Should you wash your whole body in the shower? No.
Dr. Chutkan, founder of the Digestive Center for Women and the author of “The Microbiome Solution“, says that cleaning your entire body with soap strips your skin of beneficial bacteria, making you prone to acne and eczema. Additionally, the over use of soap strips your body of natural oils, leading to dry skin, opening your skin up to infection and decreased overall immunity.
What To Wash
When showering, what should you be washing? You already know the answer: your armpits and groin.
Your armpits and groin areas are collectors of dirt and grim. Gross, I know. Your armpits and groin are where skin touches skin, creating a biome rich for growing bacteria. Some of these bacteria are good, yet some are unwanted.
As our sweat glands discharge water, salts, fats, and proteins, some of the microbes living on our skin consume the fat and protein, ferment it, and release what we call body odor.
Given that no one wants to be the smelly guy at work, washing your armpits and groin areas keeps odor causing bacteria under control.
Of course, if the rest of your body does get dirtier-than-normal from manual labor or outdoor fun, you may need to rinse with more than water – and that is perfectly ok. Life is no fun without a little dirt and grime.
Should You Use Antimicrobial Soap?
If bad microbes are the problem, why not use antimicrobial soap? Because antimicrobial soap is no better at killing bacteria than regular soap, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Furthermore, a lot of antimicrobial soaps contain triclosan.
Triclosan is a pesticide and common antibacterial, found in many personal care products. But, you should be avoiding triclosan because triclosan disrupts thyroid hormones and triclosan seems to positively select for more potent bacteria by killing off weaker strains, thus breeding stronger bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics!
Given these dangers, many products have begun to switch away from triclosan but as of writing, triclosan is still found in Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Antibacterial Bar, CVS Antibacterial Hand Soap, Dawn Ultra Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid, and Colgate Total toothpaste.
When taking your daily shower, to clean your armpits and groin, use a mild organic soap. Personally, I like Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap.
Save Time & Water
By washing only where you need it, you are going to shave minutes off your morning or evening routine. While saving time, you will also be saving water. The average American shower uses 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) with an average shower time of more than 8 minutes. Reducing your time in the shower each day, will really add up over time.
READ: Take a Cold Shower