Although earwax is not a common topic of discussion, there are many interesting things about these body fluids. This stuff inside our ears actually serves an important purpose for our health, also the texture and color can tell surprisingly interesting things about our health and how the rest of our body works.
Technically, earwax is made up of long-chain fatty acids, squalene and alcohols that provide a waterproof lining preventing infection, among other things.
The purpose of earwax is to protect the hollow hole that is our ear canals from bacteria and debris. Earwax is our body’s way of keeping the bad stuff out of our ears and trapping dead skin cells. With the help of wax, our ears stay clean, healthy and functional.
Of course, knowing that earwax is a helpful substance doesn’t stop our urge to clear out our ear canals once in a while.
However, the doctors at the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery do not recommend the use of cotton swabs or any other foreign objects as ear-cleaning tools.
Before anyone reaches for a cotton swab, it’s important to know how to safely clean your ears.
A cotton swab should never be inserted into the ear canal. In fact, your ears have their own way of self cleaning by pushing out wax on their own.
Sometimes this can cause earwax to build up on the external part of the ear, which can be gently cleaned using a cotton swab or wet cloth.
Resist all urges to place a foreign object inside your ear canal.
1. Soft And Pale Yellow
2. Wet, Sticky, And Yellow
Wet and sticky yellow earwax is one of two common varieties of cerumen found in most people.
The wet and sticky texture is especially good at lubricating the ear canal, which prevents them from being dry and itchy.
3. Dark And Sticky
4. White, Dry, And Flaky
5. Thick And Dark
Apocrine glands inside your ears are what produce wax.
When you are stressed or afraid, these glands react by producing more wax than normal. It’s a similar reaction to sweating under pressure.
When earwax produces at a faster rate than your body can naturally push it out of the ear canal, a wax buildup can occur.
Too much earwax can cause a blockage, leading to temporary hearing loss.
6. Dark Brown Or Black
7. Bloody Wax
8. Wet And Runny
If your earwax is usually the wetter, stickier type, but you notice it’s looking gray in color, it is likely the result of dust build up.
The gray might look unusual, but it’s just a sign of earwax doing its job by protecting your eardrum from foreign objects.
On the other hand, if the gray wax is accompanied by cracking, dry or itchy skin inside the ear canal, it could be seborrheic eczema. A doctor can provide treatment in this case.