Girls' World - - Science Stumpers -

— 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!

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