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Should you stop using soap when you take a shower?

Updated Nov 19th, 2015 3:16PM EST
Stop Using Soap in the Shower
Image: Old Spice

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Here’s something you don’t hear every day: you might be getting too clean when you take a shower.

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Dr. Robynne Chutkan, the founder of the Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and author of The Microbiome Solution, tells that using anti-bacterial soap on a daily basis strips your skin of bacteria that keep you free from acne and eczema. In fact, the only spots that need a regular scrubbing are your armpits and your groin.

This goes beyond your typical morning or nightly shower too — Chutkan says that even after a sweaty workout, you should still refrain from lathering up with soap. A simple rinse will do (although I’m not sure how you’re supposed to eliminate the odor).

In terms of other unnecessary cleanliness habits that many of us partake in, Chutkan reaffirms the view that hand sanitizers are all but worthless, “unless you’ve been hanging out on an Ebola ward.” Microbes you pick up from the surrounding environment is not going to kill you, so there’s no need to kill it by squeezing chemicals on to your skin.

Finally, Chutkan suggests that everyone should find time to go outside and get a little dirty during the week. Open a window, sit on the grass in the park, buy food from a farmer’s market — expose yourself to healthy microbes so that your body will be prepared to deal with unwanted bacteria when and if it arrives.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.