SOAP SAVES LIVES. But did you know that excessive use of soap and skin-care products are harming our health and the environment? Apart from in hand-washing there is no need to use soap on our bodies at all? Doctor and preventative medicine expert James Hamblin gave up showering five years ago and only ever uses soap on his hands. In Clean he introduces a new way to think about cleanliness – one that is cheaper, simpler and better for our skin, our immunity and the world in which we live.
Hygiene prevents the spread of disease and saves countless lives. But in recent decades, rather than safeguarding us from illness, an obsession with ‘cleanliness’ seems to have been having the opposite effect. As we are now starting to realise, our overuse of soap, sanitizers and untested, misleading skin-care products is doing untold damage to our skin’s vital microbial layer, which influences everything from acne, eczema and dry skin to how we smell. Not only might our obsession with soap-based cleanliness be exacerbating or even causing many of the skin conditions we seek to remedy or avoid, it may even be weaking our immune defences and increasing our vulnerability to allergies.
Lucid, accessible, and deeply researched, Clean explains how we got here – thanks to the concerted efforts of the multi-billion-dollar cosmetics industry – and introduces us to the emerging science that will be at the forefront of health and wellness conversations in coming years. It shows that the new goal of skin care will be to cultivate a healthy biome and to embrace a natural approach to being clean.