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For many of us, our daily ritual includes showering, and to be quite honest with you, I can’t imagine going five years without soap. However, one physician did just that, and he claims that it benefited him in more ways than one.

James Hamblin gave up showering five years ago and tossed out all his soap, shampoo, and conditioner. Additionally, he stopped using deodorant, moisturizer, exfoliant, and every other product associated with cleanliness. Well, aside from handsoap.

He explains that he does still rinse himself off, especially after a run. And sometimes, he even gets his hair wet. Aside from that, his bathing routine is pretty limited.

Despite the controversy his routine has brought him, he isn’t someone who slouches in the department of hygiene. Even before the pandemic, he was very pro-hand washing. As a doctor who gives lectures at the Yale School of Public Health, he is merely 37 years old, and his youthful appearance oftentimes draws comparisons to Doogie Howser.

If you are like me, you are likely in awe by now. And while his habits may seem counterproductive, he makes some pretty good points.

By simply browsing your skincare section at your local store, you are likely to be met with piles and piles of expensive and time-consuming products. But are these intricate routines serving us at all? Hamblin says no.

In his book, which is titled “If Our Bodies Could Talk,” he explains several body myths. According to him and many other experts, our skin has its environment.

“For most of human history, a steady barrage of exposures to microbes would train our immune systems to know when and how to react,”  Hamblin writes in his book. And research supports his notions. Many of our allergies, eczema, asthma, and even auto-immune disorders are thought to be a result of a lack of exposure to certain pathogens.

Much like our gut microbiome, our skin has its own, and when we constantly clean the good bacteria away, we are degrading our bodies’ natural system of cleanliness.

Long ago, frequent bathing was considered to be a luxury, however, by the 1800s, and into the early 20th century, marketing and advertising agencies have worked to redefine the concepts of health, beauty, and cleanliness, says Hamblin.

But, Hamblin doesn’t suggest quitting showers. Instead, he asks us to question the rituals that are considered a necessity.

“If you skip a day of showering, you won’t look oily or smell like an onion,” he says. “I don’t emanate some offensive odor and I don’t get really oily looking.

“I smell like a person.”