Red ear causes

With review and feedback from CEENTA ENT physician Darrell Klotz, MD (SouthPark)

Last week we talked about red ear syndrome and why it can make your ears red and hot. However, that’s not the only reason your ears could redden.

Sunburned ears

Although many people are diligent about applying sunblock to their face and neck, they sometimes forget to do the same to their ears. Unfortunately, ears can sunburn as well as any other skin. If your ears are red and painful after a day outside, that could be the cause.

External ear infections

Infections like cellulitis can occur after bacteria enters the body through cuts, bug bites, and dry skin. In addition to red ears, symptoms can include fatigue, fever, chills, and pain when the ear is touched.

Red ears and skin disease

Eczema and dermatitis are diseases that can turn the skin red. In addition to the ears, the scalp, face, and upper back may also turn red and scaly. Other symptoms include itchiness and white, flaky skin.

Red ears and hormonal changes

Hormonal changes, from menopause to thyroid issues, can trigger red ears.

Red ears and the temperature

When you’re in very warm or very cold temperatures, your blood vessels will either expand or contract, depending on the temperature. In the warmth, they expand, turning your ears red. In the cold, they contract so that extremities such as your ears stay warm.

Your ears and your emotions

When you experience an emotion like embarrassment or anger, the blood vessels in your face and neck dilate. Because your ears’ skin is so thin, they turn red easily.

Darrell Klotz, MSOne condition you don’t need to worry about

“While skin changes or swelling of the toes has been reported as one of the many bizarre possible manifestations of COVID-19 infection, red ears are not necessarily a cause for alarm that you might have COVID-19,” CEENTA ENT physician Darrell Klotz, MD, said. “You more likely have one of the many more common maladies mentioned in this blog.”

How do I treat red ears?

To properly care for red ears, you need to know the cause. If it’s emotional, no treatment is required. Your ears should go back to normal soon if the change is temperature based, but prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures could warrant medical care. If your ears are sunburned, aloe vera and hydrocortisone treatment could help. You should also avoid additional sun exposure. A trip to the doctor may be necessary if they don’t heal on their own, though. If the redness is hormonal or from a disease, a discussion with your doctor is necessary before any treatment regimen begins.

Where can I get treatment for my red ears?

If you are concerned about redness in your ears, come to CEENTA. Our ENT physicians will make sure you’re healthy and your ears are the proper color.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointments online with our ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.


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