You may consider yourself a clean person, but even if you shower daily, there are probably areas of your body that you don’t wash properly. Some of these areas are often forgotten about, which can make them collection points for dead skin, bacteria, and worse.
There are around 1000 species of bacteria on human skin. While many of these species are not harmful, and are even critical to your health, chances are, your body is harboring more dirt than you think.
Here are some of the nooks and crannies on your body that are probably not getting cleaned often enough.
Under your breasts
Sorry to get a little awkward right off the bat, but the under-boob area can be seriously underwashed. If you’re a lady who has little more going on up top, there is likely an area under those ta-tas that never sees the light of day. This fold can collect sweat, moisture, old skin, and bacteria, resulting in rashes or dermatitis. Make sure you are lifting up your ladies and giving them a wash each time in the shower, followed by a thorough towel dry when finished. This goes for any other folds or rolls on the body as well – don’t be ashamed, we’ve all got them!
The underside of our nails is incredibly dirty. Everything you touch and handle throughout the day can leave residues that stay under your nails. If you don’t wash your hands properly, this can accumulate into some pretty nasty grime that stays there until you clean it. Be sure to use a nail brush to scrub under your nails regularly to avoid grimy nails.
Inside your belly button
When compared to other parts of the body, nothing comes close to hosting more bacteria than the belly button. A 2012 study of belly buttons revealed 2,368 species of bacteria – 1,458 of which may be new to science. It’s no surprise, since the belly button is a dark, moist environment where skin contacts skin. It doesn’t often get washed or dried, and if bacteria and yeast are allowed to breed, it can lead to foul odor and even infection. Use a cotton swab or washcloth for gentle cleansing, and dry your belly button thoroughly to remove the excess moisture after each shower.
Because our ears are filled with wax, there is a ton of natural moisture for bacteria to thrive in. Our ears are an easily forgotten part of the body, but keeping them clean is essential. When showering, use your washcloth to clean around the ears, especially at the back. Remember to get into the small canals around the ear but avoid digging into the main one. Be gentle, but clean thoroughly to remove any gunk and dry skin from in and around the ears.
Experts say that at any given time, there are more than 600 different kinds of bacteria inside of the mouth. Believe it or not, a simple kiss can transfer about 80 million bacteria between two mouths! If you keep up your brushing routine, you will have about a thousand bacteria living on each tooth surface. However, those who don’t practice good oral hygiene can have up to 100 million or even 1 billion bacteria on each tooth.
Even if you do brush your teeth, what about all the other surfaces inside your mouth? This next one is probably one of the most forgotten areas that needs cleaning.
Those toothpaste commercials highlight the bacteria on the teeth, but what about the tongue? That textured surface is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive. Bacteria will happily hide in these areas until it is removed. If you don’t clean your tongue regularly, bacteria living there can lead to bad breath or even infections. To clean your tongue, all you have to do is use a tongue cleaner to scrape off the grime, or use your toothbrush as you brush your teeth.
Although your back gets wet while you’re standing in the shower, it needs more TLC than you’re likely giving it. Invest in a back scrubber or have your partner wash it for you with an exfoliating bath sponge, loofah, or washcloth at least two to three times a week to reduce the risk of acne and blackheads.
Here is another body part that is often “out of sight, out of mind”. Have you noticed that your elbows look dry or even discolored? This may be due to the buildup of dead skin cells. Try using an exfoliating scrub and loofah to remove dry skin and refresh those rough elbows. After exfoliating, don’t forget to apply a moisturizer to soften the skin.
Between your toes
Although feet aren’t naturally moist, we often walk around in shoes and socks, which causes sweat to form and bacteria to thrive. Also, any time spent in public areas such as swimming pools or locker rooms can expose feet to unwanted pathogens. Prevent infections and stinky feet by properly washing and drying in between your toes. We often wash and scrub our feet, but it’s also important to remember to take care of those hidden areas between the toes. Letting soap trickle down from the rest of your body to your feet when showering isn’t enough. Scrub with a nail brush to get to those hard to reach places, wash with soap and water, and dry those areas well after your shower.
Human bodies are pretty gross when you examine them closely, but now that you know about these forgotten nooks and crannies, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a little extra TLC.