ZocdocAnswersWhat should I do for the scaly skin appearing behind my ears?

Question

What should I do for the scaly skin appearing behind my ears?

I'm an 18 year old male. I've had this problem for the past few days. I only recall it occurring once or twice when I was much younger. There is a yellowish, scaly skin forming behind my ears. Some of it flakes off occasionally, but there is no bleeding. It doesn't seem to be spreading, but isn't diminishing either. Is this something I should be concerned about or should I just wait for it to go away?

Answer

One possibility is that you have had an allergic or contact reaction to some product that you have come in contact with. Typically this would be a new brand of soap, shampoo, or other personal care product. If you can identify any recent change like this then obviously part of treating it would be to stop this product. You could also control the inflammation and itching with a small amount of over the counter topical steroid cream. The other possibility is seborrheic dermatitis, which is an inflammation of oil producing regions of the skin such as the scalp, hairline, facial creases, and behind the ears. It can be quite itchy and often produces the scaly areas like those you have noticed. Mild cases can be treated just with applying an anti dandruff shampoo, but many cases respond well to over the counter steroid or anti fungal creams. If the symptoms worsen or spread, you should definitely talk to your primary care doctor. They will be able to make a firm diagnosis for you and, based on what they find, help you decide what is the best treatment course. Sometimes, for example, more persistent skin inflammation requires prescription strength steroid creams.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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