Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M.D.
There are strange myths regarding the causes of ear redness, but the truth is that there are real causes, that cause this reaction, and many times we should be concerned. What worries us most is knowing how to remove this redness from the ears. How can I make red ears go away? This time our family doctor Nataniel tells us how to do it:
The way to treat red ears is by changing habits such as controlling blood pressure to decrease vasodilation and avoiding very high or low temperatures. Also, follow a healthier diet where you avoid processed, spicy, and hot foods; and reduce stress as much as possible.
What is the ear?
The outside of the ear is the only part of the ear that we can see. It is made up of cartilage, and its primary function is to capture sound vibrations and redirect them deeper into the ear. Nobody’s ears are the same; they are different in shape and size.
Some have a small lobe, others large, and some have ears where you can hardly see the lobe. Some are round, pointed, or drooping.
The parts of the ear are:
- Helix Canal.
- Antihelix pit.
Why do my ears turn red?
Ears turn red because of dilated blood vessels that cause increased blood flow in the ear and thus temporarily increase the temperature. If vasodilation is present, the ears will remain red and often appear at the same time as warm, red cheeks.
Now I’m going to go into more detail and explain the reasons why the ears become red.
Several causes lead to this condition. The ears have many blood vessels, which makes them more prone to turning red. This can also lead to pain and sensitivity to the touch, which can occur for the following reasons:
When the ear is invaded by viruses and bacteria, affecting the ear’s internal parts, redness can occur on the outside of the ear. Typically, headaches, decreased hearing, fever, balance problems, and poor appetite follow when there is an infection.
Blow to the ear
A blow to the outside of the ear can cause burning, redness, and swelling. It can also occur with a scratch, an accidental cut, ear piercing, or even a mosquito bite.
Lack of sun protection
When we expose ourselves to the sun, we can forget to put sunscreen on some parts of the body such as the feet, hands, lips, and ears. Therefore, sunburn can produce redness and scaling of the skin on the ears. It is recommended that you use sunscreen and reduce sun exposure.
Reactions to different emotions
In some cases, your ears get red or hot when you are feeling emotions of anger, rage, surprise, shame, or arguments. This is a natural response of the body that causes the blood vessels in the face and neck to dilate, and the phenomenon known as vasodilation occurs.
The ears are more susceptible to becoming red because the skin lining the atrium is thinner. This reaction should pass when the emotion passes, and you feel calmer.
Consuming liquor is another factor that causes red ears since it works as a vasodilator of the blood vessels. This happens because after alcohol enters the body, it is transformed into Acetaldehyde and then becomes Acetate, which will be expelled by the body. After a time, the liver reaches a point where it takes longer to change it, causing the blood vessels to dilate and produce that red color in our ears.
A hormonal problem can cause red ear symptoms. Changes in hormones can produce these problems, particularly during menopause or if there are issues in the thyroid gland. It can also be caused by the adrenal glands not producing enough adrenaline.
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Many medical treatments can have side effects that produce redness. These include treatments for diabetes, cancer, blood circulation, or angina.
Seborrheic eczema, also called dermatitis, is a disease that produces red patchy scales on the scalp which can also extend to other parts of the body such as the face, upper back, and ears. Eczema can present a reaction in the ears, which can be red and itchy.
Sudden changes in temperature
When we expose our ears to intense heat or cold, our ears turn red when the heat rises. The body presents vasodilation that reflects in the ears. On the other hand, when it is freezing, the ears also demonstrate vasodilation since the body needs to heat them to avoid freezing.
Eating foods that cause allergies.
Some foods and beverages can cause a minor allergic reaction, which results in red, warm ears. Some foods to avoid are:
- Stimulating drinks such as coffee, tea, or alcoholic beverages.
- Sugars and saturated fats.
- Spicy or very spicy processed foods, such as those containing curry, cumin, cloves, black pepper
- Pickled foods.
- Cured cheeses.
Red Ear Syndrome (RES)
RES is a rare disorder characterized by attacks of sensations and redness outside one or both ears. Generally, patients describe it as a sharp, annoying, stabbing pain. In some cases, it can be unbearable.
These cases’ duration can last from a few seconds up to 1 hour, although it commonly disappears within 30 minutes. It can be repeated several times a day and extend over the year.
We can distinguish RES in two different ways:
- It appears in young people who often suffer from migraines. It is characterized as having spontaneous attacks, related temporarily to the migraine.
- The other form occurs in older people caused by upheaval in the superior cervical spine or temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
The people affected by this syndrome are between the ages of 4 to 92, with it being more common in women. We don’t know the exact causes of the syndrome. Nor is it possible to determine which pharmacological treatment to recommend. Nevertheless, applying cold in the affected zone can control the malaise.
Red ears can also be symptoms of the autoimmune disease called Recurrent Polychondritis (RP), a condition that mainly affects the ears, nose, and trachea’s cartilage tissue. Although the causes that trigger this disease are unknown, it has been possible to accept that one of the reasons can be a genetic predisposition, affecting people between the ages of 40 and 60, without distinction of sex.
How to make ear redness go away?
Control your blood pressure
When blood pressure is elevated, it causes redness in the ears. We can control blood pressure in the following manner:
- Reduce sodium (salt) intake by trying to consume less than 2.3 mg per day.
- Reduce alcohol consumption; it is recommended that women consume a maximum of one drink per day and two drinks per day for men.
- Drink plenty of water, at least 2 liters a day.
- Maintain healthy body weight. If you need to lose weight, seek advice from a specialist or find a program to lose weight.
- If you are a smoker, try to quit smoking through counseling programs.
Try to have appropriate rest, sleep at least 8 hours at night without interruption.
Be careful with sudden temperature changes
Avoid sudden temperature changes, cold, hot, or steam baths, and all situations that cause vasodilation.
Escape from stress
Can stress cause red ears? Stress affects our body in many ways; high levels of stress cause pathological states; including turning the ear red. Other conditions, such as humiliation, anger, or hormonal changes, can cause vasodilation that causes the ears to turn red.
Stress causes irritability that leads to redness of the ear to relieve it:
- By practicing any physical activity, you are releasing endorphins that will make you feel better and other neural chemicals to increase the feeling of well-being. Also, exercise improves your mood and calms any anger, anguish, and disgust you may have.
- Live life with a good sense of humor to cure any ailment, lousy mood, rage, anger, or stress; when you laugh, it lightens your mental load, causing positive changes in your body and reducing stress.
- Another way to lower stress is by performing yoga postures and exercises. It is through these physical and mental disciplines that help you have peace of mind and body, thus reducing stress levels and anxiety.
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Eat the right foods
Consume the following foods to avoid red ears:
- Vegetables such as green leaves, asparagus, green beans, or celery
- Fish rich in Omega 3, like sardines, tuna, salmon.
- Integral cereals and nuts.
- White meats like turkey, chicken, or lamb.
- Season meals with soft spices like saffron, turmeric, coriander, fennel, cardamom,
- Fruits such as apple, pear, grape, melon, mango, red fruits, rather than citrus fruits
Be careful with hot drinks
Do not eat or drink anything too hot. Dr. Peter McNaughton says that drinking hot beverages raises body temperature at all levels. That also contributes to the vasodilation of the auricle.
Avoid ingesting alcohol because when it is consumed, the body transforms it into Acetaldehyde. Our body has a hard time digesting this compound, and it causes our blood vessels to dilate, and therefore, the skin becomes red.
Do breathing exercises
Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, breathe in slowly, fill your belly first, and then your chest. Pause a little and then release the air little by little. Expel the air firstly from your chest and after that from your stomach.
Perform moderate exercise to improve blood circulation, such as walking, swimming, cycling.
Use sunscreen daily to prevent burns and redness
Throughout the year, even when it is cloudy, sun exposure can cause redness in the ears. Avoid being in the sun during the middle hours of the day. Your sunscreen should have a high protection index. Apply sunscreen every 2 hours or after bathing and protect yourself physically as much as possible with a hat and umbrella.
Home remedies to remove red ears.
When you apply rose water to your ears you will feel a refreshing sensation that helps to relieve the ear redness thanks to its soothing, invigorating and anti-inflammatory properties. To use it, pour a few drops on an absorbent cotton disc and pass through the most affected areas of the ear, let your skin absorb the water and relax.
Chamomile has great soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, which will help to relieve any skin irritation. Chamomile will help the redness in the ears disappear, you can take it as a tea or apply it topically.
- To use it you must soak several bags in a pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes.
- Let it cool down and pour it over a cotton disc.
- Put pressure on the ears for a minute, about twice a day.
Cream of oats, honey, and milk
Oats are a very effective ingredient that can eliminate redness of the skin, because they have a moisturizing effect, and contain soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- To make this cream you need:
- 1 tablespoon of powdered oats.
- Half a glass of cold milk.
- 1 teaspoon of honey.
- Mix all the ingredients in a container very well, until a homogenous paste is produced.
- Then apply it on the ears, let it act for 15 minutes, and rinse with warm or cold water.
Cucumber is a highly effective ingredient to combat redness and inflammation of the skin. To obtain its benefits:
- Cut cucumber in slices very cold or frozen.
- Place it in a food processor; then apply the cream that was formed directly to the ears.
- Let it work for 20 minutes and then remove it with warm or cold water.
When you see that your ears are getting red, you are probably experiencing sudden changes in temperature, or you are not eating in a healthy and proper way, or you are exposing yourself to the sun without protection. Therefore, follow the recommendations described above, and if the symptoms persist, consult a specialist for guidance.