We all know a person who’s boasted about the length of time they’ve abstained from taking a shower or bathing.
It’s either an odd point of pride or a self-deprecating knock on their personal hygiene.
Either way, if they kept it up — say, for an entire year — they’d smell awful, would run the risk of infection and could be covered in acne and bumps.
Hygiene is extremely important, and to prove it, let’s discuss what happens if you NEVER showered.
How often SHOULD we shower?
Most of us shower daily to stay clean. But from a scientific standpoint, our modern hygiene habits are overrated.
Our modern habit of daily scrubbing with soaps and shampoos looks absurd by historical standards—large-scale soap production only started in the mid 19th century and the daily bath didn’t really take off until the mid 20th—and some experts think it’s harmful.
Even the most simple of soaps and shampoos destroy the body’s natural oils and thus the protection derived therefrom. That protection includes guarding against disease-causing microbes and other nuisances like lice infestation.
Sebum, the skin’s natural oil secretion, gives skin and hair its waterproofness, kills germs, sends moisturizing and sun-shielding vitamin E to the surface, and acts as a delivery system for antioxidants and pheromones. You could spend dozens of dollars on soaps to strip it away and several dozen more on cosmetics (most of which are crammed with toxic chemicals to boot) in a tenuous effort to replace its functions.
That’s not to say cleanliness is nonessential. According to UNICEF, 30 percent of disease and 75 percent of life years lost in developing countries are due in part to poor sanitation and “risky hygiene behavior,” and they recommend regular face and hand washing with soap, ashes, or rubbing.
Nonetheless, what we tend to call “germs” are often good for us. Far from being our enemies, bacteria are our friends, and any activity on their account is a beneficial one.