Georg Steinhauser is a researcher from the Vienna Institute of Technology who apparently has way too much time on his hands. Following in the footsteps of great scientists like Louis Pasteur, who used their own bodies as guinea pigs, for the past three years Dr. Steinhauser has been collecting fluff (a.k.a body lint) from his own bellybutton and analyzing it.
Three years of diligent harvesting yielded him 503 pieces of fluff (Just 503? I’m sure virtually every male I know can produce that much in a week!) which he then proceeded to study. He also surveyed his family, friends and staff about their own body lint.
Chemical analysis revealed the pieces of fluff were not made up of only cotton from clothing. Wrapped up in the lint were also flecks of dead skin, fat, sweat and dust. Dr Steinhauser's observations showed that 'small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day'.
Writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, he said the scaly structure of the hair enhances the 'abrasion of minuscule fibers from the shirt' and directs the lint towards the belly button. “The hair's scales act like a kind of barbed hooks," he said. "Abdominal hair often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel."
Dr. Steinhauser also has some suggestions on how we can reduce the amount of fluff collected in the belly button. These include shaving one's belly (only until the hairs grow back), wearing old clothes, as they tend to shed less lint than newer garments and body piercings can also be used, with belly button rings particularly effective at sweeping away fibers before they lodge.
(from The Telegraph)