Therapeutic effect of Castellani's paint in patients with an itchy ear canal

J Laryngol Otol. 2016 Oct;130(10):934-938. doi: 10.1017/S0022215116008744.


Objective: To examine the effects of Castellani's paint on symptomatic relief and skin flora in patients with an itchy external ear canal.

Methods: Subjective pruritus scores, and erythema and desquamation scores, were noted in 61 patients with an itchy external ear canal. External ear canal skin swabs were taken for bacterial and fungal cultures. Patients were then randomly divided into three groups: either Castellani's paint (group one) or steroid ear drops (group two) were instilled, or non-impacted cerumen was removed (group three). Patients were re-assessed at one month after the initial visit.

Results: After treatment, subjective pruritus scores were significantly lower in all groups, erythema scores were significantly decreased in group one, and desquamation scores were significantly reduced in groups one and two, when compared with pre-treatment scores. Reproduction density of bacteria including normal flora was decreased in group one. However, the types of bacteria that constitute the normal flora of the external ear canal were unchanged.

Conclusion: Castellani's paint can be administered safely, effectively and easily, without affecting the type of external ear canal skin bacteria, in patients with an itchy external ear canal.

Keywords: Castellani's Paint; External Auditory Canal; Itchy Ear; Pruritus.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antipruritics / administration & dosage*
  • Cerumen
  • Ear Canal / drug effects
  • Ear Canal / microbiology
  • Ear Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Ear Diseases / microbiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Pruritus / microbiology
  • Rosaniline Dyes / administration & dosage*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / microbiology
  • Steroids / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antipruritics
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Rosaniline Dyes
  • Steroids
  • carbol-fuchsin solution