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Excessive earwax, oil production, and acne.

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Genetics is definitely involved with acne, but to what extent and the specific gene (or genes) remains unknown. I, however, have a theory on what gene may be directly or indirectly causing oil. My ears produce a LOT of earwax. In fact, so much earwax that I had to go to the doctor a few times because I had impacted earwax, and it has caused tinnitus. I also have very oily skin. My dad, brother, and a lot of my relatives also produce earwax and have a lot of facial oils, despite having great diets. (I tried changing my diet and it didn't work). Human facial sebum is composed of 25% wax monoesters, 41% tryglycerides, 16% free fatty acids and 12% squalene (6% is other). Earwax is 60% keratin, 12–20% saturated and unsaturated long-chain fatty acids, and 6-9% cholesterol. These substances have been implicated in the development of acne in some way, shape, or form. (Members have been talking about these substances in the development of acne in the Nutrition forum a lot).

Earwax production is different in different races, and these differences have been traced to the ATP-cassette binding C11 gene. The "most problematic" of the earwax (the wet type) is in white and black people (1); these groups also tend to have the most persistent or severe kind of acne (Source: acne.org ethnicity page) Variations of this gene is also responsible for less sweat production.

I think I may be onto something here, but, then again, I may be wrong and grasping for straws. What do you think? Do you have oily skin and a lot of or bad earwax?

Update/add on: The ATP-cassette binding gene is heavily involved in the transportation of lipids, drugs, and other substances, according to the Wikipedia page of it. There's a lot there (a "big gene", if you will, so I suppose it could be involved with acne).

References:

(1) Overfield, Theresa (1985). Biologic variation in health and illness: race, age, and sex differences. Menlo Park, Calif: Addison-Wesley, Nursing Division. p. 46. "Most common type in Whites and Blacks is dark brown and moist. Dry wax, most common in Orientals and Native Americans, is gray and dry. It is flaky and may form a thin mass that lies in the ear canal."

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Yes, earwax, excessive or not serves a function and so if you don't need to take it out, you should just leave it alone. :angel:

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Yes, earwax, excessive or not serves a function and so if you don't need to take it out, you should just leave it alone. :angel:

I think sometimes my body thinks I can never have too much of a good thing. :) Darn earwax.

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Quite true!

Since a little kid, I have literally had CHUNKS of earwax fall out of my ear as I wake up in the morning. I have to still clean my ear every single day or I have shiny brown stuff hanging out my ears. Gross. But when my acne is at its worst, my earwax is also.

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Not sure about the ear wax thing (never had an issue there, but I think it also depends on the size of your ear canals) but there is a big study being carried out on the genetics of acne in the UK soon, so maybe you'll get to find out if you're right!


Started (Ro)Accutane :)

Month 1- 20mg

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I literally do not care what you think about accutane, it was MY choice to take it, respect that.


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I have had way too much earwax since I was a kid. My dad is the same way. After being on 100mg spiro I found that my earwax production slowed way down. I hardly ever have to clean my ears anymore.


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I have stubborn acne and extremely oily skin, but almost no ear wax at all. I do, however, get acne inside of my ears.

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I think there is a very strong connection here, and while I don't know about the specific enzyme referenced above, it looks like a nice target to downregulate. I also have skin that is excessively oily, and I often have to run home over lunch to wipe my face off, because oils will bead up out of my pores at all times of the day. I don't necessarily have any sweating problems, but I have also noticed that I build up ear wax at an alarming rate. That's what drew my attention to this article, because I searched google for "ear wax oily skin" to see if there was a connection, and this was the second hit.

As a result of this condition, I have seen several dermatologists, and am constantly prescribed high strength astringents to relieve my facial oils, but to no avail. I was also prescribed glycopyrrolate (i think) which was said to limit oil production, although it didn't really help at all. All I know is, I am in my late 20's and my acne has not slowed a bit since the day i turned 15, and it is very discouraging. I also don't know if it is the quality of the oil production of my face, but certain fabrics such as t-shirts and especially pillowcases even appear to become bleached after contacting my facial oils. (it's pretty pathetic, I know). I have no idea what would cause an oily substance to produce this, unless there was also a concurrent ph imbalance issue causing the oils to be extremely alkaline/basic.

I also have completely cut out fatty foods from my diet. I don't eat out at fast food restaurants, I don't eat potato chips, and I never eat fried food. However, as RenegadeLamp pointed out, dietary changes do not seem to work. The only option I seem to have is to deal with it. I clean out my earwax often twice a day, I wipe the oils from my face with a towel several times a day, and I continue to break out frequently, despite constant facial care. If anyone is doing dermatological research, I think we found the next great puzzle for you to solve.

As a side note, and possibly entirely unrelated, I have a constant throat-clearing issue (I don't smoke), and this causes my throat to be highly sensitive. I have to clear my throat several times a day, because it feels like mucus/phlegm keeps building up. Again, I tried to medicate with an expectorant (such as mucinex) and this has never once helped. Yet another problem that several doctors have shrugged their shoulders at in bewilderment.

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This is really interesting! I have a major earwax problem. Never would have made that connection.

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