There are parts of your body that you should never touch. Read on to know more.
1. YOUR EAR CANAL
You should never stick your fingers—or anything else—in your ears. “Introducing anything into the ear canal can tear the thin skin that lines the ear canal,” says John K Niparko, M.D., professor and chair of the department of otolaryngology-head & neck surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
2. YOUR FACE
You can use your hands to wash your face or apply skincare. But otherwise, keep your paws off. When you rest your hands on a germy surface and then bring them to your forehead, it increases your likelihood of getting sick—and breaking out, too. Your fingers contain oils that can plug your pores, says Men’s Healthdermatology advisor Adnan Nasir, M.D.
3. YOUR BUTT
Wiping and washing aside, don’t pick your butt. Just don’t. “The anus does contain bacteria that could potentially be harmful,” says Jared W. Klein M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the after care clinic at Harborview Medical Center. After you poop or touch your butt for any other reason, wash your hands thoroughly.
4. YOUR EYES
Unless you’re putting in contacts or washing away a particle that found its way into your peepers, keep them off limits. You can easily introduce germs into your eyes, says Men’s Health ophthalmology advisor Kimberly Cockerham, M.D. Those bugs could cause anything from pinkeye to a scarier infection. Follow her simple rule: “Don’t touch and don’t rub.”
5. YOUR MOUTH
Recent research from the U.K. found that people put their fingers on or around their mouths an average of 23.6 times per hour when they were bored at work. And they still did it 6.3 times an hour when they were busy! That’s a problem: In a landmark study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, a third to a quarter of germs tested transferred from study subjects’ fingers to their mouths. Maybe you should think about stealing your kid’s pacifier.
6. THE INSIDE OF YOUR NOSE
Quit digging for gold: In a 2006 study of ear, nose, and throat patients published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, nose pickers were 51 percent more likely to carry Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in their schnozzes than those who kept their hands off.
7. THE SKIN UNDER YOUR NAILS
Lots of nasty bacteria, including staph, can live there.“Your nails should be short to reduce the chances of bacterial carriage, and such nails only need a gentle nail brush to remove debris and often,” says David De Berker, MRCP, consultant dermatologist at the British Dermatology Center.