Some people will get crusty ears after wearing earrings; others don’t.
If you are one to get crusty ears after wearing earrings for some time, you may be questioning most of the choices you have made over the years, and you may even give up wearing earrings completely.
But before you give up accessorizing with all those hoops, pearls, and even single earrings, let’s take a look at why your ears become crusty after looking elegant in those earrings you recently purchased, what it means to have crusty ears, and most importantly how to do deal with crusty ears and to avoid their reoccurrence.
Crusty Ears – What is it?
Crusty ears, as the name suggests, refers to a skin condition that causes the flaking of the skin, often on your face or ears, forming thick layers of old skin or scales on the skin.
To understand what it means to have crusty ears and how to deal with this annoying, irritating, and often embarrassing problem, let’s first look at the meaning of crusty ears.
Crusty or dry ears is a skin condition that manifests as dry, irritated, or itchy skin.
It could be caused by different reasons, including change in the environment, which results in the drying out of the skin, changes in the skin barriers, and, most often, allergic reactions.
If, for example, you are allergic to nickel, the chances of developing crusty ears will be exponentially high.
It’s also common to notice the crusty buildup around your pierced ears soon after getting your ears pierced.
But if you notice the crusty buildup after your piercing heals, it would mean that there is something wrong that calls for your immediate attention.
Why are my ears crusty after wearing earrings?
From the information above, it is clear that crusty ears often result from a number of different causes.
So, before you write off and scare yourself off thinking that you have some sort of ear infection, it would be wise to first figure out the reason for the crustiness.
Here are 5 reasons.
1. Crustiness on healing ear piercing
If you just had your ears pierced, you might notice some crustiness around the piercing. Often, this happens as the piercing heals.
The good news is that crusting is quite common after getting a body piercing, and it’s the result of your body’s natural healing process.
This crusting is the result of the dead blood cells and plasma drying out when exposed to the air – these body fluids will always make their way to the surface during healing.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore that crust – you need to carefully clean out the crusties every time you notice their buildup.
The crusting will reduce gradually as the piercing heals, disappearing completely after some weeks.
Unfortunately, there are numerous cases where your crusty ears are the result of an allergic reaction.
If the earrings you wear are made of cheap and unsafe materials like nickel, the likelihood of allergies is quite high, and you could easily end up with crusty ears.
Most of the cheap earrings on the market will cause skin allergies, which is why you need to opt for high-quality earrings made of nickel-free gold or silver, surgical stainless steel, rhodium-plated earrings, platinum, silicon, or titanium earrings.
3. Bacteria buildup
The other cause of crusty ears is bacteria buildup around the ears, something that could result in a bad infection if it isn’t treated soon enough.
You can tell when you have an infection if the crusty bit of the ear has some color changes and appears yellowish.
The good news is that you can deal with this and control the infection by disinfecting the earring hole as directed by the piercer.
4. Seborrheic Dermatitis
Besides the normal healing processes, bacterial buildup, or allergies, the other common cause of crusty ears is a stubborn skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis.
Though harmless, it is a stubborn and annoying skin condition that causes drying of the affected area on the skin, leaving you with dry and flaky patches around the ears (it might also affect your eyebrows).
It results from the overgrowth of a specific type of yeast, Pityrosporum ovale, a naturally occurring in some healthy individuals’ skin.
Often, changes in body chemistry results in the rapid multiplication of the yeast, hence irritated skin and the subsequent dry, flaky, or crusty skin in the affected areas.
Note that this condition gets its name from the fact that the yeast feed on sebum from the skin.
5. Ear Eczema
Last on the causes of crusty ears is ear eczema. While eczema is one of those skin conditions that affects most people and can appear on any part of the body, including the outside and even the inside of the ear canal.
For persons with eczema, they will notice dry and flaky skin around or in the ears. Eczema triggers include metal jewelry or beauty products, and if untreated, the crustiness on and in the ear could lead to inflammations and infection of the ear canal.
So, if you have crusty ears and know that you have struggled with eczema in the past, you might want to look for the appropriate preventive or treatment medication.
Crusty ears? Here are the solutions
- Clean the healing ear piercing as directed, and use a gently antiseptic to prevent further harm while lowering the risk of infections.
- If you suspect that you have seborrheic dermatitis, you should clean the area with warm soapy water; the apply a cortisone cream. There also are shampoos recommended for cleaning out the dry, flaky skin.
- Avoid jewelry with nickel or any other metals you could be allergic to. Opt for metal jewelry made of safe metals like titanium, surgical stainless steel, rhodium-plated gold, and basically, any nickel-free earrings.
- Go to your doctor or the piercer if the crusties turn yellow or if there is oozing.
- Change the products you use on the ears and around the pierced area.
Crusty ears are nightmarish, and if you don’t know what the cause is, you could be scared out of your mind.
But for the most part, crusty ears are commonly the result of skin allergies to metals. In some cases, the crustiness is part of the normal healing process for healing ear piercings.
With changes in the skin-barrier, a big cause of the crusty ears, which could be an unavoidable thing when you wear earrings, you should work on making sure that you only use the safest skin products and jewelry.
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Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.