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What is belly button lint?

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Quick Answer

According to research conducted by physicist Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki and his team at the University of Sydney, belly button lint consists of dead skin cells and fibers of cloth. Most people who accumulate BBL tend to be slightly overweight, male and middle-aged. Individuals with either a lot of stomach hair or very little hair had less lint than moderately hairy respondents. Shaving stomach hair prevented the accumulation of lint.

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University of Sydney researchers used electron microscopy to look at the composition of BBL. An electron microscope or EM uses electrons to view objects up to nano scale proportions. The equipment utilizes the same principles of an optical microscope; however, instead of particles of light, electrons are directed on an object.

The Moment of Science website explains that abdomen hair usually curves toward the navel. As the body moves, the friction created by a person's clothing and body hair creates the accumulation of navel lint.

ABC also conducted a survey about BBL. Statistics revealed that the older one gets, the more BBL one collects.

While BBL is harmless, the collection of dead skin fragments in the belly button can lead to an unpleasant odor. The odor can also be caused by infection, according to KnowsWhy.com.

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