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No Soap! No Soap!

from The Guardian

‘I don’t smell!’ Meet the people who have stopped washing

A growing number of people are eschewing soap and trusting bacteria to do the job instead – and an entire industry has sprung up to accommodate them

by Amy Fleming

Jackie Hong has not used soap for nine years
‘It’s not like I’m getting bombarded with filth’ … Jackie Hong, who has not used soap for nine years. Photograph: Jerome Couture

David Whitlock has not showered or bathed for 15 years, yet he does not have body odour. “It was kind of strange for the first few months, but after that I stopped missing it,” he says. “If I get a specific part of my body dirty, then I’ll wash that specific part” – but never with soap. As well as germs, soap gets rid of the skin’s protective oils and alters its pH level. Although Whitlock appreciated gaining an extra 15 minutes a day from soap-dodging, his primary motivation was to encourage friendly microbes to live on him in symbiotic harmony. The bacteria get to feast on the ammonia from his sweat and he gets low-maintenance, balanced skin.

Just as awareness of the importance of the gut microbiome has led to a boom in probiotic and fermented foods and supplements, there is increasing interest in our skin microbiome: the trillions of microbes that protect us from pathogens and keep us healthy by making vitamins and other useful chemicals. In this unprecedentedly sanitised era, in which eczema, acne and problems associated with dry skin are rife, consumers are hungry for solutions. Even the mainstream brand Dove claims vaguely that its products are “microbiome-gentle”.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on August 9, 2019 by Editor

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