only get bothered if they are painful, persistent and recurrent. Scabs in ears are believed to be caused by the following factors:

1. Psoriasis

According to Mayo Clinic, this condition can affect any part of the skin, including the various parts of your ears such as on the inside and at the back. If you have this medical condition, the cells in the affected areas will build up rapidly, especially on the surface.

Due to this rapid production of cells, you are likely to have excess cells which then form red patches and scales. This scaling results to scabs.

The scales are rough and red, and at times whitish. They are, in most cases, itchy. The itching is the primary cause of discomfort and pain

2. Cancer

Secondly, they can be a symptom of ear cancer. If this is the case, then consider seeking immediate medical attention. For this type of cancer, notes it is common in the outer lobe.

It can also occur in the canal.  Its primary symptom is the presence of scabs on the affected area.

It often manifests itself through a vast scabbed area that is usually irregular and jagged. In other instances, it oozes pus. You may also have a lump or some swelling around your neck.

3. General Infection

If you are having this problem, then consider checking if it’s as a result of an infection in the ear canal. Sometimes, zits and pimples in this areas can get infected and cause scabbing.

If you are having cystic acne, then scabbing is much more possible and the affected areas red and inflamed [].

4. Otitis Externa

Have you ever heard of otitis externa? This is an infection that involves the canal. It is characterized by scabbing among other symptoms. The infection starts from the external ear to the eardrum [].

Otitis Externa
Otitis externa

Otitis externa results from prolonged exposure to dust and dirty water. People who frequently swim are the primary victims of this condition. Their outer areas often become inflamed and scabbed.

If you have scabs, then check the following additional symptoms to determine if your condition is otitis externa:

  • You experience severe itching, especially on the scabbed surface
  • Canal swelling
  • You might see some watery discharge
  • Note if the discharge smells
  • In some occasions, one feels severe pain
  • You might have difficulties in hearing
  • The neck glands become enlarged

An Allergic Reaction from Earring or Piercing

If you have recently pierced your ears, then you might see some scabs while healing or if you develop an infection after piercing. notes that some people fail to clean the piercing well. This harbors some bacteria and fungi. Consequently, scabbing occurs [].

When should you see a doctor regarding this type of infection? Usually,  the problem will resolve or disappear on its own. If they go within a few days, then you should seek medical help.

6. Yeast or Bacterial Infection

Scabbing can be a symptom of yeast or bacterial infection. The affected areas will become scary and rough. In short, your ears become crusty. The scabs are characterized with severe itching.

Yeast and bacterial infections can extend into the canal, thus causing damage inside your canal. Within this context, consider using topical antibiotics to heal the scabs if they don’t disappear on their own within a few days.

There are other possible causes including trauma, sunburn, etc.

Trauma on ears
Scabs due to trauma

How do you treat them?

Having scabs on earlobe, cartilage, canal, behind or in the ear fold, is nothing anyone wants to see. 

However, you don’t have to worry. if they won’t disappear on their own. Depending on what is making them scabby, you can always opt for the various remedies and treatments. notes that scabs in ears are manageable and treatable. Some of the existing treatment options include:

  • Use prescription medication for severe cases. If they are as a result of psoriasis, you should go to the hospital and get prescription medication. Topical ointments and antibiotics might be all that you need. You may also get itching relievers in cases where itching is extreme.
  • Don’t touch the scab. In most cases, the scabs dry up and fall on their own. Before seeking medical attention, observe the scabbed region for a few days. Within a week or so, the scabs fall off. Tampering with them might worsen the infection.
  • Surgery: This is mainly applicable when they are in the canal. Many doctors may fear that the infection might spread to the eardrum. In other instances, they cause swelling that block the ear canal.
  • Specialized care. If they are cancerous, then you might need specialized care such as chemotherapy. In this case, don’t tamper with the scabs as cancerous cells might be transferred to other body parts.
Citations and references

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