Those in the U.K. refer to it as belly button fluff, but around here, it’s called belly button lint. Let’s face it; all belly buttons gather dead skin cells, clothing fiber, sweat, etc. There are simple methods for cleaning out the lint, but please, no sharp objects inside your belly button. You don’t want to irritate the delicate navel skin.
A chemist from the Vienna University of Technology did a lot of research on the funky stuff found and discovered some interesting facts. The U.K’s The Telegraph reports that it is unique body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and draws them into the navel. Dr. George Steinhauser found out that the scale structure of the hair acts as a friction-hook. The hairs pick up tiny clothing fibers and direct the lint towards the navel.
Dr. Steinhauser has a way to immediately get rid of the navel fluff or lint. He recommends shaving your belly. That will result in a fluff-free navel but only until the hairs grow back.
For most of us, however, we prefer to simply clean the belly button. Women’s Health Magazine interviewed a few dermatologists on the topic of properly doing it. Dr. Noelani González, MD, director of cosmetic dermatology (Mount Sinai West, New York City) has some advice.
She has an easy method; wash the area with a bar of gentle soap and water. Then, dry it with a towel. That’s all. You don’t want to irritate the navel by using alcohol-based products. Also, avoid scratching or being abrasive when removing belly button lint. You could actually cause a yeast or bacterial infection to develop. If you notice a white, brown or yellow discharge leaking from your navel, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Poking something sharp into your navel is never a good thing to do. It could cause bleeding, infection, harm, etc. If you scratched your navel accidentally, then, apply a little petroleum jelly to it for soothing relief.
Those with an “innie” belly button gather more lint than someone with an “outie” belly button. That is due to the physical shape of the navel. By the way, men tend to accumulate more lint or fluff because they have thicker and more abdominal hair. Also, many men gather blue colored navel fluff from wearing mostly blue or gray trousers.
Believe it or not, belly button lint is a popular gag gift at parties. It’s even sold as authentic navel fluff or lint online here. Some folks collect their lint.
There is no shame finding lint trapped in your belly button. It’s a most natural occurrence and really harmless. Gentle cleansing removes it and any lurking odor.