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Cleanliness Next To Godliness? 'Clean' Author Suggests It's Time We Reconsider

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Author James Hamblin

During a pandemic, many of us are doing everything we can to stay clean. From avoiding social situations to washing our clothes more often to wiping down everything in sight with a Clorox wipe, hygiene has been thrust to the forefront of our lives.

That’s why it’s difficult to comprehend why James Hamblin, a medical doctor and staff writer for The Atlantic, hasn’t taken a shower in five years.

While he certainly washes his hands, he argues that the soap industry created the myth that showering daily is necessary to be "clean." It appears to have worked – in 2019 the beauty and personal care market was worth almost $100 billion.

We sit down with Hamblin, the author of “Clean: The New Science of Skin,” to understand how marketing has shaped our idea of cleanliness and how our skin is actually a “complex, diverse ecosystem.”

This conversation originally aired in December 2020.


James Hamblin, staff writer at The Atlantic and author of “Clean: The New Science of Skin

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.