Before getting into our obsession with taking daily showers with chemical shampoos and soaps, thanks to the advertising industry’s brain washing, let’s look at some basic facts.
I’m serious about the brain washing comment; many years ago I got up to take my morning shower and found out that because of plumbing problems, there was no water. I called in sick and didn’t go to work that day.
Symbiosis is a Greek word meaning “living together”.
One of the most picturesque examples of a symbiotic relationship is between the clown fish and the sea anemone.
The sea anemone has venomous tentacles that can paralyze predators and small fish to feed on. Most fish swim away from them.
The clown fish brings food to the anemone and is protected/housed in return.
Humans have a similar arrangement with 750 trillion (that’s 750 followed by 12 zeros) bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc., which is called our microbiome. Our body houses them and they, in return, make up our immune system, and protect us.
I suggest that you re-read “A Short Note on Prebiotics, Probiotics and Our Microbiome”, posted on March 26, 2015. Also, view Dr. Robynne Chutkan’s excellent video on the subject.
Recall that our skin is our biggest organ and our microbiome is on our skin, in our gut and everywhere else.
Just like it would make no sense for the sea anemone to eat the clown fish, it makes no sense for humans to shower with chemical soaps and shampoos and kill these beneficial bacteria living on their skin.
We’ve touched upon this in the last post, but I’ll mention it again; don’t forget that taking antibiotics kills the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
What if you were to cut back your “normal” every morning shower routine to once every other day, once every three days or, simply hardly at all?
Start by using less soap, and less shampoo, and less deodorant, and showering less.
If you have problems with not using deodorant, use a bicarbonate of soda and water mixture until you wean yourself off.
Use soap and shampoo that is natural (no chemicals at all), and stop using deodorant. Washing with detergent, antibacterial soaps wipe out the bacteria on your skin temporarily, but it quickly reestablishes itself, typically with an imbalance that favors odor-producing microbes.
No conditioner, no moisturizer, etc.
I shower 3-4 days a week, and use soap on my underarms, groin area, and feet, especially after working out.
Dr. Casey Carlos, assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Dermatology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine notes:
“It is the hardest thing to get people to use soap only where they need it…People don’t realize that the skin does a pretty good job of cleaning itself.”
I wash with shampoo and soap once every 10-15 days.
I aim at reducing this more.
After a while you will notice that you don’t have body odor and that your hair looks and feels much healthier.
Though it may seem shocking to consider showering less, keep in mind that daily showering is a relatively new phenomenon.
I remember reading a quote in Reader’s Digest some years ago; “Do you remember when we took religion daily and a bath weekly?”
In the past we had a bath day, usually on Sunday, in Turkey.
A couple of notes:
- Wash your hands frequently with “good” soap, not the antibacterial kind, to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, and
- Remember previous warnings on swimming in chlorinated swimming pools.
That’s it for this week; see you all the next time.