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Fascinating article about what happens if you stop bathing


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5 replies to this topic

#1
starspawn0

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https://www.theatlan...ntinued/486314/

At first, I was an oily, smelly beast. The odor of bodies is the product of bacteria that live on our skin and feed off of the oily secretions from the sweat and sebaceous glands at the base of our hair follicles. Applying detergents (soaps) to our skin and hair every day disrupts a sort of balance between skin oils and the bacteria that live on our skin. When you shower aggressively, you obliterate the ecosystems. They repopulate quickly, but the species are out of balance and tend to favor the kinds of microbes that produce odor.

But after a while, the idea goes, your ecosystem reaches a steady state, and you stop smelling bad. I mean, you don’t smell like rosewater or Axe Body Spray, but you don’t smell like B.O., either. You just smell like a person.

Because, evolutionarily, why would we be so disgusting that we need constant cleaning? And constant moisturizing and/or de-oiling? If we do more to allow our oil glands and bacteria to equilibrate, the theory goes, skin should stop fluctuating between oily and dry.



#2
kjaggard

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I've not used body wash/soap, or shampoo in probably 5 years. just a decent rinse in the shower 2-3 times a week, a bit of conditioner twice a week for my long hair tangles, and hand soap for sanitation.

 

you stop getting overly greasy in less than a month, and it can heal dry skin or other skin conditions.

 

Only in summer heat and humidity do I shower more often. and I don't smell usually.

 

I say usually because when I am sick, or working hard, or go a week without a bath in summer I can smell a change but nobody else can apparently because I asked... a lot. I know I hyper sensative to things like that.

 

It's also effected a great deal by your diet. lots of greens can actually decrease body odor.


  • Erowind and starspawn0 like this
Live content within small means. Seek elegance rather than luxury, Grace over fashion and wealth over riches.
Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
Await occasions, never make haste. Find wonder and awe, by experiencing the everyday.

#3
wjfox

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As somebody who works in a busy, crowded office, I take a shower every day – without fail – and change into clean clothes, daily. Personal hygiene is of absolute paramount importance to me.

 

The only time I won't shower is, for example, on rare occasions when I'm extremely pushed for time, or when I unexpectedly run out of soap/shampoo, which happens maybe once or twice a year. Or maybe it's a Sunday and I'm feeling really tired at home, alone, and haven't done anything particularly vigorous, so I can wait until Monday morning. But again, this happens very rarely.

 

I can't understand why anyone would wash less than daily on a weekday, and the idea is frankly disgusting to me (sorry kjaggard). You might think you smell okay, but other people don't necessarily have the same opinion (just some advice...). And perhaps they're not telling you to avoid hurting your feelings.

 

You can avoid any doubt by washing daily.


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#4
Erowind

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Lived on a commune for 3 weeks, maybe a quarter of the folks there were like Kjaggard. It's true though, BO is a different smell from just people. The smell of people who have reached that balanced point the article talks about honestly isn't horrible and often isn't noticeable. This whole topic is very cultural, prior to the 1920s no one barring the super rich showered as often as we do today, at least in America. Things might wrap around again one day, at which point maybe folks like myself who shower daily will be seen as prudish. I make the distinction through. The transition period with BO is disgusting. But both showering daily and not showering often allowing a balanced ecosystem are both fine.

Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#5
Outlook

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I need to smell like soap, any form of body odor other than the smell of clean skin just bothers me.

Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/z97qLNXeAMQ


#6
kjaggard

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As somebody who works in a busy, crowded office, I take a shower every day – without fail – and change into clean clothes, daily. Personal hygiene is of absolute paramount importance to me.

 

The only time I won't shower is, for example, on rare occasions when I'm extremely pushed for time, or when I unexpectedly run out of soap/shampoo, which happens maybe once or twice a year. Or maybe it's a Sunday and I'm feeling really tired at home, alone, and haven't done anything particularly vigorous, so I can wait until Monday morning. But again, this happens very rarely.

 

I can't understand why anyone would wash less than daily on a weekday, and the idea is frankly disgusting to me (sorry kjaggard). You might think you smell okay, but other people don't necessarily have the same opinion (just some advice...). And perhaps they're not telling you to avoid hurting your feelings.

 

You can avoid any doubt by washing daily.

I thinks you missed the part where I've made a point of trying to find out if others smell anything off. I can usually tell what somebody two floors down is eating, and am acutely aware of whether or not other people eat meat or grain heavy diets just based on their own smell. I know my smell enough to know when it changes due to diet and sickness... and I dislike the changes (it actively bothers me, but in most of those cases, multiple showers a day don't rid you of smelling like a human) but I have vocally complained about it on several occasions only to be told nobody notices anything and I'm being too picky. 

 

Meanwhile I've lived with people so absolutely nose dead they use some over scented crap that bombs the whole house it some horrible chemical stink that takes hours to disipate after they are gone.

 

it's a bit like people I know who can't drink water without something added to give it a 'refreshing flavor', or can't eat veggies or meat that isn't slathered in some sort of sauce. we've changed the default to something perfumed up in some way that anything that doesn't smell like waterfall fresh or peach blossom seems out of place.


  • Yuli Ban and Erowind like this
Live content within small means. Seek elegance rather than luxury, Grace over fashion and wealth over riches.
Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
Await occasions, never make haste. Find wonder and awe, by experiencing the everyday.




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