Via my pal, Cara Ellison, I’ve learned that there’s a hot new sophisticated trend that’s apparently catching on to such an extent that even the New York Times has been forced to report on it. What’s this sassy new trend? Not taking showers:
Defying a culture of clean that has prevailed at least since the 1940s, a contingent of renegades deliberately forgoes daily bathing and other gold standards of personal hygiene, like frequent shampooing and deodorant use.
To the converted, there are many reasons to cleanse less and smell more like yourself. “We don’t need to wash the way we did when we were farmers,” said Katherine Ashenburg, 65, the author of “The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History.” Since the advent of cars and labor-saving machines, she continued, “we have never needed to wash less, and we have never done it more.”
“I’m going to sound like dirty Katherine in this article,” she said, “but it doesn’t matter. I’m still invited to dinner parties.”
Retention of the skin’s natural oils and water conservation are two reasons Ms. Palmer and others cite for skipping a daily shower. Some have concluded that deodorant is unnecessary after forgetting it once with no social repercussions, or are concerned about antiperspirants containing aluminum, even though both the National Cancer Institute and the Alzheimer’s Association don’t share those concerns. Shampooing as little as possible can help retain moisture in dry locks and enhance curl shape, argue adherents of the practice; for some men, it’s about looking fashionably unkempt.
Resist the urge to recoil at this swath of society: They may be on to something. Of late, researchers have discovered that just as the gut contains good bacteria that help it run more efficiently, so does our skin brim with beneficial germs that we might not want to wash down the drain. “Good bacteria are educating your own skin cells to make your own antibiotics,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego, and “they produce their own antibiotics that kills off bad bacteria.”
That’s a new one, isn’t it? They’re trying to make living like a stinking dirty hippy sound like science. I kept waiting for them to explain how the only way we can save the polar bears is to live in our own filth. Well, I guess they have to save something for the follow-up piece, right?