Is there such a thing as being too clean? The Doctors are joined on Skype by family physician Dr. George Moncrieff who believes this is so. Dr. Moncrieff actually stopped using soap over 20 years ago!
Dr. Moncrieff says as a family doctor in the UK he noticed many patients coming to him with dry skin and he believed it was due to their washing with tons of soap and detergent. Remove those items and their skin conditions improved. He says the detergents that people typically use raise the pH levels of the skin making it alkaline and that damages the barrier. He recommends using an emollient instead.
Emollient is a moisturizer that softens the skin. While the names may be different in the UK, there are several on the market in the US. They are ointment-based creams that mix well with water. The Doctors recommend these US brands:
- Alba Botanica Very Emollient Body Lotion
- Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Soothing Emollient Cream
- Lubriderm Lotion
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon agrees with Dr. Moncrieff's thinking. He says people will overwash and try too many different soaps with ingredients that will irritate the skin as well as dry it out. You could have a rebound phenomenon in which your skin will actually overproduce natural oils causing breakouts.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork questions what to do about those areas that you fear carry odors, namely, your armpits and groin. Dr. Moncrieff says those are the very areas he uses these emollients on.
Dr. Moncrieff's biggest concern is using soaps and detergents on babies, especially those under the age of two. He shares that there is an eczema epidemic and in the UK, one in four kids has the condition. He says these soaps are damaging the babies' skin barriers and letting allergens and bacteria in which trips an immune reaction that drives eczema and may even cause food allergens and asthma.
The Barrier Enhancement Eczema Prevention Study is a huge ongoing study in both the US and the UK. In 2014, they released findings that by using an emollient on a baby from three weeks of age, by the time the baby was six months, his or her chances of having eczema were halved.
Dr. Travis is onboard with testing out these emollients. He invites you all to give it a try!