We have all heard the question from our children: “why do I have to have a bath?”. Mostly we tell them because they need to be clean or they will smell. But is this really enough and what is the real reasons we need to wash our bodies?
It is true that in the past (before the days of bathrooms and indoor toilets) we would wash just once a week if we were lucky. In more ancient times, the thought of washing for the sake of being clean must have seemed like a laughable idea. We have certainly been dirty for much longer, as a species, than we have been clean. So are our bodies actually correctly evolved to be washed at all? Would we be healthier if we didn’t get in the bath or shower every day?
- Our body builds up sweat, oils and dirt every day. In our modern environment, the very air is not very clean and this will also cling to our skin.
- Bacteria loves to eat up the dirt on our skin and the bacteria then deposit waste onto your skin. This can leave you a bit smelly.
- Over time bacteria on your skin could cause skin conditions like pimples and rashes. You could also transfer the bacteria into your mouth and cause internal problems like vomiting and diarrhoea.
- In modern homes many people share the toilet and this can harbour more germs. It is therefore important to wash hands in the sink after using the toilet.
- We are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics and some bacteria cannot be killed. So avoiding infection is more important now than ever. However there is some possibility that this resistance is actually down to the fact that we wash so frequently and use harsh chemicals to keep ourselves clean.
Why we shouldn’t wash
- While it is a good idea to keep clean – it may not be as necessary as we are led to believe. Your skin has natural oils which can be washed away when we keep it too clean. This can lead to dry skin.
- Hair will actually learn to keep itself clean if it is not washed at all. After a few weeks the condition improves and it rids itself of oils and grease.
- Our immune systems may actually improve if we are subjected to bacteria at a young age. This will allow us to built up a resistance to bacteria and infections.
How best to wash
OK, so society these days pretty much insists that washing should be a daily activity and we have bathrooms installed for this exact purpose. Many of us enjoy the process of getting clean, but there are great ways of doing it without causing damage to our skin.
Always try to avoid harsh chemicals and drying soaps when washing. Try to use natural ingredients or make your own. When you are finished in the bathroom always put back some of the oils you have taken away. This is especially wise if you live in a hard water area and need to use more soap than average.
Apply a moisturiser to your skin after having a shower or bath. One of the best way to get moisture back into our skin is to use olive or coconut oil. This will add a barrier and prevent your skin from drying out.
Avoid using chemicals in your bath or basin to clean them. This can leave a residue and could leach into your water. When washing you want the water to be as pure as possible. Good ways of cleaning your bath is to use vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda.
So, don’t ignore the need for washing yourself – especially after a hard day. But remember that you need to look after your skin. Also going for the odd day without a shower is unlikely to cause too many problems – but don’t tell the kids that!