You shower regularly, you know the “right way” to wash your hair (although, is there really?), and you clean your face with a soap so specifically formulated to suit your skin, it’s like it came out of your mother’s womb with you. But did you know there’s a part of your body you’re probably not cleaning enough?
We’re talking about your belly button, friends, and things need to change.
As Teen Vogue first reported, the belly button — medically known as the “umbilicus” — has been tragically ignored for too long, resulting in stinky navel situations nationwide. So what’s a human being in possession of a belly button to do?
Expert opinions vary on how exactly to clean your belly button, but the dermatologists we spoke to all said that gentle — emphasis on gentle — daily cleaning is important.
Jessica J. Krant, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, says, “Gently with soapy water and hands only” is the way to keep your innie, outie, or in-betweenie clean.
“Your belly button should be cleaned daily in the shower just like your other skin. That is sufficient for most people,” says Shari Lipner, assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Depending on the shape of your belly button, you may need to gently clean with a cotton swab soaked in gentle soap or rubbing alcohol.”
Dr. Robert Brodell, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, agrees that gentle, daily cleansing is key — he recommends Cetaphil soapless cleanser and other mild soaps — but says that “alcohol is drying. If you use rubbing alcohol, [keep exposure short] and follow with a moisturizing lotion.”
For those of you who have belly button piercings, note that they increase your chance of developing an infection, as does undergoing chemotherapy, or having diabetes or an immunocompromising condition, such as HIV, though anyone can get a yeast infection if their belly button remains moist or goes uncleaned. Yes, a yeast infection in your belly button. Not delightful.
Basically, you guys, just wash your belly buttons in the shower and you’re good. And if anything seems amiss, i.e. stinky or red? Go see your primary care physician or a dermatologist ASAP.