Is Dirty Skin – The Healthy Skin?
For decades, especially last decade, skin hygiene, especially hand cleaning, has been promoted as a primary mechanism to prevent infectious diseases.
Although keeping our hands clean is good for preventing the spread of germs, are we going more bad than good for our immune systems?
While maintaining basic hygiene is good, however over cleaning is majorly an issue of the urban lifestyle, plus the recent pandemic situation.
All microbes are considered harmful and purely evil, thus making us believe that we must create a completely sanitized environment to live longer!
But is this true?
Our bodies are not designed to be microbe-free; on the contrary, exposure to germs & bacteria is how our immune system learns to deal with different kinds of pathogens & becomes more powerful.
The “hygiene hypothesis,” proposed by Dr. David Strachan in 1989, explains that reduced exposure to microbes through modern health practices can lead to increased inflammatory diseases in urbanized society.
The earlier the germ exposure, the better; the most critical time for germ exposure begins in utero and ends at school age.
So, what happens if we have low germ exposure because of an overly clean environment?
There will be reduced microbial diversity in our Skin & Gut, resulting in a weaker & less intelligent immune system … hence more chances of developing skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, Psoriasis, acne vulgaris, dandruff, and even skin cancer.
This could be a significant reason why people living in developed urban nations have much higher Skin & respiratory issues than developing countries.
Do you know that children who are delivered vaginally have much lower allergy rates than those delivered via cesarean?
Perhaps because of this early exposure to the mother’s normal vaginal flora!’
What can we do?
Keeping ourselves clean is essential, but so is germ exposure.
While we should take measures to maintain basic hygiene, not being too paranoid about germs is essential too.
It is also crucial that we let our kids & ourselves be exposed to dirt, as this is the most natural way of having good Skin & overall health.
Healthier skin & overall health can be facilitated by exposure to farm animals and harmless but crucial microorganisms in the dirt, food, and water.