Not using soap on your body while showering

Back home in the city I use castile soap to wash the groin, ass and armpits. I don't think I have used soap on my face in 20 years, with the exception of actual grease or road dirt from motorcycles.
I ride with my visor open all the time; I like to think that all the particles of splattered bugs I catch are as good as any store-bought organic exfoliant scrub.

Srsly though I have an advanced case of MPB; in the winter months (Nov-Mar) my scalp gets really dry and flaky; I used to scrub off the dry skin and put cream/lotion on it but the effect would only last a couple hours at the most. Last winter I started rubbing coconut oil into my scalp, it had a much longer lasting effect.
 
Not to sound like a rube, but I like Yardley soap. It's usually $1/bar and comes in activated charcoal and oatmeal & almond varieties, among others. Still better than Paper Street Soap Co. by Tyler Durden.
 

Dr. Howard

Peacock
Gold Member
I use soap of course to wash my hands, but have gone extended periods without shampoo and recently tried bathing without soap.

Historically, it was common for man to scrape his skin. I believe the Romans did this with sea shells, which removed the outer dead layer of skin and some oils (our skin sheds which is one reason you have to wash bed sheets frequently--this is really what makes them "dirty").


I'm interested in other's experiences with soaps and shampoos, or with alternative products or none at all.
This is also why finlanders use/used saunas. The heat+steam lets you easily take off old skin with a brush, or birch branches with leaves if you are a real traditionalist. I lived at a logging camp for about a month for a work assignment where the routine was sauna to srub off dirt and dead skin, shampoo if you had a lot of hair, go straight from the sauna to the lake for a swim to rinse and cool down. I've never felt more 'clean' in my life.
 

Muscovite

Sparrow
This is also why finlanders use/used saunas. The heat+steam lets you easily take off old skin with a brush, or birch branches with leaves if you are a real traditionalist. I lived at a logging camp for about a month for a work assignment where the routine was sauna to srub off dirt and dead skin, shampoo if you had a lot of hair, go straight from the sauna to the lake for a swim to rinse and cool down. I've never felt more 'clean' in my life.
Banya, as it's known in Russia, is one of my favourite events. My in-laws have one at their dacha and I use it regularly. We go to the local forest and make our own birch veniks. In the winter, there's nothing better than banya and then rolling around in the snow straight after. It's also a whole evening/night event where eating and drinking takes place between banya sessions.

If you can find a Russian banya locally, I know there are some in Canada, get some friends together and make a night of it. Highly recommended.
 

kel

Pelican
I mostly just rinse and use gentle soap for armpits and crotch. And I'll occasionally use a face wash.

I haven't used shampoo in well over a decade, though. I just rinse with water and occasionally do a baking soda paste, rinse with water, then rinse with water with a bit of ACV in it.
 
I've been recently exposed to the idea of not using any soap while showering (except for specific areas like armpits, groin, and feet). This dermatologist says we're causing disease by washing too much.

Short version:

Longer version:

Long ago I talked about my experiment with not using shampoo.
As I've gotten older, I noticed that my skin is more prone to dryness (especially my face). It doesn't make sense that I remove bodily oil with soap and then immediately after try to moisturize it. Most recently, I have had small breakouts of eczema on my face that resolves when I apply olive oil to it. So something is going on with the moisture of my face.
Another article:
I always had greasy skin and lots of hives growing up. I found out later the hives were mostly due to certain foods, but dry skin certainly contributes (and putting on lotion just makes me greasier).

Years ago I made a switch that had two huge positives effects:

1. Got a soap bar without the usual poisons (Bronners is good but I've found the Decode charcoal soaps to be even better for my skin).

2. Unless I actually work outside and get dirty, or work with equipment and get oily/stained, I only use soap on my body max 2 times per week. The exception is armpits, groin, and asshole -- those get washed with soap every day.

I don't wear deodorant either.

My girl generally says I smell really good, unless of course my eating/sleep/stress goes off the rails for more than a day.

Oh, another key is washing your towel frequently, and using a separate towel to dry your hair than to dry your body. Also if you have gross/dirty water, you could look into a filter for your shower head.

I use a very light, natural ingredient detergent to wash my clothes, and let most of them air dry. I also try to wear mostly natural fabrics (heavy on the linen and wool). And keep the bedsheets clean.

All these things contribute to not having to wash with soap that often. And I feel much better for it.
 
Banya, as it's known in Russia, is one of my favourite events. My in-laws have one at their dacha and I use it regularly. We go to the local forest and make our own birch veniks. In the winter, there's nothing better than banya and then rolling around in the snow straight after. It's also a whole evening/night event where eating and drinking takes place between banya sessions.

If you can find a Russian banya locally, I know there are some in Canada, get some friends together and make a night of it. Highly recommended.
I highly recommend the banya in Mississauga, ON. Bonus is that the family who owns/runs it is awesome.
 
Historically, it was common for man to scrape his skin. I believe the Romans did this with sea shells, which removed the outer dead layer of skin and some oils (our skin sheds which is one reason you have to wash bed sheets frequently--this is really what makes them "dirty").
I believe they covered their skin in olive oil then scraped it off. Ayurvedic medicine does a similar thing with sesame oil.
The physical culture advocates of the 19th century emphasized brisk drying off with a coarse towel.

I think the approach to soap and cleanliness should be, like the Victorians with washing - use it when and where you need it - not reflexively every day.

Using wool underwear can help keep bacterial growth down too- it isn't cheap but its especially good when you are traveling and limited access to cleaning.

I agree with premise of this thread - that over cleaning is bad. Dry hands (from over washing the oils off) are much more susceptible to absorbing toxins and things that can get into the bloodstream.
 

westernman

Sparrow
I stopped soap about a year ago and its the way.

I picked up the habit after doing 10 days in a 3rd world jail (frivolous passport issue), and only having water to clean with. Once released, I felt my skin was oldy clear, and healthy. When I got to a hotel and cleaned up with soap, my skin felt bad and I broke out a bit. since then, no soap, unless I have something on my body such as motor oil.

I was my face, hair, and body with water, soap my feet and hands with Dawn (no residue unlike normal soap). Baking soda on the underarms after and no smell issues. Oddly I thought I needed soap as I am a man with oily skin.
 

CSFurious

Pigeon
I don't think this is good idea. I think you could try to focus on a "natural soap". I like to use a soap from Mexico called "Zote" that is made out of beef tallow.
 
I haven't been washing with soap for many years other than occasionally washing my hands when they are soiled by something wet/smelly/greasy (i.e. something my body is telling me is disgusting and needs to be removed).

I stopped when it dawned on me that our bodies are already equipped to be cleaned with just water in most cases. All the areas of our body that develop unpleasant odors are covered with short, curly hair, which I believe is an adaptation to help with cleaning, since the hair will help to scrub away dirt and dead skin with a bit of rubbing and water. Not only this, but our bodies have adapted to produce various oils that keep our skin healthy and moisturized. We also have an entire ecosystem of friendly bacteria living everywhere on our bodies, that prevents harmful bacteria from being able to gain a foothold and cause problems. Harmful bacteria simply can't compete (for food and space) with the bacteria already living all over our bodies, which is how we're protected from common mould and fungus and other harmful organisms. When you strip away all those oils and destroy that ecosystem of bacteria on your body using chemical compounds, you will run into problems, i.e. dry skin, more susceptible to sunburns, greater risk of infection from opportunistic fungus and bacteria, etc...

I also worry about the long-term impact of creating an artificial environment in which your body is forced to over-produce oils because you regularly strip them away with chemical compounds. I don't think that artificially changing your environment in a way that causes your cells to function in a way they have not adapted to function, is going to be good in the long-run. I wouldn't be surprised if something like this could cause your cells to start mutating, in an attempt to handle this new artificial environment, and ultimately end up becoming cancerous.
 

Touchdown

Newbie
It's obviously a topic that will vary person to person based on their complexion and skin. That said, I always thought the same when you mentioned the "removing natural oils to replace them with moisturizer concept". Other than the basic hygiene and getting behind my ears, around my nose, ect. I use as little soap on my face. Given the nature of my work I can't use the heavier scrubbing soap I prefer for the rest of my hands and body either, so I use as bland as possible for the face. My face is prone to similar rashing if I try to hard...

I'm a white guy, Irish heritage, and unlike you maybe, I have the least problem with dryness on my face compared to elsewhere. Surprised I'm not still breaking out like high school. I'm mid 30s.

As I get older, I find I prefer to just splash my face and keep fresh towels around more throughout the day. It even gives an energy boost a bit.
I remember reading Roosh's article on why men shouldn't use shampoo. I found it very interesting and it made me contemplate over using those products all of the time when I showered. I shampoo my hair every couple days and wash my body with soap regularly. Maybe it might be a better idea to bring a washcloth instead every couple showers to scrub with to remove the dead skin cells. I'm white with some Irish heritage as well. My face used to break out with whiteheads and I tried all sorts of different soaps to get rid of it. I found that using Neutrogena's Oil-free acne wash has done the best job at cleaning my face without irritating it. Since it leaves my face feeling dry I apply a little Aloe moisturizing cream after and then it feels great.

About your first point, I started thinking the same way after reading that, and about constantly applying products to my skin. My skin becomes used to the products being applied and then requires more product. I was at a cottage recently and my buddy brought his girlfriend. She was applying some of the Aloe cream I brought to her legs and mentioned something along the lines of "human beings's bodies just aren't designed to moisturize themselves". I knew that statement was bullshit, as it implies that you're body isn't capable of producing its own moisture, and thus require commercial products to make up for those inadequacies. To pick on women, I think the cosmetic industry (generally) thrives on you buying more and more product as your body stops producing the natural oils from you applying more product. I'm guessing this is obvious to most of you guys though.
 

Jackie

Newbie
I have read that it is dangerous to use soap even in the genital area. Soaps with fragrances and other synthetic chemicals can trigger illnesses like Lichen Sclerosus in women and uncircumcised men. It causes the genital area to become irritated and eventually becomes deformed. Toilet paper with bleach and formaldehyde and laundry detergents with harsh chemicals can also trigger serious illness. Even shampoo running down your body that does not get completely washed off can affect your skin and health.
 

CSFurious

Pigeon
I stopped shampooing my hair everyday, started maybe doing it only once a month, and my hair has never been healthier. I never used to get compliments on it, now I do consistently. I have a suspicion that soap companies make soap simply so you need to use more soap.
This is a good practice. I do rinse my hair with water everyday. I usually wash only once a week or every two weeks.
 

Troller

Woodpecker
Buy your shit from pharmacies. Soaps shampoo, etc. Don´t buy from supermarkets. They are more expensive in pharmacies. They have less foam. But work much better.
 
For years now I've only used a rag (no soap) on all my parts except my armpits and neither regions where I use soap on the rag.

I don't smell bad, and, thankfully, I haven't been sick in quite a long time, although I also quit drinking and smoking pot as well.
 

hkhathaj

Pigeon
I have reduced soap usage to my armpits only a few years ago. And now (about one month ago) I have totally stopped using soap. (Sometimes I wash my hands with soap but I try to do it in a short time and do not rub everything down only the upper layer - the reason for washing hand.)
I fight smell using a rubbing sponge to remove the higher layers of skin form my armpit and naturally a little baking soda after shower. Until now I don't have evidence that I smell bad :).
 
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