- Healthy earwax texture and color can greatly vary depending on factors such as ethnicity, environment, age and diet.
- The two main types of earwax are wet and dry, based on differing texture and color composition.
- The ears are self-cleaning, but too much earwax can lead to a blockage. A doctor can help provide specific guidance in this situation. .
Earwax, also known as cerumen, is a normal, naturally occurring substance that helps to regulate your ear health by protecting the ear canal from debris, dirt and infection. While earwax does play an important role in maintaining our health, it is often overlooked. Earwax can actually tell us a lot about ourselves, especially considering that its composition varies from person to person, depending on factors such as ethnicity, environment, age and diet.
One fact about earwax that many people may not know, is that there are actually two different types of earwax: wet and dry. Earwax can also vary in color and texture, depending on several variables. Follow along as we breakdown everything you should know about earwax, as well as the main differences between the two different types.
What is Earwax?
Earwax, also called cerumen, is a substance made by the body to protect the ears. Earwax is normal, and naturally occurring, and has both lubricating and antibacterial properties, according to Cleveland Clinic. Earwax is a combination of dead skin cells, hair and discharge from two different glands in the ear.
Earwax is actually produced in the outer part of the ear canal, not deep inside the ear as many assume. The ears are self-cleaning and it is typically not necessary to remove earwax manually. Often, old earwax is moved through the ear canal by jaw motions such as chewing, and flakes off when it reaches the outside of the ear.