I'm a Semi-Dirty Hippie
I totally believe in daily bathing. I'm just not 100% on daily soaping. I'm one of those water-only washers. Sort of. Bottoms get soaped. That's non-negotiable. C'mon, people. Poo happened. Soap or get off my furniture (this is why we can't have pets).
It started ages ago when my aunt made an offhand comment and revealed she'd stopped using soap cause it dried her skin. That eventually got me wondering if it made any sense that i daily washed oils off my body with cleansers only to have to follow that up with lotion because i was now so dry and itchy. My aunt didn't smell or seem dirty, so what the hell. A few years ago, i decided to give this water-only thing a shot. My lotion usage has been reduced significantly. Now, it's pretty much limited to every other day during the winter months (except my hands, which i wash several times a day because duh, so i have to moisturize them all year).
For what it's worth, i don't believe i'm getting all that dirty sitting at my desk all day when the majority of my body is covered by clothing. My most strenuous activity is lugging my lunch-laden backpack from the house to the car, and i'm not much of a sweat-er. So basically, if i've been planting shrubs all day - soap. If i've been nesting on the couch - water and a scrub brush do the trick. My mother hasn't mentioned anything about my hygiene (or lack thereof), and people haven't been avoiding being near me (sadly), so i figure everything's fine.
I just found this article today and thought it was interesting:
I was Subject 26 in testing a living bacterial skin tonic, developed by AOBiome, a biotech start-up in Cambridge, Mass. The tonic looks, feels and tastes like water, but each spray bottle of AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist contains billions of cultivated Nitrosomonas eutropha, an ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) that is most commonly found in dirt and untreated water. AOBiome scientists hypothesize that it once lived happily on us too -- before we started washing it away with soap and shampoo -- acting as a built-in cleanser, deodorant, anti-inflammatory and immune booster by feeding on the ammonia in our sweat and converting it into nitrite and nitric oxide.
Ok, not showering for 12 years sounds gross to me. Not showering daily actually sounds gross (remember the poo bottoms?). Prolly as gross to me as me mostly using just water sounds to you. But cereally - it's one thing to not use a cleanser and another thing to forgo washing altogether. As most articles about hand washing and laundry will tell you - friction is key to getting things clean. If you skip the whole showering thing entirely...is your pet monkey grooming you???
But it's not all about being a dirty hippie. There's also a medical goal to this, finding ways to heal lesions and to repel malaria-carrying insects.
Dr. Elizabeth Grice, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania who studies the role of microbiota in wound healing and inflammatory skin disease, said she believed that discoveries about the second genome might one day not only revolutionize treatments for acne but also -- as AOBiome and its biotech peers hope -- help us diagnose and cure disease, heal severe lesions and more. Those with wounds that fail to respond to antibiotics could receive a probiotic cocktail adapted to fight the specific strain of infecting bacteria. Body odor could be altered to repel insects and thereby fight malaria and dengue fever. And eczema and other chronic inflammatory disorders could be ameliorated.
Since we can't seem to convince people to stop using anti-bacterial soap, i hope they do find a way to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Plus, teens everywhere would thank them if they found a way to reduce hormonal acne.
So, while i'm not sold on the idea that you should just cultivate a colony of bacteria on your body and give up all bathing, i think there is something to the idea that some of our skin issues might be a result of us messing with it too much.
Now, who's got stinky feet problems? I have the perfect Christmas gift for you!
By min | June 30, 2015, 2:15 PM | Science