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Could Beneficial Bacteria Make Showering Obsolete?

Could Beneficial Bacteria Make Showering Obsolete?

There’s a start-up in Massachusetts that’s banking on the fact that, in the very near future, lots of people will start their day by rubbing bacteria all over their bodies instead of jumping in the shower.

Yes, you read that right.

The company, called AOBiome, has developed a “living bacterial skin tonic.” Instead of killing elements of our human skin biome (aka the microscopic critters that live in and on our bodies) like traditional soaps, cosmetics, perfumes and deodorants, this tonic would replenish them. Greater numbers of healthy bacteria help restore your skin to its natural harmony, says the company, leading to the strong skin and hair we want, without all the chemical baggage.

Although it sounds wacky, AOBiome’s product dovetails perfectly with what science is starting to understand about bacteria’s role in health and wellness. “These beneficial bacteria are the real-world version of Star Wars’ midi-chlorian: when they’re unhappy, there is most definitely a disturbance in the force,” as I wrote in a recent article about why flatulence is a good thing. “Unhealthy (or too few) gut bacteria can affect brain functionmental health and digestive efficacy. Likewise healthy gut flora deliver a wealth of benefits, like reduced risk of obesity and diabetes.” The same goes for bacteria that live elsewhere on our bodies.

Protecting them, instead of exterminating them, is the mission of AOBiome. The company’s AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist is a cosmetic spray made of safe live cultured Nitrosomonas bacteria that live off the ammonia in the sweat on your skin. “[P]articipants who applied AO+ Mist had improved skin appearance, smoothness and tightness compared with those applying a placebo,” explains the company’s website.

Although you could give up showering if you wanted to (inventor David Whitlock has chosen to not shower since his discovery of AOB, and no he doesn’t smell), it’s not required. “…AOB are detectable and present in 95% of cases with daily showering and application and that AOB continue to survive in 60% of subjects for up to 7 days without additional applications as long as shampoo is not used,” explains the site.

Still think it sounds crazy? You might find it surprising that many people disagree. The company is currently out of stock of AO+ Refreshing Cosmetic Mist and you have to get on a mailing list to be notified when more is ready.

via Treehugger

Read more: Bath & Shower, Beauty, Health, , , , , , , , ,

Image via Thinkstock

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.


+ add your own
11:21PM PDT on Jul 6, 2014

Given water shortages, this may be a good thing. I'd have to try it to be able to endorse it.

1:06AM PDT on Jul 2, 2014


1:06AM PDT on Jul 2, 2014


3:17AM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

Sounds kind of yucky to me.

9:52PM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

It is OK to "soak" in tha bath, ;-) just don´t use all that soap which removes the bodies own "defence"= your outside immune defence system.

It´s not so hard to undestand if ppl just think a Little rational over it.

The World have many times been surpriced when a person WHO hasen´t washed him/herself in years, suddenly get into a hospital and they put these ppl in a bath,
As soon all the dirt was gonbe these ppl. got all kinds og illnesses and many dies because that "immunesystem that had" was in all the dirt on their body, and without it, their body couldnt hold any desice away.

It IS weird for many, but it really is very logic. :-)

3:11PM PDT on Jun 11, 2014

wow! how interesting!

9:59AM PDT on Jun 11, 2014

Good grief, people nobody is suggesting that you give up showers or baths, just complehend, after years of programing to be 'squeaky clean', we are now beginning to understand the importance of microbes. They are the foundation of everything, and we need not be killing them or scrubbing them away every day. If your microbes are healthy and in ballance with in their own colonies and in relationship with the rest of microbial colonies, your body and mind will be healthy. Those who are not doing manual labor and getting dusty and sweaty every day don't need to be soaping up and showering every day. And for those who are doing the hard work of our economy, a nice soothing rinse off will do the trick.

12:08AM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

Ummm I'm a bit skeptical about that- but I guess when our water dries up we won't have too many other options will we!?

12:00PM PDT on Jun 7, 2014


2:51AM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

Agree. Mix bath and bacteria seems to be the way forward.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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