Despite popular beliefs about its uncleanliness, it helps keep our ears clean by filtering dust, debris, and other substances, such as shampoo and crayons, and protects the ear canal from infection.
The ear canal is essentially a cul de sac of skin that, unlike skin everywhere else, doesn't get to remove dead cells through physical erosion. Ear wax is the creative solution to this problem.
Produced by the sebaceous and cerumenous glands in the ear canal, ear wax contains a range of organic compounds, including saturated and unsaturated long-chain fatty acids, alcohols, squalene, and cholesterol. Its precise composition varies between people and will depend on diet, ethnicity, their age, and the environment.
Ear wax has an important role in the ear's function and, in most cases, doesn't need to be got rid of. Our ears are self-cleaning, and if functioning as they should, require no input from us to keep them clean.