Georg Steinhauser, a professor of ecology and radiation research at Leibniz College in Germany has completed various environmental analysis previously decade, however ever since a preferred examine in 2009, he is been identified for one factor: stomach button lint — or, as Steinhauser places it, “navel fluff.” Now, I do know what you are pondering: First, let’s all use the phrase “navel fluff” far more typically any further. And second, what is that, anyway? It is that very curiosity that is led to Steinhauser being hounded for almost 10 years, and to us sitting down with a pair board-certified dermatologists to seek out out, as soon as and for all, what’s up with the fluff.

What’s stomach button lint?

“Stomach button lint is a mix of fibers from clothes, useless pores and skin cells, residue [from] sweat and oil, and different particles,” Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist and founding father of SmarterSkin Dermatology in New York Metropolis, tells Attract. What’s extra, in line with a 2012 examine from a bunch of U.S. universities, the micro organism present in your stomach button, and subsequently the lint, are extremely various. We requested Shah if maybe it’s that microbiome, then, that additionally causes the lint, however, she explains, that whereas the microbiome inhabitants could also be part of the stomach button lint combine, it is not essentially the trigger.

Soren White, a board-certified dermatologist primarily based in New York Metropolis, says that navel fluff is usually solely an issue for individuals who have innie stomach buttons, as fibers can get trapped there. Along with the precise form of your stomach button, it additionally issues how a lot hair you’ve, as that is one other issue that results in fibers and particles getting caught the place it’s possible you’ll least suspect it.

Can anybody get navel fluff?

“Individuals with thicker, longer physique hair are likely to develop stomach button lint,” Shah says. “Consequently, ladies are much less seemingly than males to develop it as a result of they often have finer, shorter physique hair.”

Nonetheless, whatever the trajectory of your stomach button or the quantity of hair that covers it, each White and Shah make a degree of noting that, for those who repeatedly cleanse your stomach button, the formation is loads much less seemingly.

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How do you eliminate it?

When you’re apprehensive showering alone will not do the trick, do not fret, as there are different methods you may go a couple of fluff-free navel. Relying on the materials you prefer to put on, you’ve a couple of choices. When you love sporting cotton, White factors out that its fibers come off extra readily and new shirts are likely to have extra free fibers, so simply be sure you pop it within the wash a couple of occasions earlier than sporting them. When you don’t need to cope with washing earlier than you put on (as a result of, actually, who does?), White says it by no means hurts to go together with extra artificial fibers (i.e. nylon and polyester), as they shed loads much less.

Other than the garments you put on, you may take to attending to the basis of the issue with hair elimination. “Shaving and waxing within the space may be useful, however solely till the hair begins to regrow,” Shah says. However that all the time leaves the choice of laser hair elimination for those who’re critical about making a long-term determination that may enormously influence the formation of stomach button lint.

Is it actually an enormous deal?

Level clean: “[Belly button lint] is innocent, however generally annoying,” White says, efficiently summing up what we’re all pondering. Now, let’s all bear in mind to scrub our stomach buttons and let poor Steinhauser go on together with his life.

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