Mind and Body

Here's Why This Man Hasn’t Showered in Twelve Years

Why bathe when you have bacteria? 

Originally Published: 

Dave Whitlock claims he hasn’t showered in 12 years, instead opting for a spritz of a benign live bacteria he calls “Mother Dirt.”

That’s because, as he told CBS Miami recently, there’s no clinical trial demonstrating that daily showering is beneficial. If that’s true, well, then so is the fact that there is no published data that using the product by AOBiome — the Massachusetts-based company he helped start — makes you healthier, either. (A phase 2 clinical trial for AOBiome’s acne-fighting bacteria was announced in July, marking the first test of live bacteria as a skin therapy.)

It’s a narrative that’s been around for more than a decade, known as the “hygiene hypothesis,” and offered up as an explanation for why asthma rates, for instance, might be lower in a city with below-average air quality.

It is also the underlying pitch of AOBiome, which says it’s simply trying to bring ecological balance to our skin, with the company’s proprietary ammonia-oxidizing germs playing the role of the ones the prophecies foretold.

“I would like a billion people a day to use this,” the chemical engineer and MIT graduate told CBS Miami.

“We are constantly screening ingredients and formulas as part of our development process, and hope to align with other companies on how we can include the skin microbiome as a key part of formulation and a criteria for skin health,” the company claims on its research page.

Meantime, you should still probably take showers.

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