Q-tip detractors point to ear candling as a better alternative for cleaning out nasty earwax. This popular spa service may sound like a good idea, but, really, your money is going up in flames.
Is Ear Candling Effective?
While many people use Q-tips or tissues to try to dig out ear wax, ear candling is supposed to do pretty much the same thing. On the surface, it does make some sense. Inserting the tube-shaped candle into the ear could, theoretically, create a vacuum and suction out wax.
However, a 1996 study disproved the vacuum effect theory. Moreover, the study determined that the buildup produced at the base of the candle was in fact…candle wax. Ultimately, those subjected to ear candling had the same amount of earwax after the treatment.
Ear Candling Risks
Not only is ear candling not effective, but it also carries several risks.
Of course, you are lighting a fire right next to your head, so that is an inherent risk that does not exist with a trusty Q-tip or tissue. And for those with long hair, it can be quite easy for the flame to come in contact and ruin your luscious locks.
But, weirdly, ear candling can actually increase the amount of wax in your ears. Because there isn’t really a vacuum effect, existing ear wax can get pushed further down, and candle wax can even build up on top.
Even the FDA has issued its own warnings about the spa treatment, stating that there have been many cases of burns, blockages and punctured ear drums that have required surgical intervention.
Punctured eardrums! Sounds terrible.
So while it sounds good in theory, hear me out and steer clear of ear candling the next time you need to clean out your ear wax. In fact, don’t clean your earwax at all – your ears self-clean well enough that you really don’t need to do anything. If there’s a blockage, go to a doctor and they’ll clean it out for you.