Twitter can be very weird at times. For example, when the subject of washing and personal hygiene is discussed there and many users brag about their bodies seldom cleaned with soap and water. Meanwhile, some celebrities have jumped on the unwashed bandwagon.
In one Vanity Fair-Article says actor Jake Gyllenhaal is good for the skin not to bathe. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis said in a podcast that they do not “believe” in bathing, Kutcher just washed his body folds. Actor Jason Momoa was then asked about his shower routine in an interview. His answer: “I’m Aquaman, of course I take a shower.”
In light of the fact that wealthy white people seem to give a damn about personal hygiene, we spoke to Adam Friedmann, a dermatologist from the Stratum Dermatology Clinics. We have a few urgent questions.
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VICE: How bad is it scientifically not to wash?
Adam Friedmann: One would have to worry most about the unpleasant smell. Most people develop a strong body odor if they don’t wash every day. Modern deodorants and perfumes cover up this smell pretty well.
As far as the skin is concerned, it is not so bad if you do not wash yourself. The skin can cleanse and regulate itself. But I think that most doctors would say that it is normal to wash yourself every 24 hours to prevent unpleasant odors. But if you don’t have to go to the office every day, for example, you can easily take a day off.
But don’t you get any spots or a rash over time?
If you really never wash, excess keratin – a natural protein in the skin – will build up. The skin becomes more flaky and rougher, more dirt sticks and you look rather greasy after a while. The longer you don’t do anything about it, the more likely it is to catch all kinds of gross things – like lice.
Acne has nothing to do with personal hygiene, but more to do with genetic tendencies and hormones. So you don’t have to worry too much. However, if you sweat a lot and don’t wash, annoying rashes or eczema can follow in the armpits – or wherever the skin is not kept clean. However, it will take a while before it gets to that point.
What period are we talking about here?
I would say at least a week.
I could imagine that by then you would smell bad. What do you think is motivating Hollywood for the current anti-bathing movement?
As far as I know, they’re just saying don’t wash for a few days if they don’t think it’s necessary.
“There is this cliché of the unwashed hippie who is always walking barefoot. Maybe some people from Hollywood are like that.”
Jake Gyllenhaal said that he found bathing less and less necessary and that we would naturally clean ourselves. I think he thinks he doesn’t stink.
Maybe he likes his own body odor? No idea. Actors and actors are an esoteric bunch, they often have interesting outlooks on life. There is this cliché of the unwashed hippie who is always walking barefoot. Maybe some Hollywood folks are like that.
At some point do you no longer notice your own smell? Sure, the environment immediately notices if you stink, but maybe some of these people are now at a point where they can no longer smell themselves?
If you are surrounded by a certain smell for a long period of time, your olfactory nerves will eventually become insensitive to that smell. I believe that it is already possible not to smell yourself anymore. But let’s be honest, we’ve all met someone who smelled like the plague and then probably thought, “Wow, how can you not smell that?” So yes, you probably notice your own body odor less over time, but that doesn’t mean that you automatically smell good.
Some other actors – such as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Kristen Bell – say they do “smell tests” with their children. You only wash them when they smell or when they are really dirty. How about hygiene in children?
Children are much cleaner than adults. They get dirty more often, but they don’t smell unpleasant until they hit puberty. Babies are actually extremely clean, and they don’t have to be washed that often. Every three to four days is enough.
On the other side of the spectrum are celebs like The Rock, who say showering three times a day: a cold shower in the morning to wake you up, a warm shower after a workout, and then another hot shower in the evening. Can you shower too much?
In our dermatology department, the alarm bells always ring when we hear of people who use too much soap and shower gels and also take a particularly hot shower. Because this combination can do a lot of damage to the skin.
However, everyone is different, some people do not have any problems with this washing routine. For most, however, three showers a day would likely lead to dry and itchy skin because water, ironically, dries out the skin. Then it would probably be a good idea not to wash with soap, but with a moisturizer.
Do we shower too often on average?
We probably shower a lot more often than we really need to. But if that doesn’t get you into trouble, is that really a problem? I mean, nobody wants to stink. So that’s fine.
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