Psoriasis in the Ears

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes dead skin cells to build up on the surface of your skin. Symptoms can affect the skin inside, on and around your ears, and anywhere on your body. Dead skin cells inside of your ear canal can cause hearing loss. Treatment is available to prevent hearing loss and help manage symptoms.


What is psoriasis in the ears?

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that affects the skin on your body, including on, around and inside of your ears. It occurs as a result of an overactive immune system. Symptoms of psoriasis in your ears look like a patch of itchy, scaly and discolored skin, which is called a plaque. Psoriasis in your ear can affect your:

  • Ear folds.
  • Ear lobe.
  • Inner ear (ear canal).
  • Scalp.

What types of psoriasis affect my ears?

There are different types of psoriasis that cause similar symptoms. Some of the most common types of psoriasis that affect the ears include:

  • Plaque psoriasis: Plaque psoriasis causes thick, scaly patches of skin inside or on your ears.
  • Inverse psoriasis: Inverse psoriasis causes plaques in the folds of your ears.
  • Sebopsoriasis: Sebopsoriasis causes greasy bumps and yellow, scaly plaques on the skin of your ears. This is a cross between psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.


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Who does psoriasis in the ears affect?

Psoriasis in the ears affects people diagnosed with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a common skin condition that affects millions of people in the United States each year.

Is psoriasis common in your ears?

Psoriasis symptoms in the ears aren’t common. It’s more common to have psoriasis on the skin on your arms and legs rather than on or inside of your ears. Even though it’s rare to form on your ears, symptoms can flare up anywhere on the skin of your body.


What’s the difference between psoriasis and eczema in the ears?

Psoriasis and eczema are both skin conditions that can affect the skin in your ears. A healthcare provider will be able to identify the difference between psoriasis and eczema based on your symptoms. The main difference is that psoriasis causes scales and flaky skin and ear eczema causes small bumps and dry skin. It’s possible to have both psoriasis and eczema.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of psoriasis in the ears?

Symptoms of psoriasis in the ears include:

If scales build up in your ear canal, they can block it, which can affect your hearing and cause pain and discomfort. You might also experience weeping psoriasis, which occurs as a result of a skin infection. This can cause painful oozing and crusting around the plaque on your skin.


What causes psoriasis in the ears?

An overactive immune system that creates a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin causes psoriasis in your ears. Your immune system keeps your body healthy by preventing foreign invaders like bacteria from harming your cells. During a flare-up of psoriasis symptoms, your immune system targets your healthy skin cells and mistakes them for a foreign invader. This causes your cells to copy and replace themselves too soon. As a result, these dead skin cells rise to the surface of your skin and cause symptoms of psoriasis.

Can psoriasis in the ears cause hearing loss?

A buildup of dead skin cells can collect in your ear and block your ear canal. This can cause hearing loss.

Additionally, psoriatic arthritis, which is a type of psoriasis, can target your inner ear and cause hearing loss and potential side effects like:

Diagnosis and Tests

How is psoriasis in the ears diagnosed?

A healthcare provider or a dermatologist will diagnose psoriasis in the ears. The provider will examine your skin and review your complete medical history. Psoriasis can run in families, so your provider might ask questions about your biological family’s medical history. A physical exam usually leads to an accurate diagnosis, but your symptoms can look similar to other skin conditions. Tests are available to rule out other conditions or to confirm a diagnosis via a skin biopsy.

If psoriasis in the ears affects your hearing, you may need to visit an ear, nose and throat specialist.

Management and Treatment

How do I get rid of psoriasis in my ears?

Treatment for psoriasis in your ears focuses on relieving your symptoms and preventing scales from building up in your ear canal, which can lead to hearing loss. It can be challenging to treat psoriasis in your ears, as your skin is sensitive. Treatment for psoriasis could include:

  • Topical creams or ointments.
  • Phototherapy.
  • Oral medications.
  • Biological treatments.

Are there side effects of the treatment?

It’s important that you don’t stick anything in your ears if you have psoriasis in your ears. This could include cotton swabs or your fingers. Your affected skin can flake off and fall into your ear canal, which can get stuck and cause hearing loss. A healthcare provider will give you instructions and tips on how you can manage the symptoms in your ears to prevent complications.

How soon after treatment will I feel better?

You may feel relief from itchiness or discomfort shortly after you begin treatment. It can take several weeks for your psoriasis symptoms to clear up completely, but they should start to fade within days of starting topical treatments or medications. If you’re concerned about how your body is recovering from a psoriasis flare-up, talk to your healthcare provider.


How can I prevent psoriasis in the ears?

You can’t prevent psoriasis in the ears, but you can reduce your risk of developing a flare-up of symptoms by:

  • Not using cotton swabs to clean your ears.
  • Washing the skin of your ears daily and applying a gentle moisturizer to the outside of your ears. Don’t place any moisturizers or soaps into your ear or in your ear canal.
  • Identifying what triggers your symptoms to flare up and try to avoid those triggers (like sun exposure, stress, etc.).

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have psoriasis in the ears?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes symptoms to flare up unexpectedly throughout your life. There isn’t a cure for psoriasis, but treatments are available to help you manage your symptoms.

Some people diagnosed with psoriasis feel uncomfortable when symptoms affect their face, ears, neck and scalp, as they’re highly visible and hard to hide under clothing. Talk to a provider about treating your symptoms to help you feel better sooner. If your symptoms flare up frequently in these areas of your body, you might find comfort in visiting a mental health provider to help you improve your self-confidence.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

Visit your healthcare provider if:

  • You have hearing loss or difficulty hearing.
  • You have pain, swelling or fluid oozing out of a patch of psoriasis.
  • You’re concerned about how psoriasis in the ear affects your appearance.
  • You experience severe pain or itchiness.

What questions should I ask my doctor?

  • What type of psoriasis do I have?
  • Are there side effects to the medication?
  • How should I apply topical creams to my ear?
  • How do I prevent skin flakes from falling into my ear?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

While psoriasis in your ears is rare, psoriasis is a chronic condition and symptoms can unexpectedly affect different parts of your body. If you get symptoms on, inside or around your ear, try your best not to scratch or stick your fingers inside of your ear. This could push dead skin cells into your ear canal and can lead to hearing loss. A healthcare provider will help you manage your symptoms so you can feel better sooner.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 05/01/2023.

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