No Showers, No Soap…. Not Super Convinced.

soap
Image source New York Times

Call it the effect of growing up in a seaside town that plays host to a fair number of hippy-dippy folk-loving types, but I’ve always been pretty open minded when it comes to ~natural~ health and beauty solutions. I’ve chugged my kale in the hopes that it would give me an it-girl glow, moisturized with coconut oil, used diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner, and even washed my face with raw honey for a time. The sting from the vinegar and the shine from the coconut oil sent me back to the chemicals, but clearly, it’s only a matter of time before I lay down my L’oreal for good and go on an ill-fated beauty binge at the local farmer’s market.

(Also, for the record, the raw honey mask is legit. It has natural antibacterial properties and will make your face soft as a baby’s bum. It just kinda sucks when it comes to removing mascara and the like. Turns out, no one notices your smooth, glowing cheeks if you look like a soft core Ke$ha.)

Open minded as I may be, I don’t know how to feel about the new product being made in Boston’s backyard. Cambridge-based startup AOBiome makes a spray that uses living bacteria to keep your skin clean and fresh. Mist twice daily, and you’re good to go as these friendly little microbes nom on the gross, smelly stuff you usually need to shower off. In the interest of getting more specific, I’ll defer to an article on founder David Whitlock that recently appeared in BetaBoston. According to the piece, “the bacteria feed off urea and ammonia in sweat from the skin, turning them into nitric oxide.” Nitric Oxide, the piece goes on to tell us, was Science Magazine’s molecule of the year back in ’92 and does cool things like improve blood flow. You go, Nitrous Oxide!

Fans claim that the mist has alleviated skin issues like acne and dryness, and there’s a little bit of science to back up that helpful microbes, which soap can wash off, help build up the skin’s barrier. The skin, as any natural beauty blog will tell you, is our largest organ and we must treat it with respect and dignity lest it betray us and make us look 10 years older than we are.

I’d be willing to bet that if bacteria is what’s best for skin, it won’t be long before AOBiome has a bevy of followers. It certainly has the media interested. In a New York Times piece that ran in May 2014, writer Julia Scott recounts her experience as Test Subject 26 for the company. During the process, she “remembered all the antibiotics I took as a teenager to quell my acne. How funny would it be if adding more bacteria were the answer all along.”

Still though, the idea of spritzing clean freaks me out. Lucky for me, and any other m.blog fans who also like showers, AOBiome is currently working on producing a line of bacteria rich in-shower products under the line “Mother Dirt.” Who knows? Maybe I’ll give it a whirl and suddenly be able to get back on the cider toner train.

Whether or not I take the plunge, it’s cool to remember that science, much like the friendly stuffed amoeba below, can be our friend.

sdf
Image source Mage

Posted by Erin K.

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