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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.
AOBiome does not market its product as an alternative to conventional cleansers, but it notes that some regular users may find themselves less reliant on soaps, moisturizers and deodorants after as little as a month. Jamas, a quiet, serial entrepreneur with a doctorate in biotechnology, incorporated N. eutropha into his hygiene routine years ago; today he uses soap just twice a week. The chairman of the company's board of directors, Jamie Heywood, lathers up once or twice a month and shampoos just three times a year. The most extreme case is David Whitlock, the M.I.T.-trained chemical engineer who invented AO+. He has not showered for the past 12 years. He occasionally takes a sponge bath to wash away grime but trusts his skin's bacterial colony to do the rest. I met these men. I got close enough to shake their hands, engage in casual conversation and note that they in no way conveyed a sense of being "unclean" in either the visual or olfactory sense.
My skin began to change for the better. It actually became softer and smoother, rather than dry and flaky, as though a sauna's worth of humidity had penetrated my winter-hardened shell. And my complexion, prone to hormone-related breakouts, was clear. For the first time ever, my pores seemed to shrink. As I took my morning "shower" -- a three-minute rinse in a bathroom devoid of hygiene products -- I remembered all the antibiotics I took as a teenager to quell my acne. How funny it would be if adding bacteria were the answer all along.

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.
While most microbiome studies have focused on the health implications of what's found deep in the gut, companies like AOBiome are interested in how we can manipulate the hidden universe of organisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) teeming throughout our glands, hair follicles and epidermis. They see long-term medical possibilities in the idea of adding skin bacteria instead of vanquishing them with antibacterials -- the potential to change how we diagnose and treat serious skin ailments.
AOBiome says its early research seems to hold promise. In-house lab results show that AOB activates enough acidified nitrite to diminish the dangerous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A regime of concentrated AO+ caused a hundredfold decrease of Propionibacterium acnes, often blamed for acne breakouts. And the company says that diabetic mice with skin wounds heal more quickly after two weeks of treatment with a formulation of AOB.

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 | Comments (0)| Link

Just Give Me a Diagnostic Report

Fnord and i have been requesting a machine that we can hook ourselves up to in order to get a diagnostic (much like mechanics do with cars) for years. Cause doctors suck, and i put more faith in an inanimate machine to get the answer right. Also, i need someone to tell me right now why i'm suddenly having unexplained sharp pains in my chest area that don't seem indicative of any kind of problem (at the moment, i just accept that that's a thing that happens once in a while). If you try to see a doctor for that, you can either go to the ER or make an appointment for 3 months from now. Thanks.

So, i need them to hurry up and make this a reality.

The dream of a working tricorder may be on the verge of becoming a reality, as eight teams from around the world gather in San Diego this month to deliver prototypes of their entries for the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. The rules for the contest are simple: build a device that will allow consumers to perform their own tests for up to 24 different ailments and deliver a diagnosis on the spot, as well as send the data to a cloud-based software platform for further analysis by physicians.
The goal of the contest is to foster commercialization of the technologies needed to build sophisticated in-home diagnostic and monitoring devices. Exactly what form those technologies will take is still not clear, nor is whether any one device will eventually make it to the market.

Some of the teams--Cloud DX for example--already have commercial systems on the market. Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Senior Director Grant Campany says one likely scenario is that winning teams will combine forces to create a hybrid product that combines the best features of each of their designs. "Every team has things that work really well, and other things that are a little clunky," says Kallenberg.

By min | June 22, 2015, 10:37 AM | Science | Comments (2)| Link

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