Cristy Burne

Science writer, children's author, editor

Up to your ears in wax?

My very first article…from 2002.

All writers have to start somewhere, and I started here.

After secretly wanting and wishing to be a writer, I finally put pen to paper in 2002.

I submitted this article to the newly launched ScienceMax magazine, and they said yes!

So…don’t sit around, picking at your ears. Start writing your dream!

Up to your ears in wax…

Is yours dry, or goopy? Is it tan and flaky, or brown and sticky?

Humans only have two types of earwax, and you’re stuck with yours for life.

What kind do you have?

Rice-bran earwax is dry, flaky, and grey-tan in colour. Honey earwax is gooey, gluey, and brown. For those of us with honey earwax, there’s smelly news. Scientists have just linked wet and goopy earwax to wild and smelly body odour.

Body odour is produced by bacteria. They chow down on your sweat, and produce somegoopy ear wax really foul-smelling waste. That’s right; body odour is caused by bacteria poo.

Your sweat doesn’t smell at all!

Most of the thousands of sweat glands in your body produce clear salty sweat that bacteria don’t like to eat.

However, the sweat glands under your armpits produce a thick and milky sweat that bacteria just love to munch.

These glands are called apocrine glands, and unless you wash pretty regularly, any place with apocrine glands can soon begin to stink.

Another place you’ll find apocrine glands is in your ears. The apocrine glands in your ears help to produce earwax.

But what is earwax exactly?

Well, for a start it’s not even wax. It’s made up of dead skin, sweat, oil, and stuff called ceruman that oozes from your apocrine glands.

Scientists have discovered that people whose apocrine glands produce honey earwax also seem to produce extra-smelly sweat. They hope to use this link between your earwax and your armpits to find new ways to fight body odour.

But hang on.

If all apocrine glands attract bacteria and bad smells, why you don’t your ears smell bad? Well, luckily, your earwax is acidic, and bacteria don’t like to grow in acidic places.

This may mean you can use earwax instead of deodorant…

Things to read while you pick your ears…

 

2 thoughts on “Up to your ears in wax?

  1. And did you know that you can make a functioning candle out of human earwax? And that ear wax has played an important role for scientists and anthropologists, to track migratory patterns of our ancestors. Read more: http://www.hearlink.com.au/industry-news/spotlight-ear-wax-part-I/

    Like

  2. i got itichy ear

    Like

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