Now there's a strange link between sweat and the color of your earwax. Some people (such as Europeans and Africans) sweat a reasonable amount, and they tend to have wet earwax. And some people (such as Koreans and Chinese) don't sweat much at all, and they tend to have dry earwax.
WHAT IS EAR WAX?
Earwax is manufactured inside your ear canal. It's made from dead skin cells, as well as the secretions from two types of glands - sebaceous glands and sweat glands. These glands are mostly in the outer one third of your ear canal. When you analyse earwax, you will find triglycerides, free fatty acids, cholesterol, a whole bunch of other fats and waxes, amino acids and minerals, and dry flaky skin. It protects the skin of the human ear canal, assists in cleaning and lubrication, and also provides some protection against bacteria, fungi, insects, and water.
Earwax both cleans and protects the ear canal. But ear doctors have long known that there are two quite different types of earwax — wet and dry.
Wet earwax is sticky, and light-to-golden brown in color — although it can darken over time. Dry earwax appears "ashen and flaky", is brittle, and ranges in color between brownish grey and light grey.
The genetics behind wet versus dry earwax was discovered in 2006. Dry earwax is very common (80-95 per cent) among East Asians, but is lower (30-50 per cent) in southern Asia, Pacific Islands, Central Asia and Asia Minor, and in Native North Americans and Inuit peoples of Asian ancestry. It's very uncommon among Europeans and Africans (0-3 per cent). They overwhelmingly have wet earwax. The type of earwax you have (wet or dry) is caused by a single variation in your DNA, on a very specific location on your 16th chromosome. This variation in the DNA turns out to have effects on the liver, pancreas, kidneys, placenta, breast tissue, gut, glands in your ear canal, and wait for it, sweat glands in your skin — and that includes your armpits.
And for those with the yellow kind, I hate to break it to you, but your earwax may stink.
Don’t take it personally. Smelly earwax is just another of the genetic quirks we inherit as part of one ethnic group or another. In new tests of earwax in Caucasian and East Asian men, yellow earwax from Caucasians gave off stronger odors than the dry, white kind.
“We could obtain information about a person’s ethnicity simply by looking in his ears,” chemist Katharine Prokop-Prigge said. Prokop-Prigge is one of the researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia who measured the earwax smells. The team was inspired to see if ethnic groups have different earwax odors after learning that the same gene controls both a person’s underarm odor and the type of earwax they make.
Ultimately, the researchers hope to mine our ears for whatever health secrets they may hold. Monell chemist George Preti calls earwax “a neglected body secretion.” Other research has shown that you can tell a person’s gender, health status and more from their underarm odors. “We think it possible that earwax may contain similar information,” Preti said on the center’s website.
As for our different ear odors, they came about because of a tiny change, just one little letter in the genetic alphabet that long ago granted an East Asian population a reprieve from both smelly underarms and sticky earwax. This mutation appeared about 2,000 generations ago, according to a study published in 2011, and became more common across Asia over time. Today most East Asians and nearly all Koreans lack a chemical in their armpits that bacteria munch on to make body odor, because they carry this variant of the ABCC11 gene.
About 98 percent of Europeans have the smelly-armpit version of the gene, and along with it comes stickier and smellier earwax. In the new study, 12 odiferous compounds were common to both groups, but earwax from Caucasian men produced more of 11 out of the 12 compounds, the researchers report February 5 in the Journal of Chromatography B. Some of the biggest differences were in 2-methylbutyric acid and isovaleric acid, which smell of sweaty socks, and hexanoic acid, which is described as smelling like a goat.
(Read Below about how Bare Pits products help all armpit odor)
Q-tips for ear cleaning?
There's no getting around it: Sticking a Q-tip in your ear feels pretty damn good. But despite the feel-good rush it brings, doctors really, really want you to stop sticking Q-tips, toothpicks, car keys, and pretty much anything else in that orifice.
As good as it feels, cleaning your inner ears with a Q-tip is just not the healthiest idea. Earwax, officially known as cerumen, is there for a reason: namely, to keep your skin moisturized and block out infections, says Ana Kim, M.D., an otolaryngologist at Columbia Doctors and associate professor of otolaryngology at Columbia University Medical Center.
If anything, Q-tip cleaning can become counterproductive by pushing wax further in, says Mercy Medical Center otolaryngologist Ileana Showalter, M.D. This can cause hearing loss, as can the eardrum punctures that may result from Q-tip use.
And since the skin in your ear canal is delicate, Q-tips can break it easily, creating openings for bacteria to enter, says Dr. Kim.
So, then how do you keep your ears clean? The same way you clean the rest of your body: with a gentle washcloth on the outside. You don’t have to clean the inside at all, since debris falls out on its own.
“Nature made the ear a self-cleansing surface,” says Dr.Kim. If you must use Q-tips, stick to the outer ear, which is less easily damaged. That can help remove external debris or buildup.
How Often Should You Clean Your Ears?
How often you should clean your ears is something that can vary from one person to another, but cleaning it every week for people who do not build up earwax fast is acceptable. For those who have bodies that build up earwax fast, cleaning your ears every three to four days is a must. However, the above-mentioned rule applies to the cleaning of the outer ear.
How Can Bare Pits Organic Armpit Care Products Help Me?
ARMPIT CARE IS SKIN CARE
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