Just because it makes you ‘clean’ doesn’t mean it’s good for you

World

Just because it makes you ‘clean’ doesn’t mean it’s good for you

This doctor wants us to rethink showers and the beauty industry

Chris Stokel-Walker

Picture someone who forswears most bathing, showers and beauty products and you may conjure up an image of a person quite different from James Hamblin. Hamblin, a lecturer in public health policy at Yale University, preventative medicine doctor and journalist for The Atlantic isn’t a wildly unkempt human being. Pass him in the street and you’d see an urbane, clean person – yet the idea of artificial cleanliness has become his driving passion.

In a new book, Clean: The New Science of Skin, Hamblin argues that we’ve become slaves to big beauty, slathering ourselves in a witches’ brew of products that we don’t really need, don’t really do anything, and sometimes actively disturb the normal, natural cleaning process our bodies have devoted centuries of evolution to fine-tuning.

Hamblin believes that when we apply artificial ointments and lotions chock-full of chemicals to our skin, we’re making it harder for the natural processes we’ve survived with for years to keep us clean...

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