It’s True: Cotton Swabs Are Bad and You’re Probably Cleaning Your Ears Wrong – InsideHook

Listen, it’s gross but I’m not ashamed to admit it: I have an earwax problem. At least once or twice a year I used to have to go to the doctors because my right or left ear was clogged. I was in pain and could not hear a damn thing. The first thing doctors typically did was shame me for my Q-tip usage, something I don’t even dare to think of doing now. 

Over time, I’ve been able to clean my ears properly at home and rid build-up with recommended over-the-coun…….

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Listen, it’s gross but I’m not ashamed to admit it: I have an earwax problem. At least once or twice a year I used to have to go to the doctors because my right or left ear was clogged. I was in pain and could not hear a damn thing. The first thing doctors typically did was shame me for my Q-tip usage, something I don’t even dare to think of doing now. 

Over time, I’ve been able to clean my ears properly at home and rid build-up with recommended over-the-counter products to avoid the copay and trip to the doctors. And while my immense earwax buildup is mostly due to losing the genetic lottery, the reason you might be dealing with your own waxy issues could simply be that you are A) cleaning your ears on the regular, but B) simply doing it all completely wrong. 

That’s why I hit up a few otolaryngologists (aka ear, nose and throat doctors) to get the cold, hard facts on why you’re screwing up and how you can properly flush out the gunk, for good. 

How build-up happens 

Like the rest of the skin on our bodies, the skin of the ear canal creates new skin and sheds dead layers. This dead skin — coupled with cerumen, the waxy substance produced by the external canal as a lubricant and antibacterial agent protecting against dirt, dust and microorganisms — creates the wax we love to dig out of our ears. Unlike the skin on the rest of our body that is easily washed away when we shower, dead skin and wax in the ear canal slowly migrate towards the outside, a process that can take several months, explains Dr. Hamid Djalilian, Director and Professor of Otology, Neurotology, and Skull Base Surgery at the University of California Irvine.

The simple acts of chewing and moving your jaw are actually the first line of defense in ushering the cerumen out of your ears, says Dr. Inna Husain, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Otolaryngology at Rush University Medical Center. That’s right: your ears are self-cleaning, just like a decent oven or a housecat. But despite the fact that the ears are natural cleaning agents, wax build-up can still occur for multiple reasons. 

“Some people produce a lot of cerumen and some people’s natural movement of the dead skin is too slow to move the wax out before new stuff is produced. Some people have both problems,” says Djalilian. A narrow ear canal where wax gets stuck and has difficulty moving out is another contributing factor, as well as having a condition like psoriasis that causes an excess of dead skin to …….

Source: https://www.insidehook.com/article/grooming/properly-clean-ears-wax-buildup

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