Rash behind ear: 13 must-know Causes and Treatments

Rash behind ear can be caused by myriad medical problems ranging from minor skin diseases and viral infections to immune system disorders or autoimmune disorders. Some of these conditions are not very harmful, while others need immediate medical attention. In this article, let us discuss all such causes of rash behind ear and their treatments or remedies.

Rash behind ear Causes:

rash behind ear
Rash behind ear
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Rash behind ear can occur due to various reasons. Most of the below-mentioned causes are for rash behind ear in adults. Few causes like Intertrigo and Hand foot and mouth disease cause rash behind ear in small kids and infants less than 1 year of age.

Granuloma Annulare:

It is also known by the name of Lichen Annularis. It is a long-standing or chronic skin disorder that causes skin degeneration. The rashes that are seen in this condition are ring-like in structure. It has small red or yellow coloured bumps or nodules which are arranged in a ring-like manner.

The rashes in Granuloma annulare are mostly seen on hands and feet. But, occasionally they can also appear on the neck, face and also cause rash behind ear. Mostly these rashes resolve on their own but sometimes may need treatment with medicines like Dapsone and Isotretinoin.

Contact Dermatitis:

Contact dermatitis occurs when you start using any product like cosmetic, creams, perfumes or jewellery or soaps to which you are allergic. When you use anything which you are allergic to, skin gets irritated and develops inflammation.

Then the skin becomes red, flaky, itchy. If you happen to use any cream or perfume behind the ear or any soap or ear jewellery that you are allergic to, it might manifest as a rash behind ear. You need to stop using the products that you are allergic to and might need to use steroid creams and antihistamine tablets according to the prescription of a doctor.

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Seborrheic Dermatitis:

We all might have experienced dandruff on our scalp at some point in our life. But, we don’t know what’s it called medically. Well, seborrheic dermatitis is the medical word for dandruff. It’s also called cradle cap.

In this condition, the skin on our scalp will form large crusts of white or yellow colour, then we can see flaking of these crusts which we call dandruff. We can also have itching of the scalp due to dandruff. It can also affect skin behind the ear and can cause flaking of skin and rash behind ear.

Atopic Dermatitis:

It is also known as Eczema. The exact cause of Eczema is not known, but it is thought to be due to some form of the hyperactive immune system. In short, it is a skin disorder caused by immune system hyperactivity to certain allergens.

This condition causes redness, itching, inflammation of the affected skin. It can affect any part of the body and can also cause itching, redness and rash behind ear.

Scalp Psoriasis:

Psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system and it’s a type of autoimmune disorder in which our immune system affects or attacks the parts of our own body. Scalp Psoriasis is a form of Psoriasis and it predominantly affects the scalp, upper part of the face, behind the ears and the neck.

In the scalp Psoriasis, there are red rashes with itching and silvery scales on the rash in the affected regions. So, scalp Psoriasis can cause rash behind ear which appears with redness and silvery scales on it.

Fungal infections:

Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that can affect the skin on any part of the body. It can also cause rash behind ear. This rash appears like a ring behind the ear. It causes redness, intense itching and may also cause scaling of the skin behind the ear.

Lichen Planus:

Lichen Planus is also a type of autoimmune disorder. Various factors might contribute to its development like stress, environmental factors, medicines side effects, infections and injuries. It can affect various parts of the body like the mouth, nails, etc.

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When Lichen Planus affects the ear it is called Otic Lichen Planus. It can cause various symptoms like rash behind ear, discharge from the ears, pain in the ears or Otalgia, tinnitus or ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears.

Pityriasis Rosea:

It is a rash caused by viruses and it lasts for about 1.5 to 3 months. The rashes are mainly seen on the trunk including the abdomen and back, mainly in young adults. It can also cause rashes behind ear. It has one central main red lesion called herald patch surrounded by several oval red rashes or lesions.

It is mostly caused by herpes viruses. It can reoccur later in some people. It may need treatment with antiviral medicines.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:

It is also known by the name SLE or Lupus. It is an autoimmune disorder that affects multiple organs including the heart, lungs, joints, eyes, skin, etc. It is most commonly seen in young women. It can cause many skin manifestations like butterfly rash or malar rash on the face, rash behind ear, etc. But, skin symptoms are not seen in all people suffering from Lupus or SLE.


Measles is a viral infection caused by a virus called Rubeola. The rash in Measles starts as rash behind ear and face and then spreads downwards towards the trunk, arms and legs. It also causes other symptoms like redness of eyes or conjunctivitis, cough, runny nose or coryza, and some spots called koplik spots in the mouth.

It can lead to complications in some people. Some such complications which can occur in people suffering from Measles are Pneumonia or lung inflammation, Encephalitis or brain inflammation, etc.


Rubella is a viral infection which is known as German Measles too. It mostly affects kids who are not vaccinated. It causes many symptoms like cough, cold or runny nose, headache, fever and swelling of the lymph nodes and sore throat. People with Rubella also develop rash behind ear and on the face which spreads to other parts of the body later.

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Causes of rash behind ear in small kids and infants:


Intertrigo is the inflammation of the skin folds like those between thighs, behind ears, elbow and knee flexures, etc. It is usually caused by skin folds due to being moist, hot and as they might lack proper air circulation. It can have superimposed fungal infection and further aggravate the problem. It is generally seen in small kids and infants.

Hand Foot and Mouth disease:

It is a viral infection seen in kids. It mainly causes blisters or red rashes on hands, feet, inside the mouth. It can also cause rash behind ear. It is spread in kids when they go together for daycare or to preschools. The affected kids can also have a cold, cough, sore throat, etc.

How to get rid of rash behind ear/ Rash behind ear Treatments:

We have already learnt that rash behind ear can be caused by many different causes. So, the treatment to get rid of rash behind ear also depends on the cause.

If it’s caused by viral infections like measles or Rubella, it’s mostly self-limiting and resolves on its own. But, you can take vitamin supplements like vitamin C and Multivitamin to enhance the immune system and help to clear the infections fast. You also need to keep yourself hydrated and take plenty of rest.

If rash behind ear is caused by conditions like atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis or contact dermatitis or scalp psoriasis, your doctor might prescribe steroid creams to help in reducing the inflammation and antihistamine tablets to help in reducing the itching. If the rash is very severe, he might even give corticosteroid tablets. To prevent and reduce Contact Dermatitis rashes, you need to avoid the products to which you are allergic.

If the rash is caused by fungal infections, then you might need to take antifungal medicines like ketoconazole, Itraconazole or Fluconazole or Terbinafine based on the advice and Prescription of your doctor.

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