Live Longer by Lathering Less

Showering too much is a problem that too many people have, but if you do like to over-shower you should stop using shampoo. Turns out that a popular and frequently used chemical in shampoos, phthalates, is bad for your longevity. Yes, shampooing too much can shorten life. Don’t fret! There’s an easy solution of just switching to buying unscented shampoo.

The chemical class is so common that phthalates are nicknamed “everywhere chemicals.” The chemicals pose a threat if inhaled or ingested, so children are at an especially high risk of exposure as they tend to put their hands in their mouths.

In an email to Insider, Trasande shared a list of tips for keeping phthalates out of your home:

Use unscented lotions and laundry detergents.
Use cleaning supplies without scents.
Use glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or wood to hold and store foods.
Buy fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead of canned and processed versions.
Avoid air fresheners and all plastics labeled as No. 3, No. 6, and No. 7.
Avoid microwaving and machine dishwashing plastics.

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Improve Your Skin by Showering Less

There are a million products out there which claim to be great for skin and will even improve it, what if there’s a simpler way? In a new book, Clean: The New Science of Skin, the easiest and best solution for improving you skin is to stop over cleaning it with too much soap. In North America it’s common to shower everyday, which leads to water wastage and to poor skin health; whereas, in other cultures it’s more common to shower every 2-3 days. Once you stop showering everyday your skin will thank you and so will the planet.

Of course, you should keep washing your hands!

But what soap hoarders and hawkers overlook is that wiping out our symbiotic microbes may make us more vulnerable to other, unexpected maladies. First-line eczema treatments, for instance, include topical antibiotics, cleansers, and drugs that dampen immune response, but some researchers say these approaches can make the condition worse in the long run. “Perturbing the skin barrier by washing or scratching can change the microbial population,” Hamblin notes. “That can rev up the immune system, which tells the skin cells to proliferate rapidly and fill with inflammatory proteins.”

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Soapless Showering is Fine

wc sink

Here’s some good news for lazy people (really for everyone): you don’t need to shower everyday and you don’t even need to use soap. After years of propaganda from the “skin care” industry people are starting to stop following the instruction of lather, wash, repeat. The benefits of not showering include using less water and letting your skin take care of itself. Not using soap can save water and it also consumes fewer resources since you’re not using detergents. Obviously, if you get really dirty then you’re going to want to use soap on those areas.

There’s nothing wrong with just rinsing,” says Sandy Skotnicki, a Toronto-based dermatologist and the author of the 2018 book Beyond Soap. “I’ve talked to people who haven’t used any kind of detergent in years and they’re perfectly fine.” She says that, since 1950, we have gone from bathing once a week to every day. “Has that changed our skin microbiome? I think the answer is yes. And has that caused a rise in inflammatory skin diseases? I think the answer is yes, but we don’t know.”

For Whitlock, a former chemical engineer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, not washing has been a serious science experiment, the success of which has led him to become a trailblazer in a skincare revolution in soap-free, microbiome-friendly and probiotic products. His inspiration came from researching why horses roll in dirt. His conclusion? To top up their ammonia-metabilising bacteria, making the skin less susceptible to infection.

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Don’t Waste Your Time Showering Everyday

Stop

Every year it seems showering is brought up on this site and the theme is always the same: shower less. Indeed, back in 2006 we looked at a device called an air shower and in 2012 it was a shower that recycles water (cleanly). This year the people over at Recommend Things recommend that we shower less too, they even put together that handy infographic at the top of the post.

Go ahead and try not showering everyday – your skin and the planet will thank you!

  1. The first and important reason as to why showering daily is not good is that it would make your hair dry. Showing daily would erase of necessary oils and sebum released from the scalp and skin and would make them ultra-dry. Hence avoid frequent showers.
  2. You may even rip off your nails and make them dry too by taking frequent showers. The keratin protein present in the nails and hairs tends to get eliminated slowly if they are projected to prolonged contact with water.
  3. The third reason can be termed under a social cause but showering daily and that too unnecessarily wastes water up to 30-40% and hence for or preventing useless water loss, you should not shower daily.
  4. Next reason not to shower daily is that it washes away the good bacteria present on your body that is helpful in combating the harmful bacteria. This good bacteria is actually a shield for your body which gets eroded by the frequent
  5. A possible reason to shower daily can be that you must not be that dirty as you think. If you don’t sweat excessively then you really don’t need daily showering because your body care products are wise enough to do so.
  6. You are even drying your skin by taking shower daily. This may cause excessive dehydration and finally result in chipping off dead skin.

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No Need to Shower so Much

Showering is something that a lot of North Americans do everyday: and if you’re one of them then you should stop. Showering daily can actually do more harm to your health than good. So relax about your daily urge to cleanse and just roll with your micro biome!

As we learn more about the relationship between the microbiome and our health, some scientists and journalists have begun weaning themselves from cosmetic products like soap and shampoo. In taking away the bad bacteria, we could be losing too much of the good.

In this episode of If Our Bodies Could Talk—the final in a three-part miniseries on the microbiome—senior editor James Hamblin investigates the health of the microbes on our skin.

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