Why washing with soap could be damaging your skin - and what you should do instead
Using soap to wash in the shower could be damaging your skin, according to an expert.
Dr James Hamblin says cleaning agents can affect the balance of natural microbiomes in your body.
In his new book Clean: The New Science of Skin, released this week, he writes: "While we have long thought about our skin as a barrier to separate us from the outside world, growing knowledge about the microbiome suggests that skin is instead a dynamic interface with our environment.”
The expert told the Guardian: "As I gradually used less and less, I started to need less and less.
"My skin slowly became less oily, and I got fewer patches of eczema.
"I didn’t smell like pine trees or lavender, but I also didn’t smell like the oniony body odour that I used to get when my armpits, used to being plastered with deodorant, suddenly went a day without it."(Image: ITV)
He responded: "No, I don't smell at all. I've asked people in a regimented way and they said no."
But don't confuse Dr Hamblin's advice as a means to stop showering altogether.
Instead he thinks we should be questioning "rituals that are considered a necessity".
The author added: "If you skip a day of showering you won’t look oily or smell like an onion. I don’t emanate some offensive odour and I don’t get really oily looking.
"I smell like a person."
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A case study on the Harvard Health website also says that showering everyday is bad for our skin.
It reads: "Daily showers do not improve your health, could cause skin problems or other health issues — and, importantly, they waste a lot of water.
"Also, the oils, perfumes, and other additives in shampoos, conditioners, and soaps may cause problems of their own, such as allergic reactions (not to mention their cost).
"While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often).
"Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice."