Why you *really* should be washing your bellybutton

As Dr Lucy Glancey, the founder of Dr Glancy Clinics, explains, just like any other part of your body, your belly button should also be frequently washed, particularly if you’ve got a belly button piercing and don’t change the stud too often.”

We’re sorry, we know this isn’t the most appealing of topics but it’s a question that hundreds of thousands of people Google every month, with searches for ‘how do I clean my belly button?’ up 110% this year. Instead of shying away from the rather gruesome topic, we’re going to tackle it head on and seek out expert advice to answer your musings once and for all. Disclaimer: If you’re eating your lunch, click away now.

Right, let’s get to the gross stuff. “The belly button area is dark and moist and therefore becomes a breeding area for bacteria and yeast. Left untouched, the build-up of dirt, dead skin, bacteria, sweat, soap, shower gel and lotions and potions can lead to crustiness, scabs, unsavoury smells and possible infection.” Deep breaths, people.

Obviously frequent showers and washing the belly button area will help to remove some of this build-up, but if you have what’s called an ‘innie’ belly button then you may need to factor in some time to clean the area properly with a cotton swab and some anti-bacterial soap or you can gently use a wash cloth or cotton swap with a small amount of alcohol inside the belly button area. Make sure you fully rinse the area afterwards.

If you have an ‘outie’ belly button then it’s much easier to clean and you can simply do this in the shower or bath with a wash cloth or sponge. “I suggest using a gentle cleansing wash, lather up and rinse thoroughly,” adds Dr Glancey. “Unlike an ‘innie’ belly button, you can put moisturiser on to keep it soft and avoid crustiness.”

If you’re aware of a foul stench coming from your belly button and no amount of washing the area has got rid of it then you need to visit a dermatologist who will be able to determine if you have an infection and prescribe some medication such as antibiotics to help clear it.

Well done, you made it to the end.

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