I am always up for a challenge but this was by far the hardest experiment I've embarked on, as it fell way outside of my comfort zone. I stopped showering for a week and it wasn't fun. The only thing that made my shower-free week tolerable was the fact that I did so during a bitter cold winter spell, which meant I didn't sweat much. Also, I was in the throes of an allergic reaction that caused me to break out in hives on my arms and legs only. Therefore, not subjecting my skin to hot shower water every morning was helpful, as I was able to avoid flare ups and keep my skin calm. Other than that, I relied on a lot of baby wipes, a metric ton of deodorant, and Bio- Oil.
Despite my makeshift cleaning processes, I felt dirty. All of the time. While the baby wipes got the job done somewhat, especially when it came to freshening up the skin under my boobs, my armpits, and my butt, I didn't like the feeling of putting moisturizer over what felt like grimy skin.
This experiment took quite a bit of preparation and I suffered from a serious bout of self-consciousness. It was like I was dropped into one of my favorite scenes in Pretty in Pink. I made like Ducky and sniffed my armpits.
Then, I asked myself a critical question.
Here's what I went through when I gave up showering for a week. It was mental and physical.
1. No B.O.
I didn't have body odor... unless I really did manage to mask the "ick" with deodorant. I didn't feel fresh when wiping down, but it was better than nothing.
2. The Struggle Was Real
During the week, I work from home. I always get dressed as if I were commuting to an office, though. I don't lounge around in sweats or there will be no work x life delineation. Still, it felt weird putting clean clothes on a not-really-clean body. Make that a dirty body.
3. Perceived Filth
By mid-week, I placed a blanket over my comforter and slept on top of that, since I didn't want to crash out in my perceived filth or soil my sheets. When I went to the post office or ran errands, I wondered if people were side-eyeing me as if I were a hobo.
Despite generally avoiding interaction with people due to fear that I smelled and looked dirty, I asked a friend to inhale my aura. She didn't detect any stench. That may have been a measure of politeness.
4. Hair Horror
As for my hair? Don't get me started. I'm a daily hair washer, due to its oily texture. I noticed quite a build up.
5. Weekend Warrior
Weekends weren't great. I volunteer at a dog shelter every Saturday and Sunday, walking and handling dogs. It's muddy, sweaty, and slobbery work, but delightfully so. I usually wake up, walk the dogs, and then come home and shower because duh. But any crustiness was understandably exacerbated during this week. When I got home from my walks, I wiped down with like a half a pack of baby wipes and still wasn't clean. At this point, my skin was itchy and dry. I was in desperate need of a shower and I craved moisturizing body wash.
6. Bacne? UGH!
One thing I noticed that was a result of not showering? Bacne. That sucked, since I don't suffer from the condition normally. Annoying, to say the least, and probably due to some sort of oil build up. I still washed my face like normal during this period.
Guys, I am so not a survivalist or naturalist. I admit my need to shower daily. It perks me up. It gets the blood coursing through my veins. Soapy, sudsy lather running down my back awakens my pleasure centers. When I finally took a shower, I was delighted by the sight of dirty water circling the drain.
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Images: Amy Sciarretto (7); Giphy (2)