Well, is that true? Nature really doesn't know what it's doing? Do we need these products that have been sold to us for a variety of different reasons? Do they really make us better, are they just masking underlying health problems, or perhaps they're even causing new ones?
A few years back I discovered this article about a man that stopped using these products and was better off because of it: I haven't used soap or shampoo in a year, and it's awesome: personal experiment update. Feel free to give it a read. That, along with my own experimentation lead me to the answers.
The biggest issues with beauty are always health related, and I'll start with soap. We use soap to "clean" ourselves. Or at least feel like we are. We've been told our entire lives that it kill germs and make us smell better. It stops disease from spreading and it's the respectable thing to do as a gentleman or lady.
Sure showering and bathing is wonderful. It's a great ritual, and is very beneficial for the mind and body if it's not overdone. Soaps have been around forever too, and date back to ancient times. What was beautiful about soap is that it was made out of vegetable or animal oils, not chemicals. Modern day soaps are made with the most terrible ingredients, and when applied to the skin they go straight into the bloodstream. Things that cause cancer, weaken the immune system, cause brain issues, reproductive issues, organ issues, and allergies. Not only that, but day after day these chemicals are being washed down the drain and they pollute the Earth which affects every living creature on the planet. Also, the packaging ends up in landfills and collects in the oceans. I'm reminded of the famous John Muir quote: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
So not only do the ingredients in the product matter, but it also matters what the actual product does. Not what it claims to do, and what we've been led to believe without even questioning it. So since we're still talking about soap, what does it actually do? Well, soap disrupts the pH balance of the skin by alkalizing it. Naturally, healthy skin takes care of itself. What happens when we use soap then? You guessed it: We "clean" that area, which pushes the pH up too high, leaving us more prone to dry, damaged skin.
I'm reminded of modern Western cultures that over clean themselves. They have created a whole new problem, and are continuously sick because of the state of their weakened immune systems. Also, doctors in hospitals that washed their hands too much were spreading infections despite the fact that people thought that it was a good practice. Their skin cracked because of too much soap and water, and were susceptible to disease.
Then what about our smell? Many people like to use soap because they prefer the scent. They like smelling like flowers or fruit because we have been conditioned to like it more. This most likely has to do with fresh food selection, because smell plays a huge role in our choices. So someone will notice me more if I smell sweet, or maybe I'll like myself more because this commercial told me that I would be more awesome smelling less like a human and more like a plant.
There are a few reasons for this that I want to touch upon. First off, being stinky is a genuine problem. It's related to health and mating, so atrocious amounts of soap will not help. It's only a bandage, and that's why most Westerners shower daily. It's because they're afraid that the fragrance will wear off, they'll sweat, and people will smell them for real.
Smell is important because it's attractive or not. This relates to wellness because a healthy body doesn't smell bad. We're actually smelling certain types of bacteria when a person is sick. Different types of bacteria mean different things, and creates different smells. That's why we can tell if someone is sick or sexy. So again, what does soap do? Well, it "cleans" the surface area and leaves us susceptible to bacteria. Another reason a person might smell foul is because of poor dietary choices. Bad odor reveals the truth about our lifestyle. That's why smelly people are usually considered to be unattractive and choose to cover it up with soap and fragrance instead of addressing the cause of the matter. Animal products especially cause people to smell bad, because the decomposing food ferments in the colon and breaks down into ammonia which then is secreted through the skin. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables do not do this. Instead, they create carbon dioxide. Then body odor starts to go away, and it has nothing to do with sweating or hygiene. The better we eat, the better we smell.
I'm personally a walking example of this! I kid you not. I notice how my smell changes when I'm not eating properly. Usually on holidays or special occasions I treat myself to some goodies like bread, cheese, meat, wine, candy, etc. and it will happen almost instantly. My sweet natural aroma changes into something more potent. It's a reflection of dietary choices, not lack of hygiene. Soap cannot help with that. Instead, it's just a weird mixture of musky freshness. That's why most sick or overweight people smell. It's the body telling them, and the world, that something eternally needs to be addressed. It has nothing to do with sweating either, because that's a beautiful and natural thing. The odor, if present, is just accentuated by movement and sweat. Change the diet, and change the body's scent.
The exception to this is with mating. People of the opposite sex smell good or bad to each other based on compatibly. For instance, women have a stronger sense of smell when they're ovulating. This is nature's way of saying that a couple is a good match. The smell of a family member, specifically of the opposite sex is a repellent. So we will always find their scent to be strange or unappealing because we have a similar immune system. It's natural selection, and our nose knows who will be a good candidate. Unless of course Mommy sprays on a gallon of Chanel No. 5, then things get complicated.
Also, it's more irresistible to smell human when one is looking for a mate. I'm reminded that pheromones trump any soap or fragrance, because it sends clear powerful messages. Why delude that with an artificial smell? It's also why lovers are attracted to one another more so when they sweat. Their smell is appealing, and it's being accentuated when they get physical.
Lastly, soap is culturally acceptable because we let it be that way. Just like anything else that affects us, companies have been feeding on human insecurities for ages to make a profit. Without question, we believe what we are told and think the way it's permissible to think because of social conditioning. We want to be loved, and a part of the tribe, so we do what everyone else does without being rational about it. Well, I invite you to think about such matters and question if it's really serving you.
The same goes for shampoo which is just liquid soap. Hair should be cared for the same way as skin. Typical shampoos contribute to dry, or oily, hair depending on the person. It's also one of the factors that exacerbates balding and dandruff.
Everything is connected in life, and if we have a beauty problem it's most likely a health problem. Step back, analyze the situation, make adjustments, and see how it goes. Doing the same unhealthy thing over and over will just lead to more of the same.
Personally, I stopped using soap and shampoo in the shower, and have benefited greatly from this new habit. My skin and hair look amazing, I smell lovely, and I'm sure it's even more appealing because it's not masked by artificial chemicals. I don't get sick either. Quitting also helps to cut back on costs and packaging that has to be recycled or thrown out.
So, give it a try! Switch over right away and stop the old habits that are causing so much harm. You have only wonderful things to gain.
As always, I wish you the best. May you be happy and healthy. Share this with people
that you care about, and I encourage you to be a shining example of wellness.