Monthly Archives: November 2015

Personal Hygiene and Your Brain

waterfall at Limekiln State Park

By: Tina Davidson

Should I Stop Showering?

You gotta love Yahoo news feeds. Thanks to a Yahoo article, I just found out about Mother Dirt (no, although some may think, it is not my barefoot mother’s moniker).

I read the article by Molly Shea and watched the interview by Katie Couric with chemical engineer, David Whitlock, and Mother Dirt President, Jasmina Aganovic.

Basically, a scientist, David Whitlock, chose to spray himself with a mist that contains ammonia oxidizing bacteria (he uses the AO + Mist product by Mother Dirt) instead of showering. It has been more than 12 years that he’s gone without a bath or shower. Apparently, he doesn’t smell because the mist contains bacteria that eat up the odors and convert it into something good (I believe it was nitric acid).

How would you feel about your partner or teenager not showering for 12 years?

Food for thought for another blog post: What if the State of California handed out bottles of AO + Mist to citizens in hopes to limit showering and promote water conservation during the drought?

Yes, this post raises some questions. The Mother Dirt products got rave reviews on its website (but who is going to put bad press on their site?) I also watched the Test/Friends video from Buzzfeed where the reviewers tried out the AO + Mist product themselves. The three testers gave it mixed reviews. This trial didn’t seem too conclusive of whether or not the product lived up to the hype (smell was still a factor).

What Does This Mean for Consumers?

Those bacteria friendly products certainly aren’t cheap. You can purchase the bundle of AO + Mist, Shampoo, and Conditioner for $69 (if you sign up for the newsletter, then you can get 10% off). I can buy a lot of Dr. Bronner’s organic pure castile soap for $69. Would it work to just go out and find some dirt with ammonia oxidizing (AO) bacteria in it? How easy is it to find this AO bacteria? Would it work to just put probiotic pills in your shampoo bottles? Obviously, there is a difference there. I’ve got so many questions to research. Any answers?

In 2013, I read a Chris Kresser article, “5 Uncommon Uses for Probiotics.” Some of the uncommon uses were a probiotic cleaning spray and probiotic skin lotions. So, it looks like this trend of using good bacteria is finally catching on in the form of skin care products.

As I mentioned before, most of my summer reading centered around the microbiome and the good gut bacteria that we need back in our lives. You can also benefit from putting these good guys directly on your skin. A quote from Chris’ Ebook on Nutrition for Healthy Skin:

The skin is naturally home to beneficial flora that protect the skin from pathogens and regulate inflammation, but these friendly populations of bacteria can be disturbed through harsh soaps and other environmental toxins. Restoring beneficial bacteria through probiotic lotions or spot treatments appears to reduce skin inflammation from the outside, thus improving acne.

Perhaps this, Mother Dirt, company will help take the good bacteria into the mainstream and revolutionize the skin care and cleaning product industry? I am done with Triclosan, an antibacterial product found in toothpaste and soaps, and I hope more people will start to stand up for a world with less antibacterial products–a world where microscopic bacteria do the work and we reap the benefits.

How Close is the World to Giving up Showers?

What would a world with no showering really look/smell like?

Would there be more kids getting parental consent to jump in the mud to get good bacteria in their system?

According to the dermatologist, Ted Lain, who is mentioned in the Yahoo article, we shouldn’t give up on showers yet and more clinical trials need to be done to show the effectiveness of the Mother Dirt products. He thinks that people in cities still need to wash off grime and bacteria on a daily basis. I guess country kids might have better luck convincing their parents they don’t need a shower every night.

Celebrity Showering Quiz

Our culture is a little bit weirdly obsessed with the showering habits of famous individuals. There is an article online that dishes the info (you determine the validity) on the celebs who bathe with their dogs (Mariah Carey), take luxurious baths (Oprah), or those who are out of the shower in three minutes (Jennifer Aniston). I wonder if any of them would start endorsing Mother Dirt?

Cleanliness is Inspiration for my Mind

Which raises yet another question: What about all the creative people who get their inspiration for work while in the shower? (Many ideas for this blog post popped into my head while I was showering. I was looking for a distraction from my NaNoWriMo novel).

If you’ve ever had a moment of clarity while in the shower, you’re not alone. In a 2012 study conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, participants who performed undemanding activities that allowed their mind to wander experienced a significant increase in creative problem-solving abilities.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Healthy-Shower-Habits-Shower-Mistakes#ixzz3qgTBNXaf

It seems that it is the act of quieting one’s mind that helps with creative problem-solving abilities. In the New York Times #1 Best Seller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo mentions this idea by writing about the time she went on a hike to a waterfall with one of her 74 year-old clients. The author experienced a meditative like state while standing under the waterfall. In her book, she examines the similarities between mediating under a waterfall and tidying one’s house.

“For this reason, it is essential to create a quiet space in which to evaluate the things in your life.” Pg. 57

For some people, this quiet space might be the shower.

Warning Signs of Not Showering

People may become less creative in problem-solving and smell foul if they haven’t showered in a while.  Poor hygiene can also be one of the first signs of cognitive decline.

Typically in Alzheimer’s disease but also in Lewy body dementia and vascular dementia, in the late mild to early moderate stages, the person you care for may need to be reminded to wash and groom themselves.

When it comes to dementia, more signs of what to look for in terms of personal care/hygiene can be found at dementiaguide.com.

Smarter Hygiene Products

None of the products I use for cleaning or personal hygiene include probiotics, yet.

I make my own deodorant (it is not an antiperspirant) out of coconut oil, tapioca starch, baking soda, lemon oil, and tea tree oil. I can count on it to keep the smell away for one day (don’t try to push 2 days without showering when using your own homemade stuff.)

I use Weleda toothpaste that contains salt. I used to use “dirt” toothpaste (a commercial product made with clay) but the company was forced to put a warning lable on the toothpaste that it may contain lead. This was too unsettling for me to look at every day.

What about you? Dare I ask when the last time you showered? Have any good hygiene tips or products to share? Need a good distraction from NaNoWriMo?

Here’s to keeping your brain happy by smelling good!

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