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

James Hamblin: Should we all stop showering?

Published: 01st October, 2020 at 19:56
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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.

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Amy BarrettEditorial Assistant, BBC Science Focus

Amy is the Editorial Assistant at BBC Science Focus. Her BA degree specialised in science publishing and she has been working as a journalist since graduating in 2018. In 2020, Amy was named Editorial Assistant of the Year by the British Society of Magazine Editors. She looks after all things books, culture and media. Her interests range from natural history and wildlife, to women in STEM and accessibility tech.


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