Growing up, we were always told to brush twice and also shower regularly for good hygiene. It turns out that there might be little truth in this advice. According to a new study conducted at the Genetic Science Centre at the University of Utah, over-cleaning can damage the human microbiome which can have a negative impact on our immune system, digestive functions and even our heart health. The human microbiome is a collection of good bacteria, viruses and other microbes that live in your body and help in regulating day to day functions.
They are crucial for our overall health and well-being and destroying the microbe ecosystem can make your body susceptible to disease. To reach this conclusion, experts from the University examined people from the Yanomami village in the Amazon. It was found that they had a far richer community of microbes in their skin and “the highest diversity of bacteria and genetic functions ever reported in a human group.”
While the study indicates that too much scrubbing can affect the human microbiome, it does not suggest how often one should shower. It has also been established that regular use of shampoos and soaps strips the body of its essential oil and good skin bacteria. Common skin conditions like acne or dryness may actually occur due to the damage cause this healthy community of bacteria. It is hard to make sense of this but the science does offer a small slice of the whole picture which probably requires more research.