James Hamblin: Should we all stop showering? © Getty Images

James Hamblin: Should we all stop showering?

Five years ago, Dr James Hamblin stopped showering. He says most ‘skincare’ might actually be harming us, and wants to challenge what it means to be clean.

We know how important good hygiene is. It protects us from viral infections and diseases, but what if, by washing, soaping and scrubbing, we’re actually damaging our health?


Dr James Hamblin, journalist and professor of public health, stopped showering five years ago. In his new book, Clean (£16.99, Bodley Head), he reveals how our skin is affected by the products we apply. The overuse of soap and cosmetic products – sold to us with the promise of caring for our skin – might even be causing some of the ailments we’re using them to try to treat.

It hasn’t always been this way. Historically, humans have gone from seeing bathing as something vaguely sinful and reserved for the wealthy, to a daily necessity that, if neglected, is a huge social blunder.

According to James, it’s time for a whole new perspective on cleaning. One that starts with a personal reflection of our relationship with our body.

Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.

This podcast was supported by brilliant.org, helping people build quantitative skills in maths, science, and computer science with fun and challenging interactive explorations.

Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast: