Spotlight on Roughty-Tufty Nose and Ear Hair

Donna Kim-Brandt

We take hidden hairs, like those inhabiting our nose and ears, mostly for granted. They are out of sight and out of mind, until they become either inflamed or overgrown.

Nose and ear hair actually both serve the same purpose, that of filtering out dust, pathogens, insects and other foreign particles. There have even been studies that show dense hair in the nose lowers development of asthma and seasonal rhinitis, since allergens and pollens are trapped before they can do damage. And in the nasal passage, hairs also trap moisture, which keeps your primary breathing apparatus able to function optimally.

You also house microscopic follicles in the nose and ears which serve another purpose, that of pulsing mucus throughout the nose, mouth, ear canal and throat ecosystem to keep them moist, clean and healthy. (Earwax serves the same purpose in ears.)

Why is it that males, particularly as they age, tend to exhibit this hairiness to the point they become an object of conversation…or titters if not dealt with?  In an enduring memory from my youth that still haunts and titillates me, I can recall looking up at my dentist looming over me, nose hairs waggling with every breath he took while poking around inside my mouth.  Since I couldn’t laugh without painful consequences in the moment, I just watched, marveled and hoped that never happened to me as I aged.

Supposedly a male inherited trait, men do tend to end up with more excess nasal and ear hair than females, in part due to testosterone sensitivity in hair follicles. Testosterone causes hair to grow in the beard, pubic and underarm areas, along with the nose and ears, and simultaneously to shrink on the scalp causing hair loss or thinning there.

Actually, ear and nose hair is only noticeable, or an issue, when the hardworking hairs proliferate, growing in tufts and clusters or as extra-long protrusions. This is the point when men might want to add trimming their nose and ear hair to their regular grooming routine.

While there are several methods to be rid of this unsightly hair, you do need to be careful not to cause problems of inflammation or infection which the hair is ironically designed to prevent. When plucking or snipping, make sure to use clean instruments and rinse between applying to your nose and ears. Be aware that plucking will leave pores open and exposed, so make sure not to contaminate your sensitive schnoz or aural openings at this time.

You have a choice of making your excess hairs disappear through basic trimming with grooming-scissors, special sized clippers that shave as they rotate, or tweezers to pluck out one hair at a time. Pick your torture tool! (That’s only half a joke.)

Yes, these areas of our body are quite sensitive, and hair growth as we’ve been discussing is a natural part of the human growth and aging cycle. So other than cultural pressure and medical symptoms, there is not a real need to trim your nasal and ear hair. Stay rough-guy,  ‘au natural’ with your hairy tufts if you prefer.

However, as with any aspect of personal grooming, looking and feeling your best is often achieved with ‘a little help’ from our grooming tools, techniques and salonistas. Experiment and find what works best for you.

Be Sociable, Share!