It looks cool, but is it actually effective—or safe? (Photo: Shutterstock)
Ear candling seems to be popping up in salon windows and Instagram feeds everywhere these days. But what is it exactly? Ear candling, which was a popular practice of the ancient Egyptians, involves lighting a hollow cone-shaped tube that’s soaked in beeswax or paraffin and placing it in the ear canal.
“It’s supposed to remove ear wax from the ear canal by creating a vacuum effect and ‘sucking’ it out,” says Roheen Raithatha, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist in New York City.
Buuut it doesn’t necessarily work that way. Many studies have shown that, not only does ear candling not remove your ear wax, but it can also be dangerous. We’re talking permanent damage—yikes!
“Risks of ear candling include burns to the face, hair, scalp, ear canal, and ear drum and possibly ear drum perforation,” says Raithatha. “It can also leave deposits of candle wax in the ear canal, causing more blockage.” Er, no thanks.
Raithatha and his colleagues at the American Academy of Otolaryngology recommend against trying this trend. Questionable success and risk of permanent damage? We wouldn’t recommend it either.
If self-cleaning isn’t cutting it (and there is a right way to remove ear wax on your own), go see your doc for a closer evaluation. It just goes to show that you don’t need to try every treatment that’s #trending on your fave beauty blog.
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