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weeping and peeling behind the ears
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weeping and peeling behind the ears

For several years now I have had constant fluid weeping and peeling behind both of my ears. The fluid that weeps from the area seems to form a layer of "skin-like" flakes which eventually block/stop the weeping. Eventually this layer builds up enough that it is so annoying that I practically have to peel it off, which then starts the weeping process all over again.

I was prescribed a topical steroid (Cutivate) by a derm and told the condition was likely a form of sebborheic dermatitis. It doesn't seem to respond to anti-fungals like tea trea oil and other prescriptions I have tried so I don't think its a fungus. The only thing it has seemed to respond well to is the steroid which eliminates it for about 3-5 days after which it returns just as severely as before. It is completely painless and not noticeable. It's more of a nuisance than anything else, but it would be great if I could completely rid myself of it.

Sebborheic dermatitis hardly even seems like a diagnosis to me. Its like saying, "sir, you have inflammation of the skin". Which is obvious in and of itself from the outset. If I knew that it was eczema or psoriasis or some other specific condition then I could probably have a better shot at treating/curing it.

I have read that topical steroids eventually lose their effectiveness somehow. I guess the body somehow develops a tolerance due to the repeated use. Any other ideas of what it might be or how I can treat it? Should I just keep using the steroid forever?

Chronic inflammation can lead to skin cancer. If the area really is inflamed I should probably due something about it. Oddly though, the area doesn't really even seem to be inflamed since it doesn't burn or hurt to touch. Still, It seems like I should be doing more about it than just let it be.
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Hello,
Eczema and psoriasis present as red dry patches rather than weeping lesions. Fungal infections are a high possibility. You can get a KOH examination and fungal culture of the fluid done. If it comes positive then you need to use topical and oral antifungals.
It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.

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Dr. Bhupinder Kaur,

Thank you for responding to my post. If my condition is fungal, I am at a loss for what I should use to treat it. At this point it seems like I've tried most of the common anti-fungal shampoos. I've used 2% Nizoral, Loprox 1% (Cicloprox), Tea Tree Oil, Zinc Pyrithione, Coal Tar (Neutragena T-gel). I'm just hoping for some suggestions, so I will be prepared to suggest them to whichever physician I see. Also if it is fungal is it likely that I will have to apply medicines to it for the rest of my life?

Thanks, Andrew
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I have the exact condition. It has not responded to anything I have tried.
It's currently weeping. doctor also thought fungal but cremes did not work.
Also looking for a cure.
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I have had this condition since I was 6 years old. I am now 37. My first diagnosis - not drying behind my ears well enough. Then - allergic reaction to hair products. Then  - fungus. Then -  seborrheic dermatitis. I have used everything. The only time it was ever cleared up was when I was on heavy doses of steroids for another condition. It came back as soon as I went off the steroids. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that there isn't a doctor/dermatologist that knows exactly what it is. I've just accepted it. Certain hair products do cause it to be worse. Some times my ears bleed. I like to wear a ball cap in the summer exposing as much of behind my ears to the sun as possible and use hydrocortisone cream. It doesn't go away completely, but it looks much better.
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Isn't it strange that something like this can't be treated? I wonder if it auto-immune somehow.
Do you have any other dermatologic condition? I also have developed a dermatitis around my eyes. No idea if it is related. I have been tested for allergies and they were negative.

It is WEIRD.

And, for me, it is unsightly, I'm just glad I have long hair, no way I would go around with my ears exposed. It often cracks and is very red and sometimes is bleeding or caked with strange layers of dry skin... NOT attractive.
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Hi, My ears do the exact same thing -- weep, dry up leaving a thin papery skin, itchy, - - I scratch - - weep again.  I have recently been diagnosed with an internal candida overgrowth, which my MD says is causing my rashes (my other rashes are the similar but do not weep), so I am on a candida diet, so I shall see if that helps. It is helping my other rashes.    I have also found that diaper cream helps dry it out.
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I found a cure. Mario Badescu Control Cream. It's a natural anti-inflammatory. WISH doctors would KNOW about it.

GONE in less than 2 weeks. Like it was never there. I've tried everything on it to no avail. This did it. Found it on Amazon. Someone else on one of these forums posted about it working for them and I decided what's one more purchase?

Doctor did patch tests and gave me anti-fungal, hydrocortizone, name it I tried it. Some Soothed some burned some did nothing.

This stuff worked and cured a patch of eczema on my face. And cured my eyelids which have been cracking and peeling.

Worth every penny. Glad I didn't give up.

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Here's what worked for me so far: I washed it with Head and Shoulders during my shower and apply Neosporin on it for several days. You may want to wash and re-apply the Neosporin one more time during the day. It's been several months since I tried that and now it's not as bad. Even thought it seems like it's gone forever, remember to wash it with Head and Shoulders and apply Neosporin at least every other day. If you don't already have Head and Shoulders, maybe you can get a trial/travel size to test. Good luck.
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Provodone iodine works quickly, keep behind ears clean and dry, per usual. it also works on athletes foot. there is a non staining kind you can buy in the drug store
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Sorry, I meant povidone iodine...it does work, on hairline too... I wouldn't get in your eyes tho, make sure to clean your eye wear so as not to reinfect
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DO NOT use this if you are allergic to Iodine or shellfish
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Hi, just wanted to thank you for sharing this information. I went on their website and bought myself a tub, it worked!!  so I recommended to my friend who has really bad eczema , guess what it worked for her too!! Another friend had inflammation on her face from a small Op, I suggested the cream, It also worked on her too!! i AM SO PLEASED I HAVE FINALLY FOUND SOMETHING THAT HELPS!! THANKS A MILLION!
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Mario Badescu Control Cream is dangerous! They've changed the formula. There have been many bad reactions to the new formula and it has been pulled from the shelves.
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I am desperately trying to find this control cream but its gone! Im so tired of having this rash, it is making me self conscious about putting my hair up, and now its behind both ears.  Ive had it for over 10 years, enough is enough!
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Just been reading this thread as I have exactly the same problem. I read on the internet hat Mario Badescu Control Cream in fact contained corticosteroids that were not mentioned on the label so that might be why it worked! It has been discontionued. Has anyone found another solution to this problem without cc or other side effects
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Found this review on Amazon:

UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST (See original post below): Control Cream has been pulled from the market because it is believed that it contained undisclosed corticosteroids. And if you can find someone selling the 'old' formula (pre-March 2013), DO NOT purchase it!!! Or if you are still using the old formula, STOP!! For all of you who are new here and suffering from what you think is a 'reaction' to the 'new formula' (Mario Badescu 'reformulated' Control Cream--i.e., likely removed the working ingredients, the corticosteroids--in Feb/Mar 2013), be aware that you are likely suffering from topical corticosteroid withdrawal (TCW) as it is firmly believed that this very deceitful, unethical company had been adding undisclosed corticosteroids to both its Control Cream and Healing Cream, both of which the company is no longer selling. In short, you have been applying harmful, addictive corticosteroids to your face!!! THIS is why these products worked so very well for your ailments!! BUT corticosteroids are intended to be used for only 14 days maximum! (And some corticosteroids, the ones suspected to have been added to Control Cream and Healing Cream, should NEVER BE APPLIED TO THE FACE!) When used for long periods of time, corticosteroids can cause irreparable damage to the skin. And when corticosteroids are abruptly stopped, the skin will respond most negatively (redness, blistering, burning, stinging, itching, pustules, papules, dryness, etc.), sound familiar? Contact me: RustiRestaino at gmail ******* if you have questions. We got F'd people!! Be sure to report your experience to the FDA through Medwatch. Google FDA Medwatch and report!!
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Yup. Me too. Started at 20 yrs old.  Weeping, crusting.  Not just behind the ears but beside the nose and sometimes over the eyebrows.  A nurse gave me samples of a topical steroid called Halo-G. It worked and it never came back, until a decade later.  The hydrocortisone every day helps but it makes your skin thin. The site gives names of products less strong.  One doctor thought Dawn dishwashing liquid was the way to go. Nope.  Nizerol works for a friend with the same thing, but not for me.  My doctor isn't interested in prescribing Halo-G but that might be the only thing. So what does the internet say?  http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/topical-corticosteroids-for-atopic-dermatitis
WebMD calls it Atopic Dermatitis and suggests Topical Corticosteroids (like hydrocortisone which is too strong for the face,.)  Apply the cream, and moisturize twice a day, once before bedtime. Doesn't sound like a cure, but a daily treatment.
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Thankyou I will try this. I found this conversation because of my search to find an answer for weeping behind they ears that has been happening for the last year. I'd never heard of povidone iodine, but just discovered it as an ingredient of cold sore cream I found in the medicine cabinet.  I hope it works.
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I have discovered that flaking and oozing behind the ears occurs when I eat gluten foods. I normally avoid gluten for many health reasons. However I recently indulged at a party I attended and the oozing and flaking behind the ears started a day or two later. Now I have stopped eating gluten for three days the scale is gradually going away. When I did a google search for oozing and flaking behind the ears and gluten, I found some interesting comments. One said it was common for people with celiac disease. In another comment a mother said her baby had it badly but it disappeared when she took gluten out of the diet. This seems to be the best long term solution I have discovered. I'm sad not to be able to eat gluten without having health problems, but so pleased I have found a solution for this very annoying problem.
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My eight year old son seems to have this problem. At first I thought he wasn't cleaning good behind his ears. It started as just crusting that seemed like dead skin behind the ears. Lately it's gotten worse bad starts to bleed and scab. Yesterday there was a yellowish fluid oozing all over the back of the ear. At first I was just applying neosporin to the open bleeding areas so it wouldn't get infected. Now I'm thinking I need to have this looked into more.
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I have the same problem, rubbed a very little amount of 'betamethasone valerate and neomycin' for two days and it reduced to 90%. Is the cream advisable? Can any doctors confirm?
Is it only me with the same weeping in belly button also?
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^ sorry, i meant reduced 90 percent
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Any updates on a solution to this? I am experiencing the clear fluid from behind my left ear... Its odorless and dries to a tacky/crusty unsightly mess. Could it be lymph fluid?
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Arrion,

You should see a dermatologist and have it diagnosed. It may, very well be a typical/common type of fungal infection/dermatitis of the skin, but it's best to know for sure what you are dealing with before you try to do anything.

At some point, my weeping/crust behind the ears gradually went away and has not returned. Not exactly sure what caused it to end, probably healthier diet and anti-fungal medicines/creams. I've also found that mainly grains (wheat, bread, cereal, etc.), hot sauce (mexican), and peanuts worsen skin inflammation when I have flare ups... Even though I am not truly allergic to these foods. Consider avoiding those foods.

I still have facial dermatitis (seborrheic/fungal), but I have it under control now, using Lotrimin Ultra. Lotrimin Ultra is an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-fungal cream with an active ingredient that most other OTC anti-fungals lack.

Many OTC and prescription anti-fungals lack residual/lasting anti-fungal activity. They only temporarily inhibit or kill fungus. Lotrimin Ultra is one of the very few types that actually have a residual anti-fungal effect. It has worked better for me than anything else I have tried and it does not dry-out or irritate my skin.
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Neosporin is an antibiotic (for bacteria) and is not effective against most fungus infections. If his issue is fungal, then the Neosporin won't have much effect besides possible prevention of bacterial infection. You should consider seeing a dermatologist to get a diagnosis for him.
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My partner has the same condition. He experiences the discharge behind the ears, beside his nostrils and a flaky irritation over his entire back. We have used Tee Tree oil to treat his back with some success, suggesting fungus. He seems to have food intolerances and his face lights up when he eats anything highly processed, containing preservatives or yeast. He was displaying a lactose intolerance until we eliminated grains, yeast and sugar from his diet. Now he can have dairy without a problem. We suspect his is a gut flora issue and definitely diet related as his symptoms always return when his diet isn't right.. He is his own worst enemy, but what can I do. Good luck.
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I have the same skin condition since my early 20's and I am now in my 40's. I started the strict diet for Gout and noticed my skin gets healthier while on the diet. I PH test my urine and when it is acidic my skin issues get worse, but when it is 7 or above my skin is not as bad. How I test if this helps, is when my urine PH is acidic and scratch the flakey skin it then weeps fluid. But when urine is alkaline and scratch off the flakiness, there is no weeping and less flaking occurs. I am still experimenting with food and learning to maintain a alkaline level and it is not easy. I noticed my urine turns alkaline the longer fast and my skin get a lot better, but can only fast for so long. I hope you find the root cause to your problem and not just maintain the symptoms, which I have done for so long.
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So I went to the doctor and they said it was mastoiditis... which I didn't think was the case, put me on antibiotics and cleaned up the area with iodine. The iodine left it clean for a few days with no weeping. As for the antibiotics, they didn't work and it did not turn out to be Mastoiditis.

I have been using hydrocortisone and that does relieve the symptoms and the weeping stops for about a week but inevitably returns after stopping use.
I do tend to eat a lot of whole grains (cereal, bread, bagels) as a daily routine, perhaps ill try cutting them out and update later.

To finding the cure!

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Glad and sad that I'm not the only one with this problem.  Mine started about 7-8 months ago.  It was actually all over my head and my scalp felt tight. Now it's mainly behind my ears and it's also in my most personal area.  I've been tested 3 times for candida and/or yeast infection. Dr. says I don't have either one.  I really start to itch at night and some nights I can't sleep because my entire body will itch like crazy.  My Dr. tells me not to scratch but obviously she's never had this condition and doesn't know the awful way that it feels.
I wish someone had real cure.  I wish we had better FDA controls. I wish, I wish, I wish.
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Hi peeps.
I started to suffer with Seb derm from 2005 and Dr's prescribed me all the cortisone creams then onto the tetracycline,minacycline drugs, which made me light sensitive and did nothing but make my condition worse.
My whole scalp was scaly and sore. I had it round my nose, behind my ears and round my chin/mouth area was ever so sore too, so painful every time i had to shave! I also had scaly sore patches on the centre of my chest and between my shoulder blades. I tried every ailment under the sun and nothing seemed to work. i had lots of different homeopathic allergy tests which diagnosed me with food allergies. All of it was BS. I did find that going on a alkalised diet helped my skin a lot, THEN I FINALLY STUMBLED ON THE ONE THING THAT RIDDED ME OF MY SEB DERM. I'VE BEEN FREE OF IT SINCE 2013 AND HAVENT LOOKED BACK SINCE! THERE IS A MEDICAL TREATMENT called SELSUN SHAMPOO 2.5% (SELINIUM SULPHIDE). I wash my head and face and any area with seb derm on every day; i wash my head and face 3 times a day, morning, evening(5pmish) and just before bed. I then use conditioner for head and beard area, dry my face then use double base moisturiser on the face, which is used very minimally, a tiny blob for each area on the face. I now have a great complexion and you would never know that i have web derm. The selsun shampoo is all i use to cleanse my face. i hope this info helps others as it did for me, as i said i thought i'd be trapped forever with this horrible skin condition. Now i have my life back thanks to this simple regime.
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I've read your post and all the others.  I've recently developed this condition about six months ago.  Flaking behind the ears the builds upon itself.  I notice it building day two after a shower.  If I let it go and do nothing it gets worse and worse.  I first noticed that if I showered and washed behind my ears every day I do not have this condition at all.  I hate taking a shower every day so instead I've been lathering behind my ears with regular old Pure Petroleum Jelly on the second day after a shower.  That keeps it in check until my next shower day.  I hate having this condition and don't know what's causing it.  It's very much what I've been reading here.  I'll bring the subject up the next time I am scheduled to see my primary care physician but from what I've been reading here I don't hope for much.  I do know what has been working for me and I guess that I will either continue with the Pure Petroleum Jelly routine or go back to a shower every day or every second day.  Looking forward to reading more posts in the future to know how you-all are dealing with this really annoying dilemma.
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I have had a head scalp fungal condition for a few years which is being treated with Nizoral shampoo.  I also developed weeping and dry flakes behind the ear (right ear) and I was trying to treat that with Nizoral cream, but that was not working.  What I would recommend to my fellow sufferers is to apply a steroid cream behind the ear  until the infection clears and the skin is restored, then apply 'Lamasil Once' (1% Terbinofine Hydrochloride) to get rid of the behind ear fungus for good.  I know it's an athletes foot treatment, in fact it cleared up my athletes foot infection also some years earlier!
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I have this skin condition. I have posted the remedy on my blog. It gave me positive results. I hope it helps many that suffer from this skin condition.

Here's the link: http://makeasylife.blogspot.in/2015/04/how-i-deal-with-seborrheic-dermatitis.html
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I've had this same problem over and over and it started up while I was in high school and has continued now even after I've graduated.  I've tried the cortisone treatments, I've tried different kinds of shampoos, even just using things like neosporin and such-- but nothing seems to really keep it at bay for a period longer than a few days.  
This isn't at all a cure, but the thing that's kept it at bay the longest and has procured the best results is -believe it or not- an acne cream.  I'm not sure what it is in this that helps with this condition, or even what this "condition" is-- however the item I've used is "Clean and Clear Deep Action Cream Cleanser".  
I've used it behind my ears when I shower for a day or two, and gradually it'll clear up and go away for a substantial amount of time.  It's always popped up when my hair has been longer, and I have this issue currently, and I haven't been using the product-- instead I've opted to try other things but have gotten zero results.  So, personally, I'm going to go back to using Clean and Clear and see how it goes-- but I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with this issue.  
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