I’m going to tell you something that might gross you out. I’ve stopped washing my hair and my skin. Yuck, right? Let me explain…
I’ve actually been on a mission to reduce the use of soap on our bodies. After battling eczema and psoriasis and just plain winter dry skin, I know soap isn’t good for it. When my dermatologist told me to stop using soap, I think I gave her a blank stare with my jaw on my chest. It took me time to wrap my brain around that. Now soap plays a very small role in keeping us clean. Pretty much just our hands ever touch soap.
Now before you start avoiding me and worrying that I have the hippy, BO stench, I don’t. Surprisingly I smell like…nothing. And yes, I’ve double checked with many others. Most people don’t really smell themselves because they are so used to the smell.
Back to Bacteria
I talk a lot about bacteria on this site but not how most people are used to. Bacteria can be our friend. There are some bad bugs out there but the vast majority of bacteria are not only good but vital to our health. Bacteria on our skin are important too. Betcha didn’t know that. A daily shower with soap washes a lot of those good bugs away. Anti-bacterial soaps and hand gels should not be used ever. They are not as awesome as we once thought.
“These findings suggest that our much-ignored commensal skin bacteria play an important role in fending off infections. So perhaps all of those antibacterial baths are having effects that are more than skin deep.” ~http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/07/26/skin-bacteria-are-your-friends/
(Go read the above article. It’s good stuff!)
The bacteria ON our skin are just as important if not more than gut bugs for the skin’s immune response.
And check this out:
“The reason goes beyond a simple issue of clearing space for the invading bacteria to move in. Instead, the researchers suggest, the reason for worse infection hinges on interleukin 1 (IL-1) signaling, an immune response that the helpful bacteria can influence. “Resident commensals are required for optimal IL-1 signaling in the skin,” Naik and colleagues wrote. And that means that they, in turn, “are necessary for optimal skin immune fitness.” Past studies have implicated IL-1 signaling in psoriasis as well as asthma and arthritis.” ~http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/07/26/skin-bacteria-are-your-friends/
Did you read that? A good bacteria balance in your gut and on your skin can possibly affect psoriasis. That’s good news for me! I’ll let you know how this works for me. I haven’t had a psoriasis or eczema flare up in almost 2 years. I’ve always thought getting my gut in order was the reason. Getting my skin flora in order is icing on the cake.
Keep the Natural Oils
Soap not only washes away bacteria but all the natural oils your body produces.What is the best moisturizer for your skin and hair? Your own natural oils are the best. Heck, that’s what they are made for.
Washing it off everyday and sometimes twice a day makes your body produce more oil which can lead to oily skin and oily hair. Good news is, you can retrain it. Just be prepared to be a grease ball for a time. Your body will get the message and stop over producing. It took about a week for my face to get the message and my hair took quite a bit longer. Ponytails and hats were my friends.
What Do I Wash With?
Now your probably wondering what I do wash with because we have to wash with something, right?
For my face, I wash using the Oil Cleansing Method and have for a couple years now and I moisturize with tallow. My skin has never looked or felt better. It’s not oily or greasy and no I don’t get clogged pores or zits anymore. You can read more about that here: How I Cleared Up My Skin. The only things I do different now is tallow instead of coconut oil and I don’t use baking soda to exfoliate anymore.
For my hair and body… you’ll have to wait for the next post