Monday, July 13, 2015

Cleaning up the act with Mother Dirt

I’m not exactly Lady Macbeth, but I do like to be clean.

There aren’t many days in my year that don’t include a shower. When I factor in the number of summer-in-the-city days when I end up taking a second shower, I definitely average more than one shower a day. And I don’t see any reason to change at this advanced stage of my life.

So while I wasn’t shopping for an alternative path to cleanliness, I was intrigued by an article I saw on betaboston about
AOBiome and its Mother Dirt product line, which asks that we ‘rethink clean.’

Their main product is AO+ Mist, which “reconnects your skin with the good bacteria it’s lost.”

The patented formula contains live Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) that work by consuming irritating components in sweat and converting them into beneficial ingredients for the skin.

You can use AO+ Mist to augment your regular routine, but “you might even be surprised with what you feel comfortable ‘giving up’ after a while. We've seen it happen before!”

One place they’ve seen it happen with with David Whitlock, the company’s founding scientist, who’s been touting his theories on cleanliness since 2000, which is  when he stopped showering.

Whitlock, 60, says the human skin once played host to bacteria that served as personal groomers, eating through sweat and oils. When we adopted soaps and shampoos, we were clean but the chemicals eviscerated all the good bacteria.

So what?

Whitlock argues that the bacteria feed off urea and ammonia in sweat from the skin, turning them into nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is a small molecule with a huge role to play in the body. Among its duties: dilating blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and control erections. In 1992, it was Science magazine’s “molecule of the year”; by 1998, the researchers who first demonstrated its effects earned a Nobel Prize.

But until Whitlock came along, no one had considered that skin bacteria could be a source of something that could help the body in many ways. (Source: betaboston).

All I can say is that, to me, nothing says cleanliness like
urea and ammonia in sweat.” Isn’t sweat why I hop in the shower after I come from the gym or have just taken a ill-advised too-long walk on a summer’s day.

But AOBiome has a growing body of happy adopters, who have not only come clean, but who have even claimed that using AO+ Mist has cleared up their acme, eczema and tropical skin conditions. Some say they no longer have to use deodorant.

This all kind of reminds me of Minipoo, a product that was minipooaround in the 1960’s and was something that you used when you couldn’t shampoo.

One of the benefits of having very fine hair is that there’s almost never an occasion – unless you’re on your deathbed – when you don’t have time to get a shampoo in. If you’re hair dries on its own in five minutes, regular shampooing is no big deal. But my mother had some around for touch ups between her weekly beauty appointment at Ted-Jean’s. So I used it once in a while. Whatever was in it was supposed to absorb grease. I don’t recall it working anywhere near as well as a regular shampoo. And I seem to remember that it smelled kind of weird.

Not wanting the smell kid of weird is one of the reasons that folks take a shower everyday, no?

Plus there’s the just plain fact of how good it feels to stand there in a nice hot shower.

But I also know that taking that shower is water- and energy-intensive. And that soaps and shampoos contain nasty chemicals. And that none of this is especially good for the environment.

So, while I won’t be running out to stock up on AO+ Mist, or on the other products in the Mother Dirt line, AOBiome may well be the wave of the cleanliness future.

Boy, am I going to miss those long hot showers. 

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