Crazy, dirty hippies? Why not washing is becoming more mainstream
by Lucie Machin
What's Going On Here?
A growing number of people are going without soap and shampoo and relying on bacteria to prevent themselves from going stinky.
What Does This Mean?
“Not washing” doesn’t actually mean that you stop rinsing off dirt or washing your hands with soap (unlike this guy 🤦). The phrase refers to those who choose to ditch traditional soaps and shampoos for a more natural wash. Whilst soaps and shampoos help to rid us of germs and dirt, they also kill off our body’s natural oils and helpful microbes, and interfere with its pH level. The idea behind this non-washing-movement is that by avoiding soaps, our body’s microbes and oil production will reach their natural balance again and be able to do their thang in peace.
Several brands are now showering the market with products that “ensure a healthy skin microbiome”. The probiotic skincare market – a vague term which ranges from products lacking preservatives to ones with microbes suspended in a “gel matrix” (am I the only one to find this vaguely creepy?) - has grown by more than 300% in four years!
Why Should We Care?
A massive side-benefit of this is that by not washing, we could save a huge amount of water and resources. Showers account for the biggest water use in UK homes (wasting more than 2 billion gallons A DAY). Most products we use to wash ourselves come in plastic and contain palm oil, which is linked to deforestation and environmental destruction in places such as Borneo. And don’t even get us started about the hydrocarbon aerosol found in spray-deodorants...
Although hard scientific evidence is currently lacking, there are signs that suggest this technique could also have notable health benefits. There’s currently a heap of studies being done into the potential for this approach to treat some skin conditions such as acne, eczema and rosacea.
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