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What Is Ear Wax?

Ear wax or Cerumen is a natural yellow/brown substance that is secreted by sebaceous glands in the skin lining the ear canal. Cerumen can be soft or hard, wet or dry. The type of wax you have is genetically inherited.

Why Do We Have It?

It is believed that ear wax serves several purposes

  • It acts to clean the ear canal, traps debris and dust also dead skin cells. Ear wax also traps small foreign bodies (insects etc).
  • Ear wax acts as a lubricant for the skin of the ear canal, preventing it from drying out and cracking.
  • It acts to protect the ear canal and eardrum. Due to its Ph being slightly acidic and the antibacterial properties it possesses, ear wax reduces the risk of fungi and bacterial ear infections.

How Does It Work?

In most people, ear wax will naturally migrate outwards to the entrance of the ear canal where along with any debris, it will fall out.  The layer of skin in the ear is remarkable in that it not only secretes the wax but it has the unique property of moving sideways towards the entrance to the ear canal as it grows and sheds.  Ear wax does not normally cause people too many issues, but in some cases ear wax can build-up and become impacted and uncomfortable.