How does earwax protect the body from pathogens?

Earwax, which is known in the medical world, as cerumen, is a waxy substance which ranges in colour and dry-/wetness from person to person. Many people may not know this, but earwax is essential for protecting the skin of the human ear canal, assisting in cleaning and lubrication, and providing protection against bacteria, fungi, and water. But how exactly does earwax protect the body from pathogens?

Recent studies have shown that earwax has an antibacterial effect, sometimes by a staggering level of up to 99%. There are also a couple of fungi which are inhibited by earwax. The antimicrobial effects are for a number of reasons, including the presence of saturated fatty acids, lysozyme and also due to earwax’s slight acidity.

Earwax should be thought of as a filter and as the body’s naturally produced antibiotics. Contrary to popular belief, there is no reason to use foreign objects (such as cotton swabs, bobby pins, or pencils) to clean out the ears. In fact, constant cleaning not only removes the natural wax which lubricates the ears, but it can also create itching. Additionally, using these foreign objects simply pushes the wax deeper into the ears and increases earwax compaction.

At Ear Wax Care, we advise our clients to leave their ears to self-clean. If you do find that you have excessive earwax, then you can use an at-home treatment of olive oil to clean them or get in touch with us to find out how we can help you with a professional treatment by a member of our experienced team.

We have locations across the North West of England for your convenience

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