The human body is a marvelous thing. If you get a scar, the body heals itself within a couple of days. A woman’s body changes to accommodate and grow another human being. Our eyes take on beautiful, speckled colors. As we make advances in medical science, we learn just how amazing our body is and how much it can take in terms of injuries and illness.
Yes, your body can do some pretty surprising things. But it is home to some pretty weird things, too. From strange growths to skin conditions to unwanted inhabitants, here are 10 of the strangest things you can find on your body. Which, when you’re done reading, you may want to forget.
10 Dandruff: The Great White Way
Dandruff is a skin condition on the scalp that causes itchiness and aching. The body is always making new skin cells on the scalp and shedding the dead ones. But with dandruff, these cells shed faster than usual, and the scalp’s oil causes them to clump together. Those white flakes you see on somebody’s shoulders or in their hair are the result.
So what causes dandruff? Well, there are a bunch of different reasons. First, your scalp skin may be flaking (seborrheic dermatitis). Seborrheic dermatitis causes red, greasy skin covered with flaky white scales. It mostly affects oil-rich areas such as your scalp, the back of your ears, your nose’s sides, and sometimes your armpits. Treatment for this type of dandruff usually involves medicated shampoos, creams, and lotions. Infrequent shampooing has been linked to dandruff because oils and skin cells from your scalp can build up and flake off.
Though it may be annoying and embarrassing if you have it, plenty of people suffer from dandruff. It’s just one of those strange things you can find on your body.
9 Holy Moly
Moles are benign growths that can manifest as bumps or appear on the surface of the skin. You can get moles at birth or any point in your life. Moles can be brown or black; they can be hairless or have hairs sprouting out of them. Generally, they’re round and quite red. Moles typically remain harmless up to a certain point. You should only start to worry if they change in appearance.
If your doctor suspects your mole is cancerous, they might advise you to go for a biopsy. A doctor will remove a little piece of the mole and send it for analysis. The pathologist will reveal if there are cancerous cells present in your body. If the mole is cancerous, the doctor must surgically remove both the mole and the surrounding skin.
Doctors can easily remove moles surgically for cosmetic reasons, too. It requires only a small incision, and voila! It’s done. The surgery leaves a small scar that fades over time.
8 Count Lice-ula
Now here’s a strange thing you can find on your body but would prefer not to. Lice are parasites that develop by feeding on the host’s blood. These little hair vampires are really small, which is why it’s hard to see them. Lice are wingless insects, black mites that look as if they might fly but never will. That’s why they stick to your body, be it on your scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or groin.
This is not the worst of it, though. Lice nits are just as bad but more troublesome. They are smaller than a pinhead and can be mistaken for ordinary dandruff. Eggs are the worst of the parasite set, and they’re what keeps a lice problem going. If someone in the family has lice, you should search for eggs diligently and thoroughly check the house and car (as some possible egg-infested areas). And don’t share hats!
7 Ring Around the Worm
Ringworm is not a worm. It’s a skin infection caused by fungus. I know, first, we find parasites on the body, and now fungus? Not just one fungus. Many fungi cause ringworm, but it typically comes from trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton. Ringworms can infect different parts of your body. Although it spreads easily, it’s less harmful than other highly transmittable diseases (because of the ringworm-causing fungal species). Your body also offers natural protection against ringworm. Keratin, which is outside your body, protects your hair, nails, and skin cells. It also keeps ringworms from getting deeper into your skin and eating your internal organs.
What should you do if you contract ringworm? The doctor will probably shine a harmless blacklight on you for diagnosis. Some ringworm fungi fluoresce naturally. But most of the fungal species that cause the disease don’t.
Instead, the doctor might decide to scrape the skin from your infection and mix it up with a potassium hydroxide solution. The potassium hydroxide dissolves the skin cells but won’t mess with fungal cells because the cell walls comprise chitin and other complex carbs that don’t break down. With the skin cells gone, it’ll be easier for your health care provider to spot the remaining fungal cells under a microscope.
6 Bacteria, Virus, and Microbial-Related Cells
Believe it or not, only one in every ten of your body cells are human! The remaining ninety percent of the cells consists of over ninety trillion microbes, viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that call your body home. They all work together to keep their home—your body—healthy and functioning well. Of course, bacteria can be good and bad, and if naturally growing bacteria gets out of hand, you can get sick.
Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. Many people used to have this kind of bacteria, but the pylori predominance is steadily reducing. Only half of the world’s population has it. Many don’t show the symptoms, but a few grow painful ulcers in the digestive tract.
5 Snot Galore
We usually get grossed out over the thought of boogers. But boogers do serve a purpose. The mucous traps invading viruses and bacteria before they can enter your body—so don’t, you know, eat them. Unfortunately, it turns out that we naturally swallow about a quarter of snot per day. The mucus that we don’t spot running out of our nose travels from inside our nose to the back of our throat. Then down it goes. This is because our sinuses connect parts of our faces.
It is hard to think about boogers in a good way, but they play a significant role in defending your health. That’s why when fall sick, the production of mucus almost doubles. In general, mucus warms the air you breathe, humidifies the air, and confines particles that don’t belong in your airways.
4 Lipoma Livin’
A lipoma is a benign growth composed of fat cells and sandwiched between your skin and muscle. A Lipoma can develop in deeper tissues, like the abdominal organs, too. Lipomas grow slowly and often do not show any symptoms or require medication. It’s just another strange growth your body can form.
We aren’t sure what causes lipomas, but doctors do know that it has nothing to do with being overweight. While they don’t tend to run in families, they can be congenital.
Since you can see them, you may want them removed solely for cosmetic reasons. You may also want them removed if they’re causing you pain or get infected. Lipoma removal generally requires an outpatient surgical procedure. Here, a doctor will usually inject a local anesthetic and make an incision, removing the tumor, before stitching you back up.
3 Twinkle Toes
Ever wonder why your toes might turn yellow? The thing is, your feet touch some of the dirtiest surfaces on the planet. And they’re exposed to every kind of germ existing in nature daily. Your toenails usually end up collecting millions of various microorganisms every single day, including fungus. This is why your toes turn color. When you see a yellow toenail, you’re actually looking at the fungus that is living there. So, trim your toenails whenever possible! This is the best protection you can get.
2 Waxy Differences
We typically see ear wax as uniform and universal, but that is not quite the case. Ear wax (skin cells inside the ear that help lubricate the ear) comprises two different wax kinds: wet and dry. The type of wax you have will depend on genetics. It sounds a little gross, but it’s just the body being its weird self.
Your ear manufactures earwax to wash and defend itself. The glands discharge it into the skin that lines the outermost half of the ear ducts. The wax and tiny hairs in these canals lure dust and other alien specks that might harm your eardrum or other parts of the ear.
While people with too little earwax have higher chances of experiencing itchy ears (and more liable to diseases), an ear duct chocked up with earwax can cause mild deafness, earaches, or tinnitus, a sensation of fullness and ringing in the ear. It also causes infections and other problems.
1 Bat your Lashes
If you think your face is spotless after washing it, think again. We all have mites that live in our face’s pores, especially eyelashes, and they feed off our oils and dead skin. These mites are called Demodex mites, and their population increases as you age. It might be a bit disturbing to think about something living so close to our eyeball. But they are so tiny that we don’t see them, and you can’t even feel them.
Demodex folliculorum is a type of mite. There are two types of Demodex mites, the other being Demodex Brevis. Demodex Folliculorum lives in the hair cavity of human skin, eating dead skin cells. Unlike Demodex Brevis, we find this kind on the face.
Demodex Folliculorum only becomes troublesome if they worsen advanced skin diseases, like rosacea. Furthermore, there’s growing proof that large amounts of this can cause skin complications.