A Miraculous Body Secretion: Earwax (Cerumen)

Earwax (Cerumen)

A Miraculous Body Secretion: Earwax (Cerumen)
Earwax (Cerumen) is a yellowish sticky substance that is secreted into the ear canal of human and other mammals. Two types are available, the dominant wet type, and the recessive dry type earwax. Asians and Native Americans dry type earwax; In Africa and Europe, wet type (dark brown honey-brown and humid) earwax is observed.

Earwax is actually a useful secretion with incredible protective properties. Benefits of earwax:

- Moisturizes the external ear canal

- Create a barrier in the outer ear and prevent the water from contacting the outer ear skin

- Antibacterial property available

- Antiviral feature available

- Prevents growth of fungi (ear mushroom - protective for otomycosis)

- There is also alcohol derivative content that prevents insects from settling in the outer ear canal

Normally the newly produced earwax is spontaneously ejected from the inside out and the external ear canal has a self-cleaning mechanism.

Dry Type Earwax
Dry Type Earwax

Earwax (Cerumen)

Ear cotton wab - Q tip

So why are ear cleaning cotton swabs available? 

Cotton swabs should be used for cleaning the crimped and pit areas in the auricle.

Murat Enoz, MD, Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon - ENT Doctor in Istanbul

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