We often take our showers for granted, assuming that the water passing over our bodies will clean all the nooks and crannies. Well, that may not necessarily be true. Some body parts require a little more daily attention, and when left unnoticed not only creates a stink, but also helps bacteria thrive. Here’s nine places you forgot to wash but should.
Your toes need your attention
Sure, soapy water hits your toes daily, but are they actually clean? Not really. Keeping your feet clean reduces problems caused by harmful bacteria and helps deflect fungal infections like athletes’ feet, suggests Harvard Health. And if you simply can’t reach your toes, or even want to attempt balancing on one foot to scrub the other, consider a daily foot bath. A foot bath, with a little apple cider vinegar added, can smooth rough feet and soften up calloused skin. ACV, after all, is one of those essential products you must have in your bathroom. Just make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after washing, particularly between your toes, since bacteria and fungi thrive in a moist environment.
Your back could use some attention
Soapy hair rinsed down your back does not equal a clean back. In fact, shampoo and conditioner could have a detrimental effect on your skin, causing breakouts commonly referred to as “bacne.” Your back needs some dedicated attention, but not too much that you tear the skin. Dead skin, sweat, and dirt can build up and collect on the back — especially after workouts. An exfoliating bath sponge with a handle works best for reaching around and cleaning this often-neglected area. Research suggests that the skin is a breeding ground for diverse organisms that can cause infections. Take note, for acne prone skin, wash your back only after the conditioner has run down it to avoid any skin reaction.
Ring around the collar means a dirty neck
In your rush to jump in and out of the shower each morning, there’s a good chance you’ve missed your neck — once again. And, even though you often cleanse and moisturize the front of your neck, what about the back? In fact, it’s the back of the neck, where sweat, oil, and dirt naturally collect. Gentle scrubbing and exfoliation will keep you smelling fresh and clean — as well as your collars.
Your derriere is calling
You’ve worked out especially hard at the gym and then rushed home to make dinner. Sound familiar? But what you forgot was to wash your sweat-soaked derriere. People often forget and neglect this area until butt acne appears. Wash and gently exfoliate this area each and every day. If you can’t shower right after your workout, use an oil-free cleansing wipe to gently clean your sweaty skin. In addition, change out of sweaty clothes asap, suggests the American Academy of Dermatology.
Belly button care
Your belly button is a bacteria trap when forgotten. In fact, it can breed over 2000 species of bacteria. According to the Belly Button Biodiversity project (BBB) researchers published the first of many experiments, showcasing what exactly is growing in the belly button. Sixty belly buttons were swabbed, and what they found was a total of over 2000 types of bacteria. So, when you forget to wash this seemingly little, insignificant button, the bacteria that it’s harboring will feast on oil, dead skin, and sweat, among other things that find their way in there. The less you wash, the worse that odor becomes. Plus, the deeper your belly button is, the greater chance for dirt and germs to accumulate.
Behind your ears
Sweat accumulates all over your body, and that includes behind your ears. In case you didn’t notice, the sweat and oil that accumulates there secretes an odor. Since people can’t see behind the ears, they occasionally forget about this area. A fact that, according to Medical News, could cause irritation and even infection. So, scrub up!
Don’t forget your tongue
While brushing your teeth is always important, it really only cleans your teeth and misses your tongue. But the tongue has much more bacteria than teeth do. Your tongue, often neglected, colonizes over 500 bacterial species according to research, which is probably why you shouldn’t neglect it. Experts suggest cleaning your tongue as much as you brush your teeth, which should be about twice a day — morning and before bed. Remember, brushing or scraping the back of your tongue is a priority because, unlike the front of your tongue, that area is not self-cleaning. Your breath will thank you.
Under your fingernails
Now more than ever, we need proper hand hygiene. Germs are everywhere, and a major cause of spread is through our hands. But while you may be washing and sanitizing more than you ever imagined, you could be missing one important area — under your fingernails. Research suggests that what lurks under your nails can even cause diarrhea and vomiting. And the reason, poor hygiene in the bathroom, handling raw meat, and changing diapers. And just because you have nails that look clean and polished, artificial nails prove to be the grossest.
Yep, there are a lot of body parts to clean daily, it’s all part of the human experience. But beyond just smelling clean and fresh, good hygiene is essential, now more than ever, for staying germ-free and healthy.