James Hamblin, the preventive medicine expert who hasn’t showered in five years

James Hamblin is a specialist in preventive medicine and a professor at the prestigious Yale University. Five years ago he made a decision that, at first glance, seems very strange: he stopped in the shower. Today he looks back and could not be happier: “I feel perfectly good. You get used to it. I feel normal.”

It was 2015 when he stopped taking a shower every day: “We spend two full years of our lives bathing. How much of this time (and money and water) is a loss?” But why did he do it? “I know of many people who bathe very little. I knew it was possible, but I wanted to try for myself to see what the effect would be “.

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Now, five years later, he could no longer be satisfied with his decision: “In time, your body gets used to it more and more, so it doesn’t smell so bad if you do not use deodorant and soap. And your skin doesn’t get as oily when you stop using harsh soaps. Many people use a shampoo to remove oils from their hair and then apply a conditioner to add synthetic oils. If you can break that circle, your hair will look like it did when you started using those products.

Five years without a shower

James explains to the BBC that “the main thing is to understand that it takes time to see the effects, it doesn’t happen overnight, it’s not immediate. There were times when I wanted to take a shower because I missed it, it smelled bad and I felt fat. But that was starting to happen to me less and less. “And he explains graphically: the less you use, the less you need; and the less you need, the less you use.

Hamblim published his experience in the book “Clean: the new science of skin and the beauty of doing less”

The doctor explains that excessive bathing “changes a kind of balance between the oils in the skin and the bacteria that live. When you go aggressive, you destroy ecosystems. They repopulate quickly, but the species become unbalanced and tend to favor the types of microbes that produce odor. Your ecosystem is in a stable state and you stop smelling bad. You don’t smell like rose water … You just smell like man. ”

A reporter asked James Hamblin if worried about “smell”, but no one told him out of politeness. The doctor admits that he asked “colleagues, friends and people he knew would be honest” to make sure he didn’t smell bad. Now, he says he has a “proper” smell: his wife has gotten used to it and really likes it, while the rest of the acquaintances are content to say “it’s not bad”.