You Need to Clean These Body Parts at the End of Every Day, Say Experts
Cleanliness is next to godliness, or so the expression goes. But how diligent are we really about our self-maintenance? If we're going by a report in The New York Times, countless Americans have thrown in the towel on bathing regularly over the course of the last year. Now, that probably doesn't seem like a huge deal—and an argument could be made that showering a bit less may actually be better for your health—but it's simply a fact that there are some parts of your body you really must clean every day, and specifically at the end of every day.
"Showering in the evening is better for your skin health for a number of reasons," as cosmetic doctor Rekha Tailor, MD, recently explained Express. "In doing this, it removes the dirt from the air which includes germs, pollution and dust which can gather during the day, as well as sweat which accumulates. By showering at night, you are cleansing your skin of these before you go to sleep, thus enabling it to properly regenerate overnight."
Got it? Excellent. Now read on for the parts of your body you should be scrubbing every day. And for more on proper cleanliness, don't miss these Dirty Hygiene Habits You Didn't Know You Had, Say Experts.
According to Tom Biernacki, PDM, a podiatrist and board-certified foot and ankle surgeon, "foot odor and foot fungus can only survive if there is dead skin or sweaty skin on your feet." Do you know how to get rid of those things? Give them a good wash!
Now, you're doing this for reasons beyond simply not smelling. If left untended, foot and toenail fungus is likely to lead to athlete's foot or infect your nails, which may require surgery to remove them if they get seriously infected.
Be sure to really scrub your feet and don't just expose them to a little hot water. "We may miss out the part between our toes and under the nails and fungus can form, resulting in fungal infections," says Chris Airey, MD, the medical director at Optimale as well as a practicing physician with the NHS. "It's also important to keep the heel and pads of the toes moisturized or painful cracks may form."
Behind Your Ears
Airey explains that not cleaning behind your ears regularly can result in "infections or seborrheic dermatitis, or even just a bad smell." You'd think this would get noticed before it became a problem, but many people tend to neglect this out-of-sight area.
"Behind your ears you have skin folds in addition to a high amount of sebaceous glands," explains Sandra El Hajj, MD, a naturopathic medical doctor specializing in preventive health. "These glands can collect sweat while secreting sebum. This accumulation may lead to the accumulation of bacteria that may create a cheese-like smell. All these secretions are normal; however, it is your responsibility to keep that area cleansed on a daily basis." And for more hygiene facts you can use, don't miss What Happens to Your Body When You Take a Cold Shower, Says Science.
"Clean your tongue everyday when you brush," urges William L. Balanoff, science consultant for Abova Health, executive clinical director of Orthodontic Care of Georgia and the CEO of Oral Care Perfected. "Everyone knows to brush and floss their teeth everyday but most patients never clean or scrape their tongue."
Balanoff adds that your tongue is a source of bad breath and can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. A buildup of this bacteria can result in gingivitis, discoloration, or even duller taste buds. "Most toothbrushes have a tongue cleaner on the backside of the brush," says Balanoff. "Use it regularly to avoid bad breath and promote a cleaner, healthier mouth."
Under Your Arms
Like your feet, you can tell pretty quickly when your armpits are in need of a wash. But it's also an area where the skin is sensitive and more prone to ingrown hairs and potential infection. Waqas Ahmad Buttar, MD, a family physician at Sachet Infusions, points out that armpits are among the areas of the body "where most of the pathogens attack due to increased sweating. There is also the growth of hair in the groin and armpits, which, when combined with sweating in hot, humid weather, may cause infections."
While deodorant may help control issue around unwanted smells, to really ensure your body is healthy and free from damaging bacteria, it's best to reach for the bar of soap. And for more reasons you should consider bathing more, don't miss the 5 Things Taking a Hot Bath Does to Your Body, Says Science.