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What A Guy Who Doesn’t Shower Can Teach Your Kid About Cleanliness

The flawed science behind the hygiene norms in society has wreaked havoc on societies’ collective immune health and has mostly benefited the manufacturers of cleaning products. Fatherly.com featured a guest editorialist who possesses a more thorough knowledge of the immune system and the dangers posed by an overly sanitized world. David Whitlock is an MIT scientist and has not bathed in over a decade. His advice is for parents to let go of their germ-phobic superstitions.

Although awareness about the importance of the gut microbiome is growing, the average American still showers about once a day but this a hygiene habit that may be doing your body more harm than good. This is due to the fact that such microorganisms don’t only populate your gut; they’re found throughout your body, including on your skin. Just as your gut depends on a balanced microbial state to function optimally, the balance of bacteria and other microbes on your skin also matters.

Many take proactive steps to protect their flora balance, like minimizing the use of antibiotics and eating fermented foods to support a healthy balance. Far fewer embrace the time saving measure of reducing the frequency of bathing. At first, you may emit foul odors and have greasy skin or hair. However, this may be the direct result of your prior aggressive showering routine.

Body odor is the result of bacteria feeding on oily secretions from your sweat and sebaceous glands. Washing with detergent soaps wipes out the bacteria temporarily, but it quickly reestablishes itself, typically with an imbalance that favors odor-producing microbes. When you give your body a break from the toxic shampoos and soaps, however, the ecosystem has a chance to right itself and, in so doing, offensive body odor largely disappears.