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Four Weeks Without Soap Or Shampoo

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the or-as-frankie-calls-it,-february dept.

Biotech 250

An anonymous reader writes "A biotech start-up from Massachusetts has an unusual product: a bottle full of bacteria you're supposed to spray onto your face. The bacteria is Nitrosomonas eutropha, and it's generally harmless. Its main use is that it oxidizes ammonia, and the start-up's researchers suspect it used to commonly live on human skin before we began washing it away with soaps and other cleaners. Such bacteria are an area of heavy research in biology right now. Scientists know that the gut microbiome is important to proper digestion, and they're trying to figure out if an external microbiome can be similarly beneficial to skin. A journalist for the NY Times volunteered to test the product, which involved four straight weeks of no showers, no soap, no shampoo, and no deodorant. The sprayed-on bacteria quickly colonized her skin, along with other known types of bacteria — and hundreds of unknown (but apparently harmless) strains. She reported improvements to her skin and complexion, and described how the bacteria worked to curtail (but not eliminate) the body odor caused by not washing. At the end of the experiment, all of the N. eutropha vanished within three showers."

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Jake from State Farm Commercial (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073757)

She sounds hideous.

Re:Jake from State Farm Commercial (2)

Talderas (1212466) | about 5 months ago | (#47073989)

Ah yes, "Jake". That person from State Farm. We have dismissed that claim.

Re:Jake from State Farm Commercial (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 months ago | (#47074381)

Meh. [nytimes.com]

Why make a journalist suffer? (5, Funny)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | about 5 months ago | (#47073759)

If you want subjects who don't mind not bathing for four weeks, just go to any CS lab.

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (1)

phrostie (121428) | about 5 months ago | (#47073883)

SDCC

just have a sprayer over each entrance and exist.

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#47073957)

Why would anyone spray the Small Device C Compiler onto anyone? Even the CS lab people might find that weird.

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074039)

It's used for de-bugging CS grad students

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (5, Insightful)

yendor (4311) | about 5 months ago | (#47073895)

The problem there isn't the lack of showers but the repeated use of clothing.

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (4, Interesting)

AbrasiveCat (999190) | about 5 months ago | (#47074019)

The problem there isn't the lack of showers but the repeated use of clothing.

But then you have CEO of Levi Strauss saying don't wash your jeans. http://www.latimes.com/fashion... [latimes.com] I guess its back to nature time. I hope the windows open for a fresh breeze...

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 5 months ago | (#47074305)

The problem there isn't the lack of showers but the repeated use of clothing.

But then you have CEO of Levi Strauss saying don't wash your jeans..

It's a conspiracy by Big Denim to keep us clothed... and, uh, dirty?

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | about 5 months ago | (#47074417)

That reminds me of a college student back in the 80s or early 90s who studied the amount of bacteria on jeans and learned single wear washings of them was pointless.

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074457)

Depends...

Re:Why make a journalist suffer? (1)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47073993)

If you want subjects who don't mind not bathing for four weeks, just go to any CS lab.

Please don't. It's bad enough having to put up with that one weekend a year at Comic Con...

So? (5, Interesting)

PuddleBoy (544111) | about 5 months ago | (#47073779)

I suspect there are slashdot readers who, uh, know someone who takes long spells between showers...

Re:So? (4, Funny)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about 5 months ago | (#47074113)

Especially resurrection spells, I've heard, take particularly long to cast...

Re:So? (1)

Jon_S (15368) | about 5 months ago | (#47074347)

But the article wasn't specifically about not showering. Yes, that was part of it, but the main thing was the application to the skin of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria on a regular basis. It is not as if people just stopped showering. We all know how that turns out. But that's not what this is about.

Derp (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073791)

Most people have known this for some time. I haven't washed my face in years. It was the only thing that stopped acne. By "not wash", I mean don't use soap or cleaners. Obviously, some shampoo trickles down on it and I rinse with water each day.

Hair can be handled the same way if you have naturally dry or frizzy hair.

Captcha: untidy

Re:Derp (2)

dinfinity (2300094) | about 5 months ago | (#47073951)

Most people have known this for some time.

Yeah, the soap and shampoo industry is really suffering.

Re:Derp (2)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 5 months ago | (#47073973)

Another alternative for hair is just to condition, not shampoo.

Re:Derp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074261)

It's the other way around for me. I break out if I don't wash my face at least daily.

Re:Derp (1, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 5 months ago | (#47074393)

For me, cutting back on sugar was the breakthrough. No more soft drinks or sugar candies. Altoids, Starburst, and Skittles are 99% sugar with a little flavoring. I still like all those junk foods, but I stay away. Tried dried and sugared mangoes, but still too much. Don't eat anything that's more than 1/3 sugar, and seldom eat things that are between 1/4 and 1/3 sugar. That includes quite a few brands and varieties of supposedly healthy granola bars. Some of those granola bars are worse than candy bars.

My acne is far better. Entirely gone for days at a time, and when a pimple does show it's because I backslid a bit and had something sweet, usually a shake or some ice cream, and that always at the urgings of family. I would not have any if I wasn't being so polite and social. Why others just have to press junk food on me is a bit of a mystery. It's like they subconsciously or perhaps consciously hope to make me fat like them.

Re:Derp (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47074589)

[I eat sweets only] at the urgings of family. I would not have any if I wasn't being so polite and social.

"Sorry, I can't have that much sugar; it gives me pimples." What reaction does that get from family? If bad, how would they react to an actual food allergy?

Re:Derp (4, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 5 months ago | (#47074301)

I take a step somewhere in-between: I shower every 3-4 days, depending on how dirty I feel. Even then, I only wash my body with water, no soaps or cleansers or anything like that, though I do use some basic shampoo and conditioner on my hair. If I take showers more often my skin immediately starts to feel a lot drier and flakier. I dunno if my experiences match anyone else's, but it seems to suit my body quite fine.

Re:Derp (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 5 months ago | (#47074437)

I have also found the same thing. I use a good moisturizer but I just stopped using anything stronger than water on my face on a daily basis. (Unless I've got on makeup or sunscreen, then it gets a really mild soap.) I still have the occasional zit sneak through - stupid demodex bugs cannot be completely eliminated - but my active acne is gone.

Re:Derp (1)

twocows (1216842) | about 5 months ago | (#47074567)

That's the exact same for me with my face but the exact opposite with my hair. If I wash my face with soap or shampoo, I get acne problems. If I DON'T wash my hair with shampoo, I get all sorts of scalp problems, presumably from the excess of oil. It's worse when it's longer, slightly better when it's shorter.

More than this (5, Interesting)

koan (80826) | about 5 months ago | (#47073803)

Scientists know that the gut microbiome is important to proper digestion

Gut bacteria is more than proper digestion, it's a second mind.
It's interesting as well that one of the most important parts of a cell are the mitochondria, which by all rights are their own separate critter that set up a successful house in just about everything alive.

What a menagerie.

Re:More than this (3, Funny)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 5 months ago | (#47074461)

Indeed. It's also interesting how one of the most important parts of the force are the midichlorians, which is nothing short of amazing.

Poor example (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073807)

A 4 week test on something related to skin and they used a female journalist? Could by chance her skin complexion improved because of her menstrual cycle? There's about a 75% chance that she wasn't coming off of her period right before application so of course she probably noticed improvements to her skin, especially her face, over a 4 week test.

Re:Poor example (5, Informative)

lanswitch (705539) | about 5 months ago | (#47074001)

4 weeks= 1 ovary cycle. Think about it.

Re:Poor example (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074375)

1) She was apparently one of several subjects. 2) She noted that she does have hormone-related skin problems, but that this improved them. Presumably she knows how her skin changes over the course of a month. 3) This is effectively a cosmetic treatment, so women are more likely to be customers for it in the future. 4) She's a journalist, so of course she wrote about herself.

Re:Poor example (3, Informative)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 5 months ago | (#47074449)

Ah - something men may not know, that isn't common knowledge, but is a thing. Many women who take BC pills are going for 6-8 week stretches at a time per cycle now. So you cannot assume a woman is on the standard four week cycle (with or without the pills, everyone is different) unless she says so.

Re:Poor example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074483)

Considering there was only one test subject, it wasn't even single-blind, and she was doing it so she'd have something to write about at the end, there's a good chance she just bent the truth a little, too. (Not saying she did, mind you.)

PH (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 5 months ago | (#47073813)

I think that these bacteria like something about baking soda. When I started adding it to my baths I stopped smelling. PH maybe? Or the baking soda was a bacteria vitamin?

Re:PH (1)

lisaparratt (752068) | about 5 months ago | (#47073987)

Or the increased pH level saponified the oil on you skin?

Re:PH (3, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#47074047)

Baking soda is a base, and as such converts oils into soaps on contact - my first guess would be that it's converting some of the more aromatic oils on your skin. I've heard of it used to clear up enlarged pores as well - the combination of mild abrasion and high PH do a number on the sebum (waxy oils) that otherwise build up in your pores. PH cold definitely also have an effect on your surface microbes though.

Re:PH (4, Informative)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 5 months ago | (#47074533)

Much of body odor comes from short-chain fatty acids, produced when various bacteria break down skin oils. Baking soda turns those acids into salts, which don't smell nearly as much. However, it can also saponify your skin oils, so it's hard on your skin if you use too much.

Control Groups (4, Insightful)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 5 months ago | (#47073817)

Where are the control groups? Shouldn't there also be at least a few of these:
1) One group that showers daily and uses the spray.
2) One group that showers daily and sprays plain water.
3) One group that doesn't shower for 4 weeks and sprays plain water.

Number 3 is almost required for any accurate study and I would think it would
the other 2 wouldn't hurt either.

Re:Control Groups (5, Informative)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 5 months ago | (#47073941)

Where are the control groups? Shouldn't there also be at least a few of these: 1) One group that showers daily and uses the spray. 2) One group that showers daily and sprays plain water. 3) One group that doesn't shower for 4 weeks and sprays plain water.

Number 3 is almost required for any accurate study and I would think it would the other 2 wouldn't hurt either.

Reading the article, she was subject 26 of who knows how many. For all we know, she was in the control group, or there may have been separate control groups present. The article recaps her personal experience, not the complete conditions for the experiment. Maybe with the initial findings, they'll do multiple rounds with different variables as you suggest above.

Re:Control Groups (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 months ago | (#47074401)

There's a reason we don't trust journalists to get science stories right. They allow hedlines which ignore issues like control groups.

Re:Control Groups (5, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 5 months ago | (#47074061)

Where are the control groups? Shouldn't there also be at least a few of these:

Perhaps I missed this, but it doesn't seem that TFA is reporting official results of a study -- it's just the anecdotal description of somebody who participated in a study that's been going on. All she says is: "I was Subject 26 in testing a living bacterial skin tonic." I don't think there's anything in TFA that mentions what control groups there may have been, nor does it imply that there were not any.

This is just one subject's experience that she decided to blog about... so should we really be questioning the validity of the study or its design when she doesn't even discuss methodology (and perhaps doesn't even know the details, since she was... you know... a PARTICIPANT in the study)?

About the only thing in TFA that suggests anything about research design is this:

A regime of concentrated AO+ caused a hundredfold decrease of Propionibacterium acnes, often blamed for acne breakouts. And the company says that diabetic mice with skin wounds heal more quickly after two weeks of treatment with a formulation of AOB.

Soon, AOBiome will file an Investigational New Drug Application with the F.D.A. to request permission to test more concentrated forms of AOB for the treatment of diabetic ulcers and other dermatologic conditions. "Itâ(TM)s very, very easy to make a quack therapy; to put together a bunch of biological links to convince someone that somethingâ(TM)s true," Heywood said. "What would hurt us is trying to sell anything ahead of the data."

"A hundredfold decrease," "wounds heal more quickly" -- these imply that there are comparison groups. And if they are applying to do testing with the FDA, they're going to have to do control groups.

Seriously -- what is it with Slashdot and the "But didn't they think of doing a real science experiment, with, you know, data and stuff" comments? This is a link to a blog post by subject in a study. You want details? Wait until an actual study comes out.

But if this company is planning on getting its stuff approved as a medical treatment or marketing it on its particular benefits, it would actually be incredibly counterproductive to design poor experiments, since they wouldn't allow them to refine or further develop their products.

Do you really think these people are idiots?

Re:Control Groups (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074231)

3) One group that doesn't shower for 4 weeks and sprays plain water.

There's no way that experiment could ever be double-blind. ;)

Oh my: Captcha = "strong". Captcha Oracle is a freaking comic genius.

Uh huh (3, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47073835)

the bacteria worked to curtail (but not eliminate) the body odor caused by not washing

I used to work with sailors who would come back after long fishing trips. And I can assure you that they definitely did not have this bacteria present.

Re:Uh huh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073877)

"Curtail, not eliminate" your coworkers would have been smellier.

Re: Uh huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074557)

Ah ok... say no more.

but..but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073837)

did she have sex? could the guy tell she hadn't showered?

Re:but..but.. (2, Funny)

fuzznutz (789413) | about 5 months ago | (#47074005)

That must have been one foul coochie. Allow me to be the first to say, "NOT IT!"

Re:but..but.. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47074045)

Did the guy care?

Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073849)

There are some crazies who have been released from the Texas mental hospital who are wandering the streets of Austin who could definitely use a dousing of this stuff.

Bathe for health (4, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#47073853)

You bathe for health. You don't bathe for an optimum natural balance; you do it so you get nasty pathogens off your body, and don't get infected wounds.

Apparently some health comes at the expense of some other health, like how antibiotics destroy gut bacteria but save you from death by sepsis.

Re:Bathe for health (4, Interesting)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 5 months ago | (#47074015)

The idea here is probiotics, good bacteria outbreed and exclude the pathogens... The article even states that the byproducts of the ammonia processing by these bacteria produced nirites and nitric acid which inhibited staph growth, they even noticed reduced healing times for mice.

Re:Bathe for health (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074137)

Reduced healing times for mice compared to what, mice treated with antibiotics and bandages for their wounds like people?

Re:Bathe for health (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#47074345)

the byproducts of the ammonia processing by these bacteria produced nirites and nitric acid which inhibited staph growth,

And this sort of thing is going to become very important once antibiotics stop working.

Re:Bathe for health (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 5 months ago | (#47074017)

And that's why you take probiotics with antibiotics.

Re:Bathe for health (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074197)

Sorry, I don't think you understand how antibiotics work.

There are some that kill bacteria and some that inhibit growth (specifically cell division) of bacteria, so the immune system can fight off the infection. Different types of bacteria are differently susceptible to different antibiotics, so usually a determination of the disease causing strain is warranted to determine the best antibiotic (which would target the diese conferring bacteria more than others). There are broad-spectrum antibiotics that affect the growth of a wide array of different bacterial types. However, these would affect "probiotics" in the same manner, so they would be rendered useless

Currently, Probiotics is little more than a marketing term. The wikipedia article on this subject is full of "some have claimed" and "is/are thought to". The European Food Safety Authority does not recognize claims associated with Probiotics "because it embeds a health claim which is not measurable"

Re:Bathe for health (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#47074495)

With some notable exceptions. Yogurt, for example, has been shown to cause an increase in GABA sensors in the brains of mice. Disconnecting the gut neural ganglia from the rest of the body prevents this from happening, as does sterilizing the yogurt. Thus we know there's two mechanisms here: probiotic interaction with the gut, and gut interaction with the brain.

With that knowledge, we explain the association in humans between intake of yogurt and reduced stress. There's a gap--we haven't damaged the neural pathways of humans to see if that blocks the effects--but we have pretty strong evidence for that one.

This particular instance has better study than other probiotics because it deals with neurology, which is a more interesting and more rigorously studied field. Nebulous improvements in digestive health are less interesting, harder to measure, harder to directly alter by experiment, and thus tend to have weaker evidence.

Re:Bathe for health (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 5 months ago | (#47074525)

I do understand how anti-biotics work. The most commonly prescribed anti-biotics are broad spectrums like amoxicillin due to it being able to affect many bacteria and most diagnoses of conditions not being concrete enough to justify more targeted antibiotics. It's a rather indiscriminate killer of bacteria. It will flush both helpful and harmful bacteria from your colon and that's the one place where there is good evidence suggesting that taking probiotics is helpful. Further, with the lack of evidence suggesting that probiotics are harmful there's really no reason to not use them when you're using an oral broad spectrum antibiotic which is precise the sort of scenario the post I was responding to was talking about.

Re:Bathe for health (5, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#47074127)

That's the theory, but it's a theory established back when we thought all microbes were bad, or at best harmless. Now they're re-evalutating the theory to see if perhaps it's not actually counterproductive.

The thing is those pathogens are going to get on your skin again almost immediately after washing anyway (think of everything you touch both before and after bathing), and if you've washed away the beneficial bacteria then the more virulent ones can recolonize your skin virtually unopposed. Meanwhile all your traditional symbiotes have been washed away, so you're not getting their benefits either. Could be a recipe to make people considerably more vulnerable to infection than otherwise.

Re:Bathe for health (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#47074505)

It's about amount and growth. Anthrax is on everything; you can refine anthrax from the soil in your back yard. Straight white powder anthrax will cause severe health impacts, even though you're constantly touching and inhaling anthrax.

Re:Bathe for health (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074269)

You don't bathe for an optimum natural balance; you do it so you get nasty pathogens off your body, and don't get infected wounds.

The main thing that keeps bad bacteria off your skin is good bacteria. Removing pathogen-laden dirt is a good thing, but it's mainly a mechanical process and soap doesn't help it much. Soap may somewhat weaken the natural barriers and defenses that your skin has against infection.

Apparently some health comes at the expense of some other health, like how antibiotics destroy gut bacteria but save you from death by sepsis.

If you have sepsis, you're at the point where chopping off limbs becomes a reasonable medical strategy.

Re:Bathe for health (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 5 months ago | (#47074363)

you do it so you get nasty pathogens off your body, and don't get infected wounds.

You don't have to wash the whole body just to keep a wound clean, you know? It's perfectly possible to just clean and sanitize the wound and the surrounding area.

Re:Bathe for health (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#47074511)

Originally, these things were not known. Also, we're better at determining where a wound is; back in working man days, you had scrapes and cuts and bruises all over your body. Times have changed.

"four straight weeks of no showers, no soap" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073857)

"She reported improvements to her skin and complexion, and described how the bacteria worked to curtail (but not eliminate) the body odor caused by not washing."

That must have been one funky monkey...

Re: "four straight weeks of no showers, no soap" (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 5 months ago | (#47073897)

"She reported improvements to her skin and complexion, and described how the bacteria worked to curtail (but not eliminate) the body odor caused by not washing."

That must have been one funky monkey...

According to the blog linked in the article, it was apparently somewhere between cut onions and marijuana.

Re: "four straight weeks of no showers, no soap" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074131)

According to the blog linked in the article, it was apparently somewhere between cut onions and marijuana.

...piece of ass that will bring a tear to your eye!

Re: "four straight weeks of no showers, no soap" (4, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47073937)

Was the reduction of body stench independently verified? Maybe she just got used to it.

Re: "four straight weeks of no showers, no soap" (4, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 5 months ago | (#47074367)

Was the reduction of body stench independently verified? Maybe she just got used to it.

Absolutely possible. This is just her anecdotal report. She has other anecdotal reports in TFA, though:

Jamas, a quiet, serial entrepreneur with a doctorate in biotechnology, incorporated N. eutropha into his hygiene routine years ago; today he uses soap just twice a week. The chairman of the company's board of directors, Jamie Heywood, lathers up once or twice a month and shampoos just three times a year. The most extreme case is David Whitlock, the M.I.T.-trained chemical engineer who invented AO+. He has not showered for the past 12 years. He occasionally takes a sponge bath to wash away grime but trusts his skin's bacterial colony to do the rest. I met these men. I got close enough to shake their hands, engage in casual conversation and note that they in no way conveyed a sense of being "unclean" in either the visual or olfactory sense.

And, honestly, it makes some sense on an intuitive level. Perspiration doesn't really have an odor on its own -- the odor comes with the bacteria and such that start growing in the minutes and hours after perspiration.

If we get rid of all of them every day, we're going to select for certain strains of fast-growing bacteria.

If we instead let things "ferment" over weeks or months, we'll probably select for other types of bacteria, which tend to be adapted to our bodies, rather than whatever random fast-growing stuff happens to land there after a daily shower. Undoubtedly, the odors produced with a hygiene regimen change will be DIFFERENT.

And, since soap and daily showers are a relatively recent invention, one would think that humans would be less likely to find the build-up of long-term bacterial colony odors offensive, since from an evolutionary perspective, natural body odor shouldn't drive potential mates away. And it's therefore more likely that we'd be adapted to not care about such odors (of even sometimes be attracted to them -- historically, we have lots of accounts of people who describe natural body odor as a significant aphrodisiac).

I'm not saying all of this is true. But it at least makes sense that a DIFFERENCE in body odor seems likely when bacterial colonies are allowed to establish themselves over time and be selected for in daily body excretions.

Kind of like trying to create a sourdough starter: if you just mix together flour and water and let it sit for a few days, you have a high likelihood of mold or undesirable things forming over time. If you just empty the container, scrub it out, and try again, you're likely to have similar results. But if you let it sit over a period of weeks and gradually feed it, eventually you'll select for specific bacteria and yeasts. And after a while, you end up with robust bacterial colonies that won't likely mold or grow nasty stuff -- because the microorganisms create an environment conductive to their own growth, rather than the undesirable stuff.

Camping (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073863)

If I going camping in early spring or late fall the lake water tends to be very cold and if I can't be bothered to heat water it may be 4-5 days I go without washing up.

What I notice is the dead skin cells. Socks get grubby unless I bring enough to replace every day, shirts get a shiny sheen at the collars, pants and underwear become abrasive.

Unless this stuff eats all the dead skin cells there are more problems to not bathing than smell.

Re:Camping (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 5 months ago | (#47073975)

It's not "not bathing" she showered, and you could still use a sponge (or something slightly abrasive) to remove dead skin and excessive sebum.

Does shower mean soap? (3, Insightful)

yendor (4311) | about 5 months ago | (#47073887)

I ask myself if the showers that kill the flora is just water or use soap.
Shampoo is something I long ago stopped using and after a short period I stopped producing excessive amounts of oil. The only times I have to shampoo is when because of a skin condition.

Using soap in general isn't something I feel is needed since a regular rinsing leaves me non smelly.

Question is if I am actually breeding these little microbes and my lack of soaping is why I don't smell or if it's simply because I'm not a smelly person as some of my friends and family asserts?

Re:Does shower mean soap? (1)

EvolutionInAction (2623513) | about 5 months ago | (#47073967)

Or you've just stopped noticing the smell, which is the worrying theory.

I've actually stopped shampooing as well, though I also have to keep my hair buzzed short. It's the only thing I've found to reduce the oil and irritation. I'm far too aware of BO to stop using soap, though...

Re:Does shower mean soap? (5, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 5 months ago | (#47073977)

Using soap in general isn't something I feel is needed since a regular rinsing leaves me non smelly.

According to your nose you may be non-smelly. Perhaps you're like a coworker of mine that could not smell BO. He didn't think he needed to wash regularly or use deodorant since he couldn't smell himself. Being an avid runner, he STANK most of the time; I mean he reeked to the point of making people's eyes water.

You really don't want to be 'that guy'. You might want to get a second opinion from an unbiased source (not "friends and family").

Re:Does shower mean soap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074059)

I had a cow-irker like that at a previous job. Said soap hurt his skin, and was actually proud of the fact that he stank... he bragged that it gave him more clout when in meetings, especially if he could corner someone. At first, his cube would have someone drop some type of BO product in his chair on a daily basis, then when people realized that he liked having people see his past 2-3 meals in his beard, that stopped and people did their best just to get transferred to another department, or just moved to another company. He did get his wish... but when that startup got bought out and shut down, I'm sure the fact that he was remembered far and wide for the lack of personal hygiene didn't help his job chances.

Re:Does shower mean soap? (4, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#47074221)

RMS don't need no stinkin' job!

Re:Does shower mean soap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073991)

RMS, is that you?

Re:Does shower mean soap? (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 5 months ago | (#47074027)

Question is if I am actually breeding these little microbes and my lack of soaping is why I don't smell or if it's simply because I'm not a smelly person as some of my friends and family asserts?

Smelly is relative term.Are your relatives are smelly?

But seriously, I think a lot of folks don't soap their entire bodies when they shower. I just hit the critical spots in a normal shower. Full soaping only happens before a long flight or after doing something significantly dirty. Shampoo once a week at most, keeps my scalp from drying up.

Re:Does shower mean soap? (2)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#47074075)

I found that getting the water as hot as I could stand before rinsing out my hair seems to help rinse out excessive oil buildup. I tend to shampoo two to three times a week instead of daily, and I've noticed that when I do this with the hot water my hair looks better than when I use cooler water.

But yeah, otherwise soap all the way.

Re:Does shower mean soap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074157)

Using soap in general isn't something I feel is needed since a regular rinsing leaves me non smelly.

Hopefully the people around you agree, and you haven't become a bad stereotype.

Because, judging by that ID, you probably have a neck beard. And a smelly neck beard is a terrible thing, especially if he thinks he smells OK.

To maximize bacteria (5, Informative)

ColoradoAuthor (682295) | about 5 months ago | (#47073891)

IIRC from the book "The Life That Lives On Man," the skin count of undesirable bacteria is maximized by daily showering. That's just frequent enough to wash away the desirable strains, and to keep things moist enough for the undesirable strains to proliferate. That research is over 20 years old, so I'd love to see an update.

Quick! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47073893)

Ship a crate to Stallman! Along with a box of chocolate covered toenails-and-bunions.

not so bad (3, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | about 5 months ago | (#47073929)

I've gone 10 days without washing (other than water), on a wilderness backpacking trip. Despite the fact that I was sweating a lot every day, at the end of the expedition I didn't feel as "dirty" as I would've expected. I think we could find a happy medium between our modern antibacterial-soap fetish and ye olde annual bath.

Re:not so bad (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47073961)

yea, like soap with bacteria in it. :-)

Yogurt enema anyone?

Re:not so bad (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074191)

I went 2 months without showering, when I was working in the Arctic, living in a tent, etc. A snow shower at -40c didn't seem appealing.

Then my flight out was delayed by weather. I lost the shower day I was going to have between flights.

So took the bush plane out the next day and ran for my next flight. New sweat to freshen up 2 months of stench. After take off, everyone moved to the front of the plane and the flight attendant discreetly sprayed the entire now-empty-except-for-me rear cabin with air freshener.

Suprisingly, I felt no embarrassment.

Re:not so bad (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 months ago | (#47074411)

I felt the same way. And then, when I got back to civilization, everyone within a 5 foot radius of me nearly died from the smell.

I've gone without product (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47073963)

At first I was stinky and greasy. Later I was just greasy. But hey, I've got greasy skin. So I went back to product, because I didn't want to be greasy. But I have hippie shampoo and soap, no patchouli involved — unscented shampoo, and peppermint soap. No deodorant, I smell at least as good now as I did when I used it in conjunction with a bunch of toxic crap.

Or (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 5 months ago | (#47073995)

Ya know what I'm thinkin'? D&D conventions.

Have you ever walked into a hobby store on a Saturday with gaming tables set up? Fucking unwashed pigs.

"Shut up!!! It's Baron Harkonnen cosplay! >:-( "

Re:Or (4, Funny)

fey000 (1374173) | about 5 months ago | (#47074063)

Parent deserves at least a +1 for the visual of Baron Harkonnen cosplay.

Re:Or (1)

Bardez (915334) | about 5 months ago | (#47074171)

I extend this recommendation to +3

Re:Or (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47074423)

Have you ever walked into a hobby store on a Saturday with gaming tables set up? Fucking unwashed pigs.

The real problem often ain't the gamers themselves, but their laundry habits or lack thereof. If you're gonna work around the house, sure, put on yesterday's pants. If you're going to sit right next to someone else, put on a full set of clean clothes, you goddamned savages. And, you know, actually do your laundry.

Missed opportunity (0)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 5 months ago | (#47074071)

Missed opportunity to mention it is "Mostly Harmless" (instead of this "generally harmless"). Also, if they had gone 6 weeks, instead of 4, that would have been 42 days, which is a much better number. Then this invention should have been called the ultimate solution to the universe etc... the only puzzle remaining then is what the heck you always need a towel for.

Probiotic and Gluten free (1)

bjb_admin (1204494) | about 5 months ago | (#47074089)

Want it to sell like pancakes? Just advertise it as a "gluten free probiotic cleansing spray"

Soap and shampoo are just a life style objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074095)

i'm only using shampoo every quarter in a year and maybe i'll even stop doing that. i'm not using soap at all UNLESS i'm very dirty and water doesn't cut it. i'm not stinking more than before i started and my hair is just as greasy as it would be if someone who regularly uses shampoo wouldn't shower for like 3 days or so. i rarely shower more often than once a week, the exception being after sports, where i usually just wash away the sweat. all in all i'm saving a ton of water and soap shit. it's all just advertising. i'm cleaning my arm pits and my genitalia with water only on a daily basis. so far no one has complained and i don't feel dirty.

it's all bullshit to sell you more bullshit.

Re:Soap and shampoo are just a life style objects (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 5 months ago | (#47074313)

Wow, you must draw babes like flies.

Re:Soap and shampoo are just a life style objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074421)

... or flies like babes.

Soap is for hair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074097)

I almost never wash most of my skin with soap. Only my hair, armpits and feet.

Another datapoint, me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074207)

I've not used soaps at all (29/m) however I just use deodorant. I've been repeatedly told by several girls that I've dated that I smell amazing and it's one of my defining things that they like about me. I will say that I have semi-dry skin naturally, so I'm not greasy or anything like that. Also, since I don't ever use soap, if I run out of deodorant or run out the door without it, its noticable by me by the end of the day (inside the shirt sniff test).

Nope, I'm good. (2)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | about 5 months ago | (#47074239)

I'll stick with soap.

Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074241)

Darn hippies were right all along.

Dermatologists always say "don't wash" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074389)

Many dermatologists have long suspected that modern humans wash way way too much, and TFA is yet another possible reason why soap and water can be so bad for the skin. I have suffered from dermatitis all my life. Dermatologists routinely told me not too shower more than twice per week and never to use any form of soap - you use non-soap emollients instead. Washing strips everything off the skin, neutralizes natural acids, and removes the protective oil.

Re:Dermatologists always say "don't wash" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074443)

In fact, I recall a media story about a dermatologist who banned actual soap from his family's household, believing it to be so very bad for skin conditions.

Soap no more effective than friction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074473)

It was shown long ago in hospitals that washing hands with plain water and lots of friction was just as effective as soap and water at killing microbes. People want to smell nice.

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