"I think one thing that people need to understand is that the anus and anal area is very thin, so you really need to treat it with respect," says Dr. Goldstein. "Not a lot of people are taught from their parents the right way to actually wipe." Your bowel movements often leave behind a lot of mess, which means you're constantly rubbing your butt with toilet paper. Dr. Goldstein's more ardent suggestion is to eat a well-balanced diet rich in fiber to "bulk" your stools, which results in less wiping.
Post-bowel movement (the time when your backside is sullied the most), using a bidet is your healthiest option for getting your butt clean. "The key is how do you wipe the least and be the cleanest that you can be," says Dr. Goldstein. "Using a bidet or a water attachment of some sort or popping into the shower and cleaning yourself is your best bet for making sure your butt is clean."
Keep scrolling for the biggest mistakes people make, according to Dr. Goldstein, plus how to make sure your butt is sparkly clean (for a butt).
The biggest mistakes when it comes to cleaning your butt
1. Avoid over-wiping
Raise your hand if you're a hyper-wiper. Hate to break it to you, but this isn't the best way to keep your butt clean. "I would tell people to move away from a wiping technique and do blotting instead," says Dr. Goldstein. "What happens is that the skin is the thinnest part of anyone's butt back there by the tailbone, so when you wipe front to back, that skin has the highest chance of being irritated." It's important to be gentle in this delicate area. "Focus on obviously cleaning yourself but also minimizing as much irritation as possible," he says, noting that if you don't have a bidet, you can lightly wet your toilet paper to help with the clean-up process.
2. Ditch wet wipes
Apologies to wet wipe fans: Dr. Goldstein believes that these are awful. "Everybody buys them because they think they are wonderful for you, but they cause so much irritation," he says. You actually have good (and bad) bacteria on your butt, and it's important that it stays there for your health. "[These bacteria are] working together in homeostasis, so when you augment that with wipes—even ones that say they are chemical-free—you're wiping away that good bacteria and the imbalance becomes a problem." This can lead to things like fungal infections or severe irritation.
3. Don't ignore moisture
One of the lesser-known culprits of a dirty butt is moisture. "If you don't dry yourself off completely [after a shower], the moisture is then sitting between your cheeks," says Dr. Goldstein. "When it's not dry, you're sitting all day long or all night with excess moisture, which can lead to a significant amount of issues." Bacterial infections, fungal infections, dermatitis, rashes, and micro-tears are just some of the consequences of not having a dry derrière. So be sure to wipe yourself off thoroughly with a towel, or hit that air-dry function on your bidet. As for everything else in your clean butt journey? Clean it as you would with any other body part (just a bit more gently).
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