1. Your Back
It's not enough to simply wet your back with some water while standing in the shower. According to Dr. Robert Glatter, assistant professor of emergency medicine at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital, you should "invest in a back scrubber or have your partner wash it for you with an exfoliating bath sponge, loofah, or washcloth at least two to three times a week to reduce the risk of developing skin and soft-tissue infections.”
2. Your Scalp
If you don't pay attention to your scalp when washing your hair, you could be making a big mistake. Dr. Glatter says that "while it’s not necessary to wash your hair daily, it is important to scrub and massage your scalp daily to avoid buildup of dead skin cells, which body mites and bacteria feast on.” He also claims that "massaging your scalp daily with warm water not only increases blood flow but helps to manually remove the dead cells which can lead to dandruff, as well as an itchy, red, and flaky scalp.”
3. Under Your Fingernails
If you never scrub your nails while washing your hands, you aren't really doing a great job at protecting yourself from harmful germs. What you need to do is to soak a cotton swab in some warm and soapy water, before swabbing it under your nails in order to remove all forms of dirt, grime, and debris that will certainly have accumulated under there.
4. Behind Your Ears
Your mom was totally right about this one! According to Dr. Glatter, "the warm and recessed area is full of sebaceous glands which secrete sebum.” This is bad because "sebum provides an ideal hiding place for Staph aureus and Tinea capitis and corporis bacteria, and if not cleaned daily, may start to produce a musty odor.”
5. Your Belly Button
“Belly buttons are warm, with nooks and crevices, making them a great place for bacteria to hide,” claims Dr. Glatter. This is why it's important to swab yours once a day using a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or warm, soapy water.
6. The Bottom and Sides of Your Feet
Simply soaking your feet in the bath or shower is nowhere near enough effort for proper foot health. According to Dr. Glatter, “Staph aureus and Tinea pedis (the fungus that causes athlete’s foot) are common in these areas, especially if you sweat vigorously, and even more so if you don’t wear socks, or simply wear sandals or flip-flops.” This is why you should wash and dry between your toes using some mild soap every day.
7. Your Elbows and Creases
“Your elbows and the creases are not only hidden to you in your daily life, but you often place them on dirty surfaces (think countertops, desks, restaurant tables) without realizing it,” Dr. Glatter explains. “You can develop dry and scaly skin on your elbows that may be prone to micro skin breaks that can serve as portals of entry for bacteria, leading to skin and soft-tissue infections from Staph aureus and MRSA.” You should clean these areas at least once a day with a bath pouf or washcloth.
8. The Back of Your Neck
The back of your neck is a warm region, which is often moist, particularly if you exercise frequently or have long hair. This makes it enticing for both bacteria and body mites to thrive. You should clean the back of your neck daily with some mild soap and a warm, wet washcloth.