New research is suggesting that exposure to a variety of bacteria (both good and bad) during childhood helps build immunity. We are surrounded by friendly bacteria that play a critical role in our health. So, don't get obsessive about being squeaky clean. You can do without those heavy-duty soaps and sanitizers. Water, plain soap and friction, every once in a while, might be best!
So, truth be told, my kids do not get baths everyday, we’re lucky to get one 1-2 times a week. Chalk it up to laziness, desiring to get to bed early and just not wanting to clean up the watery mess it makes!
But, the more naturally and holistically minded I become, I realize this less amount of bathing might actually be a GOOD thing.
Bacteria – The Good and The Bad
Probably during your lifetime you have been instructed that bacteria were mostly bad and you should avoid them at all costs with things like hand sanitizer, antibacterial soaps and frequent bathing. But, did you know all sorts of interesting research is finding that there are friendly microbes in our environment and they play a key role in our health?
The Human Mircobiome Project being one of the leaders in this new information. Here is a great little video about how important the microbiome or having friendly bacteria around is to your health.
The Link Between Bacteria And Bathing Daily
Lots, like trillions of things. There are trillions of bacteria or microbes that live on the skin with the majority of them being friendly. If one bathes too much, these friendly bacteria can dwindle in population and not be able to fight the bad microbes away.
And did you know being covered in dirt can actually build a child’s immune system in a healthy way? My girls are rarely sick, can I make the correlation that because they don’t bathe very often they are not sick as much? Probably not because this is an “n” of 2, but I sure would love to do some investigation and research about kids who bathe more than others and the rates of frequent illnesses!
So, I hope you won’t judge me in knowing we are not frequent bathers, but I’m thankful for the little family of microbes that inhabit my kid’s bodies helping keep them healthy. Probiotics and fermented foods also play a big role in this.
And on that note, a little plug for avoiding hand sanitizers. Yes, we need to have clean hands when we eat or after going to the bathroom, but if we use hand sanitizers repeatedly we are not only killing off the bad population of bacteria, but the friendly ones as well. Eventually if you kill off too many friendly ones, the unfriendly ones will take over, thus causing much more resistance and even more illness.
I always encourage plain soap and water or just water and good friction to get the grime away!
A helpful little youtube video about the potential dangers of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps: