Photograph of a man rinsing his hands with water after washing them with soap, as part of smallpox post-vaccination care, 2003. Image courtesy CDC/Kelly Thomas. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Health - Wellness
The Dirtiest Part Of Your Body Isn't What
You Think
It is easy to assume that the hands are the dirtiest part of the body, since they regularly touch everyday items where most germs commonly live. As it turns out, another part of the body outranks the hands regarding uncleanliness.
A study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE discovered over 2,300 species of bacteria that call the navel, or belly button, home. According to Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett, "Any fold where it's warm and moist is where bacteria can breed," and “People who are very overweight and people with diabetes, especially Type 2, are at a higher risk of accumulating bacteria.”
Kellett also cautions people about getting their belly button pierced, because this can create a new portal for even more unwanted bacterial guests. She also recommends regularly keeping the belly button area clean and dry.
On the other hand, the eyes are considered the cleanest part of the body due to their natural cleansing and protective functions, and eyelids also act as a protective barrier between the eye and any outside elements. Another part of the body that does a pretty good job of staying clean is the ear.