Earwax … one of those things that our body produces without us having to do anything, but how much do you really know about it? Do we need it? How can I get rid of it? Have your ears pricked up at the sound of finding out more? Welcome to our handy guide on wax and how to remove earwax safely.
What is earwax?
Sticky, shiny and impossible to see without some clever mirror manoeuvres! Earwax is made in the outer ear canal - which is the bit between the freshy part of your ear (the part you can see) and the middle of the ear. After the wax is produced by special glands in the outer ear canal, it makes its way through to the opening of the ear. This is when you, or someone else, will notice it waiting to be cleaned out for it to naturally fall out.
What is its purpose?
Earwax may seem pretty pointless – but it actually has several important jobs, so open those ears and take note!
- It protects and moisturises the skin of your ear canal. This prevents it from becoming itchy, dry and all-round irritating.
- Wax contains special chemicals that can help fight of infections - great!
- It protects your ears from the outside world. Dust, dirt and flying things (go away, little bugs!) try and enter our ears, whether we realise it or not. Earwax traps it so they can’t travel any further into the ear canal – phew!
How to safely remove earwax
Some people will produce more earwax than others and wish to remove it, which is absolutely fine, as long as you do it safely. Follow our do’s and don’ts to ensure you effectively remove the earwax, without causing yourself any harm or problems.
Don’t – put things inside your ear
Rule number 1! Never (ever) attempt to remove earwax with a cotton bud – or similar shaped object. We know, they look like they were built to be perfect for the job, but in fact, all you’re going to do is push earwax further into the ear canal which can cause blockages and problems. A big NO-NO!
Do - use natural oils to break down the wax
So, you’ve put down the cotton bud – now what? You can try softening the wax using oils.
Twice a day, put 2-3 drops of Superdrug Olive Oil into your ear. Over a few weeks, you should find lumps of earwax naturally fall out of your ear - usually when you’re sleeping or showering.
Do – use an ear spray to clean and care for your ears
To help prevent the build up of wax in the first place, there are simple ways to keep your ears clean. If you wash your hair frequently – then you’re already doing a great job in keeping your ears clean. Alternatively, you can try the Superdrug Ear Spray; a special formula which helps prevent build up, dissolves excess wax and keeps your ear canal clean.
Don’t – ignore persistent problems
If your ear is blocked – and the problem doesn’t go away – it may be time to see a pharmacist or your doctor. You will know if your ear is blocked if you have an earache, difficulty hearing, pain, you feel dizzy or there is a high-pitched tone coming from inside of your ear.
If you have any of these symptoms, speak to a pharmacist who will advice you accordingly or make an appointment to see your GP who can take a look inside your ear and see if they can spot the problem.