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J Otolaryngol. 1991 Jun;20(3):212-5.

The organic composition of earwax.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Earwax is a mixture of desquamated keratinocytes and hair combined with the secretions of both the ceruminous and the sebaceous glands of the external ear canal. This study analyzed earwax using the combination analytical technique of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. The major organic components of earwax identified were long chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, alcohols, squalene and cholesterol. This study demonstrated that it is not currently possible to quantify statistically the substances which constitute earwax with accuracy. The presence of foreign substances within earwax was identified as a complicating factor in the analysis of earwax.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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