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You're Forgetting to Wash This Body Part Every Time You Shower

You may think you're scrubbing up the right way every day, but you're probably ignoring this spot.

By now, you probably think you have your shower routine down pat. And even though you likely never forget to scrub your underarms or wash your hair, there may be other extremities that don't get as much attention. In fact, in most cases, you're forgetting to wash one body part every time you shower: your feet. But there's plenty of reason to give them some extra attention. Read on to find out more, and for the spot you should skip, here's The One Body Part You Should Never Clean, According to Doctors.

Proper foot hygiene should be a basic part of everyone's daily routine, making sure to use mild soap, to wash between the toes, and to dry them thoroughly while toweling off, according to the Institute for Preventive Foot Health. The simple act of doing this can help stave off a host of potentially painful health issues including staph infections, plantar warts, and athlete's foot.

close up of white man's feet in the shower

The truth is, much like the rest of your body, your feet are covered in more than just dirt at the end of a long day. "The feet are the closest proximity to the ground, which means they easily pick up dirt and bacteria when walking around," Emily Splichal, DPM, a New York-based podiatrist, told Well+Good.

Robert K. Lee, DPM, chief of podiatric foot and ankle surgery at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, told Self that bacteria on your feet "feed on waste products that come out of your sweat glands, and they produce odor as they build up."

Podiatrists also recommend making a few changes to your overall hygiene routine to take better care of your feet, like making sure to wear clean socks made of moisture-wicking synthetic fibers, rotating your shoes every other day to allow for proper drying out, and considering orthotics if you're experiencing lingering issues. Read on for the only other body parts you need to remember to wash daily, and for more self-cleaning mistakes to avoid, This Is How Often You Should Really Be Showering, Doctors Say.

Your groin area

Soap bar and foam on marble plate

In an interview with The Atlantic, dermatologist Sandy Skotnicki, MD, described how most people wash their bodies too much. In fact, she said, you only need to scrub down three body parts daily. The first? Your feet. The second? Your groin. Read on to find out the third. And for more proof of the importance of cleaning this area, check out Nearly Half of Americans Don't Change Their Underwear Daily.

Your armpits

woman smelling herself after a shower

Your underarms are the third spot Skotnicki says to scrub with soap and water on the daily. "While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people," adds Robert H. Shmerling, MD, of Harvard Health Publishing. "Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice."

Your hands

person washes their hands

Even before the COVID pandemic, washing your hands regularly has been pivotal to kill and stop the spread of germs. Hand-washing can prevent around 30 percent of diarrhea-related sicknesses and about 20 percent of respiratory illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Still, the agency notes, just 19 percent of the world washes their hands after going to the bathroom. And for more on hand-washing, check out This Is When You're Still Forgetting to Wash Your Hands, Study Says.

Your teeth

Woman looking in the mirror and brushing her teeth, ways you're damaging teeth

It's no surprise that you should be brushing your teeth twice a day every day, according to the American Dental Association. Without proper oral hygiene, the plaque and bacteria covering your teeth can build up and lead to tooth decay at first, but that's just the start of your problems. Poor oral hygiene can lead to heart disease, arthritis, and respiratory illness. And for more on taking care of your mouth, check out the 25 Things You're Doing That Would Horrify Your Dentist.

Your face

washing face, exfoliate, look younger, best skin

Kanika Tim, founder of Revita Skin Clinic, says that no matter your skin type or day-to-day activities, you should wash your face twice a day—once in the morning and once at night, she told Heathline. That's because you encounter so many elements out in the world that can clog your pores, so you need to remove the grime regularly to avoid breakouts, irritation, and infections from germs. And for more useful content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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