WHAT IS EARWAX MADE OUT OF?
— Emily, 7, FL
Earwax, or cerumen, is a sticky yellow substance made in the outer ear canal. Earwax is made of fatty acids, cholesterol and keratin (keratin also helps make up the outer layer of your skin and your hair). The wax has many important jobs. It acts as a barrier between the outside world and your sensitive ear canal — dust and dirt get trapped in the wax so it won’t harm your inner ear where the eardrum is. Earwax also keeps the inside of your ears moisturized, so they’re not dry and itchy. More impressively, earwax can actually fight off infections that could hurt the inside of your ear. In fact, doctors recommend that you don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears. The excess wax should fall out naturally on its own!