Does your body need a kind of soap to be clean?


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So, last year I was talking to my roommate and somehow the topic of showering came up. Weird? Maybe. I don't quite think so... but that's beside the point.
We were talking about showering and he comes to mention that he doesn't use soap or shampoo in the shower. This completely blew my mind. I said to him, "Well, you don't smell all the time.. and you don't look dirty or greasy." He said there was some kind of science behind it. I didn't believe him, but now for this class I finally have a chance to look into it.

An article by Sean Bonner makes an interesting point: "..it seemed silly that we we have evolved into creatures that needed a bunch of corporately produced and marketed chemicals smeared all over out bodies everyday just to get by."
Well, do we need soap or not? Was what our mothers taught us about using soap and shampoo every day completely wrong? Well.. the answer is a little more complicated than that.

The answer is more personal and require our bodies' reaction first. Niall Doherty found this out for himself and decided to go three whole months without using shampoo or soap in the shower. He says that not using shampoo or soap doesn't really differ too much at all from using shampoo and soap frequently. Not using them can even have benefits!
Your hair and skin have natural oils that protect them from getting dirty and scrubbing with soap and shampoo can wash a lot of these away. Because of this, Niall said that his hair and body not only didn't have an odor but his hair and body stayed clean for longer throughout the day after he would shower in the mornings. This isn't just plain rinsing off, remember you would still lightly scrub your body with a washcloth or loofah.. whatever you use.. just no soap. Now keep in mind that according to him, it's still a good idea to use deodorant and wash your hands after using the bathroom and such.

Not so fast, my friend. Before you stop bathing altogether, there is a catch. There's always a catch.
It falls along the lines of risk/reward. There is a short transition period after you stop using soap and shampoo where your body takes maybe a week or two to realize what the hell is going on. This is especially true for men and women with long hair. Understandably, it takes a longer time for the natural oils to get working in the hair with longer length hair. So, before you try it, it may be a good idea to cut your hair pretty short. The long term results of not using soap can also vary with people who have naturally oily skin. Maybe it will be effective, maybe not.

It never occurred to me to question why I use soap and shampoo until my roommate brought it up that he doesn't use either. The truth is, using only water can work for a lot of people. Proceed with caution though. The results can vary for each person. Have I tried it, you ask? No, I haven't, and I probably won't ever be completely off soap. But after knowing what I know now maybe I'll start to use a little less.




3 Comments

Yes! I have had so many of my friends tell me about this but I never fully believed them. I did attempt this once before but my hair turned greasy and gross so I ended up washing it...with soap! I now know this was the "transition period" you mentioned in your article. Previously, I would not of tried this again after my first experience but after reading your article and knowing that it actually works, I just may give it another go.

Pretty shocking, eh? Turns out our bodies aren't as dependent on soap and shampoo as we thought.

I had to laugh when I saw this was the topic of your blog -- there was a heated debate going on between my coworkers in the restaurant I work for back at home. A group of my fellow waitresses tried convincing everyone to stop using shampoo, or atleast limit it down to once a week, insisting that this technique was the key to their shiny hair. I tried it for a few days, but I constantly felt like my hair was greasy. Clearly what you said about long hair is right...my body had no idea what the hell was going on and I wasn't willing to wait long enough to figure it out.

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