Rash Behind Ears – Pictures, Causes, Treatment: Infants, Adults


Rash that appear behind the ears and neck can be red, itchy and painful. This can cause feelings of discomfort in both toddlers and adults. These rash are normally bumpy formations on the skin and they can also be itchy depending on their causes. We will be discussing the causes and symptoms that may be observed and the best remedies that might be applied to treat and clear the rash.

One is said to have contracted skin rash when any part of the skin develops swellings or becomes irritated or itchy. Rash behind the ear might include bumps, scaly skin, colored patches on the skin (mostly reddened), sores, or burning sensations behind the ears.

Seborrheic dermatitis causes skin rash behind ears
Seborrheic dermatitis causes skin rash behind ear

Some of these rash can be as a result of medical conditions such as measles in young children, chicken pox, contact dermatitis, or psoriasis. It is advisable to have routine skin care checks in order to understand the exact causes of each rash that occurs behind an individual’s ear.

Most skin conditions are known to be less harmful and never life-threatening. Some rash are likely to clear up on their own after some time and the skin regains its normalcy. It is also important to note that some of the medicals conditions that cause rash behind the ear can prove to be dangerous if not treated in good time. For example, chicken pox is a highly contagious condition and is also life-threatening.

Some itchy and painful rash can be easily treated using over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin and some painkillers. Some topical creams that are either anti-inflammatory or anti-itching can also be applied. These creams include the clotrimazole containing creams and gels. However, if the symptoms become persistent, one is advised to seek the help of a doctor (preferably a dermatologist).

Rash behind the ear and on the neck

Rash that appear behind the ears can be caused by several different factors. Although they might have different symptoms, the varied infections that cause rash behind the ears have some symptoms that may appear to be similar to each other. Some of the common symptoms may include:

  1. Bumpy rash behind the ears and on the necks that might be itchy.
  2. Swelling of the lymph nodes behind the ears and on the neck areas.
  1. Redness of the skin behind the ears and around the necks.
  2. Peeling of the skin on the affected areas.

Most times, these symptoms normally heal and vanish on their own without any form of treatment. The self-healing process normally takes a period of about one week to ten days. If in any case you are on medication for such symptoms and they fail to go away within that period, please seek medical attention from a qualified dermatologist to ascertain the cause. Remember that a rash may not entirely be an infection but it may be a sure sign of some hidden complication that may need to be treated in good time.

According to healthmds.org, “Atopic dermatitis also known as eczema is a skin condition that is popular among children than adults. When eczema affects behind the ear, it causes a dry, itchy skin that is inflamed and has rash. When advanced, there might be rash opening up to form blisters that weep or discharge of watery fluids”

Causes of Rash Behind the Ear and Neck

A skin rash is one symptom that is the easiest to notice and could be as a result of several factors that include contact with allergens, use of skin based cosmetic products, medication, and diseases like measles and chicken pox.

Some more causes include:

Heat Rash behind the ear and neck

This condition is most common in children. It is mostly as a result of direct exposure to sunlight for longer periods (sunburns) or even wrapping babies with warm clothing for too long. Heat rash are not life-threatening but are known to cause a lot of discomfort to babies and children.

Heat rash can be red, cause the skin to be scaly, and may also cause the top skin to start peeling off.

This type of rash can be avoided by reducing the child’s exposure to direct sunlight, keeping the baby reasonably warm and application of baby powder or petroleum jelly in order to soothe the skin. Please note that should these remedies fail to work, you need to seek assistance from a pediatrician.

Rubella (German Measles)

It is caused by a highly contagious virus and can be easily transmitted from one person to another through bodily contact. Its symptoms are most severe in children than in adults.

Some of the symptoms that are associated with rubella include:

–    Swollen and tender lymph nodes.

–    Running nose and red, wet eyes as when you have a cold.

–    Headaches.

–    Inflamed eyes.

–    Joint and muscle pains.

Rubella symptoms are not dangerous except in the case of infection on a pregnant woman. Pregnant women are likely to transmit it to the unborn children through the bloodstream (congenital rubella syndrome) resulting in stillbirths and miscarriages.

Once diagnosed with the rubella virus, an individual can be treated at home by getting enough bed rest and using acetaminophen which helps in reducing the fever and itchiness. Minimizing contact with masses also helps greatly in curbing the spread of the virus to other people.


This is also a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system.

It is highly contagious and can be spread from one person to another through contact with saliva and mucus of infected individuals. Its symptoms normally appear within two weeks. The symptoms include muscle aches, red eyes, white patches in the buccal cavity, running nose, sore throat, and rash on the body including behind the ears.

Luckily, there is immunization for this disease which helps in reducing and preventing chances of the virus’ attack in children. There are no known prescription medications for this disease except that the symptoms are known to disappear on their own within 2-3 weeks after infection.

Most doctors, however, prescribe vitamin A supplements, lots of fluids intake (especially water to keep the body hydrated), enough bed rest that helps strengthen the immune system, and acetaminophen which helps in reducing joint pains and fever.


This is a chronic skin condition that is known to be caused by an overactive immune system. It causes an inflammation of the skin with thick red or white patches.

It is common in diabetes, the obese, and people with heart diseases. It is also genetic and can be inherited by the offspring of an infected individual.

Psoriasis is incurable but some of its symptoms can be treated using oral antibiotics, light therapy, and steroid gels and creams.


Contact Dermatitis

This condition is caused by a reaction of the skin to an environmental substance. A good example, in this case, could be an earring made out of a substance that might react with your skin. This reaction might end up causing a rash to develop behind your ear and possibly around your neck. Such a condition might not be life-threatening and could easily be controlled by applying over-the-counter gels or creams to control the inflammation and the itchiness caused by such rash. However, should there be no improvement within a week; it is still advisable to visit a dermatologist.



Fungal Infection

The most common symptoms observed in this case may include rash appearing on the skin, white or red patches on the skin, the skin may become scaly and may begin to peel off, and sores may also begin appearing.

Upon being diagnosed as having contracted a fungal infection, your dermatologist will most likely prescribe some anti-fungal drugs and some drying agents in the form of gels, creams, or powders for topical application. However, some drugs might have to be administered intravenously (injected into the body) depending on the types and levels of infection.

Chicken Pox

This is a highly contagious viral infection and is most common in children but can also attack adults. The virus can only attack an individual once and the body will develop immunity against the virus for good. Chickenpox causes an itchy rash all over the body, red blisters that can easily pop and cause serious discomforts begin to surface on the skin, headache, and possibly loss of appetite.

Only the symptoms can be treated by applying drying creams, antihistamines, and other topical ointments. Vaccination against chickenpox is the best approach for infants. Due to the fact that it spreads through contact, it is good to reduce contact with infected persons, especially among children.

Poison Ivy

Also known scientifically as Toxicodendron Radicans, this flowering plant is known to cause contact dermatitis. This is due to the chemical toxins known as urushiol which it produces.

Poison Oak

The plant is also known as Toxicodendron Diversilobum. It also produces urushiol which causes effects that are similar to those in the case of poison ivy.


This woody shrub is also known scientifically as Toxicodendron vernix and it also produces urushiol. However, it is considered to be more allergenic than the poison oak and the poison ivy. Fortunately, the toxins from the Toxicodendron genus plants do not cause contagious rash.


Hives are also known medically as urticaria. It is a rash that appears on the skin and it causes an itch and red bumps. It normally occurs anywhere on the body including behind the ears and on the necks. The rash can vary in sizes. Hives could be caused by both allergic and non-allergic reactions. Studies have shown that nearly twenty percent of the human population develops hives at some point in time in their lives.

When a swelling deep in the skin accompanies hives, whatever occurs is known as angioedema. This swelling never lasts long but its presence is quite uncomfortable. Angioedema is known to attack even the eyes and lips.

The two main categories of hives are known as ordinary hives/acute urticaria and chronic hives/urticaria. Their causes and treatment also vary.

Symptoms of Hives

Hives can start on one part of the body and quickly move to another. The rash tends to appear and disappear within 24 hours at a time for each attack. There is no other skin condition with these characteristics of self-resolving at such a rapid rate. Before visiting a doctor, it is advisable to take a photo of the rash at its worst so the doctor at least has something to base the diagnosis on. Some of the symptoms of hives are:

  1. Raised red bumps on the skin. These bumps are itchy and have a tendency of growing in size over time. In some cases, they even join together to form largely raised rash.
  2. The bumps can be painful to touch. If a pressure is applied to a bump it will turn white towards its center.
  • The rash forms in patches on the body.
  1. Hives rash keep changing shape over time and tend to disappear and reappear in different parts of the body.
  2. Difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
  3. Irregular pulse.
  • Increased anxiety levels.
  • Dizziness that could be occasioned by fainting spells and blackouts.

Your doctor will be able to tell if you have hives by looking at your skin or by conducting a blood test or a skin biopsy.

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Causes of Hives

Hives in most cases are caused by allergic reactions to certain types of food, medication or insect bites. There are also cases of hives with no specific causes determined. In such situations, it is advisable to embrace changes in diet and lifestyle.

Hives occur when the mast cells in the skin release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. Histamine is responsible for causing the blood vessels in the skin to leak and swell up. This results in the red raised bumps that are symptomatic of an attack of hives. Causes of hives include:

  1. Hereditary factors.
  2. Allergies to medications, food (especially proteins), stings, and insect bites.
  • Certain weather conditions.
  1. The improper functioning of the thyroid glands.
  2. Metabolic related diseases.
  3. Leukemia.
  • Liver or kidney problems.
  • Chronic infections such as UTI or sinuses.
  1. Skin allergies to pollen, animal dander, or latex.

How to Get Rid of Rash behind the ear and Neck Using Home Remedies

Most skin infections are never life-threatening and can be treated at home. These remedies that can be applied at home are only known to help soothe the skin and in some cases rid the skin of some symptoms like itching and inflammations. They may also help in speeding up the healing process. They might not help in treating the exact causes of the rash.

Some of the remedies may include the following:

1. Tree Oil

This natural antiseptic is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Tree oil can be used to treat symptoms caused by chicken pox, fungal infections, psoriasis, and several other types of skin infections. It can be mixed with some honey and topically applied to the affected areas to make it more effective.

2. Turmeric

It is known to contain a wide range of antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Turmeric contains lipopolysaccharide substance which is known to help in boosting the body’s immune system.

3. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloes are the most widely known herbs especially when it comes to skin treatment remedies at home. They contain antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching properties that are quite helpful for soothing the skin.

The gel can be applied to the affected areas and left for approximately 20 minutes before being rinsed out with clean running water. This process can be repeated two times daily for about a week in order to achieve optimal results. Aloe vera not only soothes sunburns but is also a wonder herb when it comes to relieving rash caused by poison ivy.

4. Plain Yoghurt

Plain yogurt is a good anti-itching and anti-inflammatory cream that is readily available at home. It also helps reduce inflammation. Yoghurt containing zinc, lactic acid, calcium, and vitamin B. These nutrients are essential for the skin.

5. Baking Soda

Known to have great anti-fungal properties, you can make a paste of baking soda using a little water and apply it to the affected areas. Leave it for about 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing it off using clean running water. For optimal results, repeat the process twice a day for about a week. Baking soda also helps to speed up the skin’s recovery.

6. Oatmeal Bath

Oatmeal is known to be a natural reliever for itching. Being a natural cleanser, it provides temporary skin protection that helps in relieving irritation as well as soothing the skin.

7. Cucumber

This is known to calm rash from poison ivy and poison oak. Simply rub cucumber slices on the affected areas or grind the cucumber to a paste and apply it over the affected areas.

8. Banana peels or watermelon rinds

When you rub the inside of banana peels or watermelon rinds on the irritated skin causes a cooling effect that brings relief to the skin.

9. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been proven to kill poison ivy and poison oak. The remedy would be to soak a brown paper bag in some apple cider vinegar for some time then place the soaked brown paper bag on the affected area. This act draws out the toxins of poison ivy or poison oak that may have caused the irritation.

 10. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is known to prevent further spread of toxins on the skin hence limiting the area of infection. This comes in handy in the case of rash caused by poison ivy, poison oak, or the sumac.

11. Lemon juice

Lemon juice contains citric acid which is known to be a natural astringent. This comes in handy when treating rash caused by poison ivy, poison oak, or sumac.

12. Cold Compresses

Cold compresses can help relieve itchiness and reduce the urge of scratching the rash.

13. Strongly brewed tea

Strongly brewed black tea also has a soothing effect on rash especially those caused by poison ivy, oak, or sumac. You can dip some cotton in the tea and dab it on the affected area of the skin.

It is advisable that you should avoid scratching the rash no matter their causes. This is because scratching can make the condition worse and bring about infection. Application of an over-the-counter cream like hydrocortisone to the affected areas for itchy rash could help bring relief.

Another good application drug is calamine lotion which has been proven to be helpful in relieving rash caused by chickenpox, poison oak, insect bites, eczema, hives, or poison ivy.

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Felix .N. is a professional graphic designer with a Bachelor of Arts (Design) from The University of Nairobi (UON). Felix is now studying Medicine at Jomo Kenyatta International University and is currently moving around the world to help in areas were vets are limited. He is also a Medical researcher and works with several health organisations as listed below when it comes to research and publishing. He is also an Editor at: HealthClue.org, lifecircle.me, healthytreat.org, beautyclue.com, eczemarelief.org, cureguide.org, petnurse.org, treatheal.org.


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