Compared to relaxing baths, showers are kind of a ho-hum option when it comes to self-care. If you’re like me, your routine is the same every single day, right down to the order in which you wash your limbs. Likely, since you were a toddler, you’ve been taught that cleaning yourself is simply one of those things you must do on the reg—just like brushing your teeth or drinking water. But, what if you were told that you could give the daily showers a rest?
“You don’t need to lather, rinse, and repeat.”
At last night’s debut of Well+Good Talks—the series of IRL chats where we tap industry insiders, brainy entrepreneurs, and healthy celebs at the forefront of the scene right now—it was all about female biohacking. And Jasmina Aganovic, skin-care genius and founder of Mother Dirt, blew everyone’s minds when she said: “You don’t need to lather, rinse, and repeat.”
As a chemist who’s constantly conducting studies on the skin’s microbiome and bacteria, she knows what she’s talking about—and her mission at Mother Dirt is to change people’s perception of what it means to be clean. “We take too many showers. There’s actually no scientific evidence showing that it’s necessary,” she says. Um, gasp.
She went on to explain that researchers believe as recently as 75 years ago, a helpful strain of bacteria known as “nitrosomonas eutropha” lived on humans’ skin, but as the frequency of showering and soap use increased and our time spent outside decreased, these eventually disappeared on skin. “We’re learning that maybe we’ve taken our ideas of clean a little bit too far. We’ve very much separated ourselves from Mother Nature,” she says.
“We’re doing the equivalent of deafening and blinding the ecosystem of the skin.”
That means that though the act of lathering your body—especially after a grueling sweat sesh—is inarguably satisfying, you might be stripping your skin of healthy bacteria that should stay put. “Through harsh chemicals, antibacterials, or antibiotics, we’re doing the equivalent of deafening and blinding the ecosystem of the skin,” explains Aganovic. “Then it has no choice but to go into a pro-inflammatory state.” And, inflammation is one of the main causes of major skin issues.
According to Aganovic, the main disrupting culprits are surfactants and preservatives—so be sure to read product labels. Also, she advises that water can often do just as good of a job as body wash. “There are interesting studies showing that rinsing with clean water alone is probably just as good as using soap in most cases,” she notes. Good news: Your getting ready routine is about to become much quicker.