Not to gross you out, but your body is crawling with bacteria − just you and 100 billion very close friends in all shapes, sizes and appetites. No matter how many times you wash your hands or how hard you scrub in the shower, there are some things that you’ll never shake. Markham Heid of MensHealth.com shares 3 things lurking in your nooks and crannies that will have you totally freaked out:
You can’t see them but almost everyone has eight-legged, slug-like parasitic mites crawling on their eyelashes. Demodex mites like to feed on the waxy oil your eyelash follicles secrete, explains Jeffrey Miller, M.D., an allergy and immunology specialist — but they can also take up residence on your eyebrows and nose hair. Demodex mites tend to increase in frequency in older people, which can lead to inflammation around the eyes. While the mere thought of these critters may make your skin scrawl, doctors say eyelash mites are not a cause for concern.
Belly button bacteria
Be honest, when is the last time you hopped in the shower and took time to soap up your innie? A recent study in the journal PLOS One found that the average belly button harbors roughly 70 different species of bacteria. Some of the bacteria were so exotic that researchers actually had trouble identifying it. Heid writes, “One person had bacteria previously found only in Japanese soil—even though the guy had never been to Japan — while two other people had bacteria scientists usually find only in the polar ice caps and thermal vents.” However gross it sounds, most of these bacteria are virtually harmless, according to researchers of the Belly Button Biodiversity Project at North Carolina State University, and lots of them actually kill off their disease-causing cousins.
The top layer of your skin is composed of thousands of dead skin cells. Most will flake off every minute of every day you’re alive, but the rest are just hanging out on your body, unbeknownst to the naked eye. However, if you have the common skin condition eczema — characterized by red, itchy skin — “you may actually have mites living on and feeding off of the dead cells on your body,” Dr. Miller tells Men’s Health. Eczema is a chronic condition that mainly affects children, but can continue into adulthood.