Is Soap Bad For Us?
By Tina Adoniou
If you’re familiar with our brand, you know we’re not keen on being “too clean.” But what does that actually mean? What’s important to know is that we’re not extremists. We enjoy our showers, and yes we even have soap on our kitchen and bathroom counters. (Just not antibacterial soap!) This is not about abandoning all of our hygiene practices, this is about incorporating the latest scientific understanding. We view it as more of a recalibration, rather than a complete reversal.
In a nutshell, we’re all about changing our relationship with the microbial world. Yes there definitely are some bad bacteria and germs out there. But if you’re reading this you already know that not all of it is evil. Bacteria is actually necessary in our world — the right kinds, of course. :-)
Here are some of the people in this space that we follow and are leading the charge in researching the impact on public health more broadly:
Shifting our perspective on how we view bacteria has the potential to be one of the biggest and most impactful shifts in public health. Consider this, we have more products than ever, and are “cleaner” than ever, yet healthy skin still eludes most of us. We’ve confused sterile for clean and our skin is paying the price.
We’re actually all about being clean. It’s just about finding the right amount of clean.
We believe our skin should maintain its thriving microbiome, and that using harsh surfactants is not the path to having skin we’re happy and comfortable in. We believe in being clean in a way that leaves our skin feeling good, and as close to its natural, un-impacted biology as possible. We believe this so strongly it’s the whole foundation of our company.
You may have heard that our AO+ Mist is great for body odor because the bacteria consume ammonia in your sweat. That’s often confused for it being a replacement for soap, and a way to give up showering or bathing. Yes, it’s great in a pinch if you’re camping or traveling, or if you don’t want to shower every day or cut down on shower time, it can certainly help with that. But it was never intended to wipe out showers for good. (We love showers too much to give them up. If we stopped showering, when would we get all of our brilliant ideas?!)
Think of it this way. You take supplements to enhance your internal health — vitamins, fish oil, gut probiotics, whatever it is you may take, you don’t take them instead of eating healthy, you take them to optimize and balance your diet, and provide what may be lacking.
It’s the same with our AO+ Mist. It’s not a replacement for soap or showering. It’s a supplement to your daily routine to put back the bacteria your skin has lost through modern hygiene. This is one step closer to keeping your skin microbiome thriving (and steering clear of BO is a huge fringe benefit). We all have products that we love to use and would hate to give up. But for those products you’re not married to, we offer biome-friendly swaps to enhance the results of your AO+ Mist. That’s why we always say to use it as the last step in your routine, after all other products have absorbed (so that their chemistry won’t impact the bacteria in the AO+ Mist).
The one biome-friendly swap you shouldn’t make is with hand soap. Always wash your hands with regular soap, especially when cooking and/or after using the bathroom. Just stay away from antibacterial soap on a regularly basis (unless you work in an environment like a hospital or anywhere sterility is required), and you’ll be one step closer to just the right amount of clean with a thriving microbiome!
Related reading: How Differences In Skin Bacteria May Affect Skin Health
Related reading: The Future is Here: The Rise of the Microbiome