I know that the title may sound crazy. But yes, it is exactly what it is means.
It is a LITERAL question, rather than a metaphor or anything else.
I am asking whether it’s really necessary to use soaps for bathing.
So in simple terms,
“Are soaps really necessary for baths?”
Bathing everyday with soap and water has today become universally accepted.
We are told from birth that we must use soap everyday to maintain good health.
At face value, it might seem like common-sense.
After all, you’ll become healthier if you kill those nasty germs on your skin, right? So why even question this piece of wisdom?
The answer is not really something you can explain easily. But you can start off with this particular statement …
“Not everything is what it seems … ”
Why do I make this statement?
Why do I question the wisdom of bathing with soap and water?
To begin with, I am not really questioning the wisdom of it per se. On the contrary, I am just wondering if it is really as important as it is made out to be.
In other words, I am asking if bathing with soap and water has largely been a hype at best and a disaster at worst?
Let me explain the whole thing in a bit more detail.
Over the past year or so, I have been questioning the wisdom of making soaps a mandatory part of our everyday personal hygiene.
My doubts started when I came across the concept of skin microbiomes and people talking about how soaps would kill off this microbiome. In common language, our skin hosts a wide range of bacteria and other microbes as part of a larger living system, which goes beyond ourselves.
You would of course say,
“Well, that’s the point! We need to get rid of them!! They are evil and cause disease!!!”
This is where our notion of the natural world goes wrong. Ever since we started to understand more about the cause of diseases and so on, we’ve reached an almost OCD-level insanity when it comes to personal hygiene; at least that part of the population that cares about maintaining good health anyway.
It is certainly undeniable that good hygiene is important in life. But at the same time, there is also the point where you’ll begin to see a diminishing level of returns regardless of how much effort you put in.
So what is that point where you begin to notice a diminishing level of returns?
It depends, but generally starts as soon as you started believing in the notion that all microbes that live on your skin are evil and need to be exterminated.
Not all of the microbes living on your skin are evil. The truth is in fact the exact opposite. Many of them happen to be ‘good’ bacteria which are downright beneficial to you; and even if they are not, they certainly are not out to get you.
This isn’t really that alien of an idea when you think about it. Plenty of people already know about the importance of the ‘good’ bacteria that live in the gut ( called gut flora ) and help out with digestive processes. In fact, there are even supplements and medicines available in the marketplace called ‘probiotics’ that help in maintaining a good level of gut flora.
It is strange that we have accepted the importance of microbes in our intestine with such a level of ease, but at the same time are revolted when the same logic is applied to the skin. However, that’s just how and what nature is; it just cares about biology and not whether we are revolted or not over that biology.
What it all comes down to is this.
Not all skin microbes are evil.
In fact, a lot of them are actually downright helpful in a multitude of ways. They are the first line of defense on your body regarding infections and what not.
This isn’t to say that there are no evil skin microbes, but rather to imply the fact that there is no need to get all paranoid over this subject.
So when you go and take a bath with your ‘anti-bacterial’ or ‘germicidal’ or whatever soap, you could actually be destroying all of the good bacteria that are helping you out rather than harming you.
Does that mean that you should just bathe with plain water and be done with?
Or that you should go right away to the bathroom and throw away the soap?
Actually, I don’t really know the answer to these questions.
We’ll probably need more research to understand just how much we need to use soaps in our everyday life.
For the time being however, we can agree on a few things regarding soaps, namely that,
- They aren’t as important as they are made out to be.
- It is probably a good idea to wash your hands ( and elsewhere depending on the case ) after coming from the toilet, disposing garbage, during epidemics, etc.
- Some general safety measures before you eat your food.
But beyond these few precautions, I doubt that you really need to take bath with soap and water everyday like the world is conspiring against you …
I might be right.
Then again, I might be wrong too …
But what I do know for sure is that not all germs on our body are evil but on the contrary, have an important biological function and are actually helping us every single day.
Given that this is the way our biology works, I think it is time we started to look into the subject deeper and better understand how everything is connected …
So what do you think?
Do you think that we really need to bathe with soap and water every single day?
Or is it just a hype and mass hysteria?
Let me know below!