In a bid to prove that showering is overrated, an American scientist hasn’t had a bath in 12 years. Instead, he sprays his skin with a mist containing live bacteria, which he claims has kept him clean all these years!
Dave Whitlock, a chemical engineer and MIT graduate, says that there is no basis for a.ssuming that bathing is a healthy practice. “No one did clinical trials on people taking showers every day,” he said. “I have not taken a shower in 12 years.” In fact, he says that the chemicals in our soaps and shampoos have destroyed all the friendly bacteria that once inhabited our skin and kept us clean.
Whitlock first started thinking about good bacteria when a woman he was dating asked him why horses liked to roll around in the dirt during summer. “The only way that horses could evolve this behavior was if they had substantial evolutionary benefits from it,” Whitlock explained. That’s when he realised that for the horses, this was actually a way of keeping clean.
Until then, no one had considered that skin bacteria was important and could be helpful to the body. “I didn’t have a biology degree – I wasn’t at an institution that was renowned for its biological research,” Whitlock said. “And I was proposing something completely off the wall.” But he went ahead and invented a one-of-a-kind spray – called ‘Mother Dirt AO+ Mist’ – consisting of ‘good’ bacteria.
According to Whitlock, the bacteria in the spray can serve as personal groomers, eating through sweat and oil on our skin. They feed off urea and ammonia in the sweat from the skin, turning them into nitric oxide, which is very good for the body. Nitric oxide molecules dilate blood vessels and help regulate blood pressure, along with a host of other benefits.
The spray is manufactured through AOBiome, a company that Whitlock helped found. According to the company, “Modern hygiene has selectively depleted the natural balance of the skin microbiome particularly affecting AOB. By restoring the appropriate AOB levels, we believe a range of human health conditions could be impacted.”
“We’ve confused clean with sterile,” added AOBiome’s consumer products general manager Jasmina Aganovic. “We’ve taken the dirt out of our lives. We don’t spend as much time outdoors as we used to, even little children.”
Mother Dirt Mist helps us reclaim the connection we once had with good bacteria. It’s odorless and feels just like water, and can be sprayed all over the skin twice a day to avoid bathing. But for those who simply cannot do without showering, the company is now planning to launch a bacteria-friendly shower gel and shampoo. The mist costs $99 a bottle, while the gel and shampoo are priced at $15 each.