Just like it is the case with most bodily fluids, the earwax is rarely the topic of a casual conversation. However, the fact is that this sticky substance is actually very important for the human body and it can tell us a lot about our general health. It sounds as a disgusting idea at first, however the next time you clean your ears you need to take a close look at what comes out.
Lots of people don’t know that the earwax isn’t just some type of dirty buildup in the ears. It’s actually created by our body to prevent dirt and bacteria to enter the ear canal, so this sticky gunk keeps our ears healthy, clean,and functional. The wax itself is a combination of long-chain fatty acids, alcohol,andsqualene.
However, despite how important this substance is, there is no one who would want to see it dripping out of a person’s ear. Soany time you notice that there is a bit too much of it in your ear, feel free to take a damp cloth and simply wash it out. In case you choose to use some cotton swab, make sure not to insert it into the ear canal as you run the risk to damage your eardrum.
Here are some examples of different wax colors, and what they mean for our health.
- Yellow, wet and sticky
It is the most common type of wax for adults. The sticky, wettexture helps to keep your ear canal from drying out and to become itchy.
Gray earwax might look unusual, but in case you see it on the cotton swab, there is no need to be worried. The gray color is usually only the result of the ear’s natural cleaning process. However if the wax is dry and brittle and you feel your ear itchy, it might be a sign of eczema. In case you notice these symptoms, it is best to have it looked at by a specialist.
- Pale yellow
This color is the most common for the kids. The children tend to produce more earwax than the adults, but as they grow older this production decreasesgradually.
- Sticky and dark
Earwax that is darker than usually is indicating that the body is perspiring more than usual. The darker the color of the ear wax, the higher the probability that this extra sweat is going to lead to body odor. Despite that, it is still totally healthy.
- Dark and thick
Stress and anxiety might cause thebody to produce more earwax. Heavy sweating could also lead to an increase in earwax, and that can block the ear canal and also cause temporary hearing impairment. If you notice that the earwax is thickanddark, you need to make sure that you clean your ears regularly to avoid any problems. It’s also a good advice to find some ways to reduce the stress in your life.
- Dry, white and flaky
This is perfectly healthy and normal type of earwax. Those persons who are producing this type of wax most often have less body odor than theones who produce dark ear wax.
- Black or dark brown
Dark brown or even black earwax can look pretty scary. However, the good news is that there’s no need for worrying. The dark color can just be the result of an overproduction of ear wax (as what happens when we are stressed). It might also mean that the wax has simply been in the ear for longer period of time. When it’s removed, the increased contact with the oxygen turns it in a darker color.
- Wet and runny
It is normal for earwax to come out of our ears occasionally — it is only part of the natural cleaning process. However, when the wax pours out of a person’s ears in large amounts and contains pus or blood, it’s a certain sign of a perforated eardrum. In that case you shouldimmediatelyseek medical attention.
- Bloody wax
Old earwax could sometimes look as dried blood. In case you notice this, you need to get medical attention — it might mean that you have a perforated eardrum.
So, as you can see, the earwax comes in a vast array of colors and most of them are entirely healthy even if they don’t look like that. That means, the next time you’re cleaning the ears, take a close look at the dirty cotton swab. It could make you cringe, but it is also a great way to identify any problem and deal with it before it gets more serious!