Importance of Microbiomes on skin: (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 30, 2023, 18:18 (143 days ago) @ David Turell

From an M.D.'s book:

"A few months ago, James Hamblin made a splash when announcing he hadn’t showered or used much soap in five years. The physician, Yale public health lecturer, and staff writer at The Atlantic experimented on himself as research for his latest book, Clean: The New Science of Skin.


"Our skin is the first line of defense against disease, and it knows how to protect itself. The organisms and bacteria that live on our skin are doing important work; the more we wash them away, the more susceptible we become to foreign invaders.


“'Soaps and astringents meant to make us drier and less oily also remove the sebum on which microbes feed.”


"In fact, “you” are a collection of organisms and bacteria, including the mite Demodex. A half millimeter in length, these “demon arachnids” are colorless and boast four pairs of legs, which they use to burrow into the skin on our face. Yes, your face, too.

"While these mites were originally discovered in 1841, it wasn’t until 2014 that a group of researchers in North Carolina used DNA sequencing to understand their impact. Though you might recoil at the suggestion, it turns out that these critters potentially act as natural exfoliants. While housing too many of these mites results in skin disease, your face is their home. If not for them, you might even be more susceptible to breakouts and infections.


"Do we really need to wipe everything down with Clorox? Probably not, Hamblin suggests. In fact, for Clorox to work, you have to leave it on the surface for about ten minutes. He says, “The product isn’t ‘killing 99.9% of germs’ in the way that anyone actually uses it — a quick wipe-down.” Instead, clean your countertop with soap and water.

"Besides, regularly killing every “germ” in the environment isn’t the healthiest practice. “Some chronic conditions seem to be fueled by the fact that so many of us are now not being exposed to enough of the world,” Hamblin writes.

"The soap advertisements that kicked off modern marketing relied on one concept: B.O. We think of body odor as a given, but that too is an invention. Our feet “smell” thanks to bacteria like Bacillus subtilis, which has potent antifungal properties. Shoes weren’t available for most of history, a period in which smelly feet bestowed a strong evolutionary advantage. As Hamblin writes, we didn’t evolve to smell; we evolved in harmony with protective microbes that we just happen to find unpleasant.

"While a number of players in the wellness and skincare industries likely have good intentions, so much of what is sold is unnecessary, and even damaging. The marketing machine makes us feel incomplete — so we have to buy products that make us feel whole. As Hamblin concludes, evidence-based companies would take an opposite approach to skincare and hygiene: less is more. But that slogan doesn’t sell a lot of soap."

Comment: more evidence of healthy microbiome activity. We keep ourselves too clean!! Personally, I have a balance stability problem and now shower only once a week and itch less!! Same theodicy problem here: We must have these good bacteria, and accept things will go bad at times.

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