6 Spots On Your Body That Hide The Most Bacteria

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Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly column, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

Two Types of Bacteria on your Body

Did you know? Thousands of bacteria species grow in the cracks, crevices and creases of our body. Research studies have shown that two types of bacteria, Corynebacteria (the pungent type that makes you smell) and Staphlococcaceae (the least smelly bacteria) flourish in moist areas of the body and prefer areas of high humidity.

Body Bacteria at a Glance

These moist areas include the navel (belly button), underarms, groin area, top of your buttocks, the sole of the foot, behind the knees and inner elbows.  

Many of these areas are often overlooked while bathing, therefore take extra precaution as these areas are prone to trapping odorous bacteria.


The underarms are the part of the body most commonly associated with body odor.

This area of the body is packed with apocrine sweat glands, which develop in areas dense with hair follicles.

Sweat on its own doesn’t actually have any odor. Sweat + bacteria = odor. The sweat produced by apocrine glands is thicker, contains more proteins and fats, which produces an unpleasant odor. 


Our belly buttons are probably one of the most ignored parts of the body. After birth, they don’t really serve any purpose. This hollow area of the body ends up trapping dirt, sweat, bacteria and germs. According to a 2011 study done at the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the belly button has 2,368 bacterial species. As a result, it needs some extra attention to keep it clean.


Similarly to underarms, the groin area is home to apocrine sweat glands. In addition to this, the area is rarely exposed to open air and often covered in synthetic fabric, which can encourage the production of moisture and bacteria.


In one day, each foot can produce a pint of sweat! It is no wonder that it is such a stinky area on the body. Although sweat itself doesn’t smell, the combination of sweat and bacteria can create a very unpleasant odor. Most people spent the whole day wearing shoes which can encourage both sweating and bacteria growth.


Whether or not we like to admit it, this area of the body both produces and collects sweat rather easily. It is certainly not the most comfortable place to sweat and people generally experience this issue the most when they are working out or on a hot summer day.


You probably never thought about your inner elbows or behind the knees to be areas that may cause odor. However, even these overlooked crevices can collect a lot of moisture, making it an ideal breeding ground for odorous bacteria.

How to combat bacteria in these 6 areas


Pay more attention to these 6 areas when you are bathing and use a natural antibacterial soap to cleanse.  A natural antibacterial soap will help eliminate bacteria on the skin and help control odor, so that you can stay fresher throughout the day.


With clothing, underwear and even your socks, choose natural fibres like organic cotton or bamboo, which will allow your skin to breathe. Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester will trap moisture and increase bacteria growth. 


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