I’ve been poo- and soap-less for close to a year. Mostly it’s been great. I can’t seem to drop some form of deodorant, as I still tend to get a little funky as the day wears on. As the weather warms up, I’ve begun to notice much more oil on my already oily skin resulting in lots of blackheads on my face/hairline and all over my chest and back. Not like unfortunate teenager bad, but noticeable. I’ve also had VERY sweaty stinky feet. Like it would be helpful to be able to change out socks and shoes partway through the day. These things may or may not be related. I’m not certain. I eat cleaner than the average American, although not as well as most here I’m sure. Has anyone else had similar issues? How can the problem be the solution here?
I have no aversion to soap and shampoo, but I have been without it a few times, when I moved from one job site to another.
One of the best things for cleaning up oily skin, is a good scrub with clay. If you can get some good dry clay soil, and scrub it into the parts of your back and forehead that are getting pimply, it will absorb some of that oil and it will abraid dead skin. There are women who pay big money to have various types of clay spread on their skin. I have found that almost anything works. Fine sawdust might also do the job. Rub it in dry, let it sit a few minutes, then wash it off.
Clay definitely works for stinky feet. Just pour some into your shoes and then pour it out again. I almost always go without socks when doing this. A bit of ground charcoal would also work.
Beyond that, it sounds like you need a good bath with soap and shampoo.:-) Do you find that this is affecting your social life?
No real social effects. I’m not so much averse to the soap, I’ve just found that I haven’t needed it. Maybe I just don’t need it for most of the year. Perhaps I’ll wash like a normal person and see if that helps.
I’ve never thought of using clay, I may need to find a way for that to work!
A clay application on your back would be a lot easier if an intimate friend applied it. A mix of a back rub, a good scratch, and a mask at the same time. Simple justice would require a return of the favor. Then the rinse off. Might become a fun evening ritual.
Does anyone know why some people are prone to smelly feet and others aren't?
I've never had smelly feet, but I had a nephew living with us who did. I noticed my foot skin feels thin, hard and dry, where his felt thick, soft and moistish. I usually wear my socks for several days without a noticeable difference in smell, (although I lay them out to dry every night and bathe every day or so). I can't go barefoot or in sandals for several days without my feet drying out and the skin around my heels splitting down to the meat (painful). My moms feet were similar. My theory is that is a minor mutation, but maybe it's just different skin bacteria. I've just figured out what works for me and gone with that. A hot bath, then Corona (a lanolin rich ointment used for horse hooves) applied to the feet just before bedtime with either socks or plastic wrap over it heals the splitting skin overnight)
As far as armpit oder, I'm a big fan of baking soda. I've never had anything against anti bacterial soap either, using it only on the arm pits and pubic area.
Great ideas here, thanks everyone! I’ve currently doused my feet in baking soda and looking into more summer appropriate shoes. I’ve been wearing a pair of leather boots that just might be more than I personally need in warmer weather.
Another idea I’ve had recently is to make some felted wool shoe inserts to get the plastic/foam ones out. More natural and better at wicking. Also I think it would help my socks last longer. I happen to be hard on shoes and socks. Not intentionally, but if a pair of shoes lasts me 3 years (I have a desk job!) I’ve gotten my money! I feel like that’s not the norm for most people. My wife can wear the same pair of shoes for near a decade. It’s probably related to the death-scented bacteria that have decided to make my feet their home.
Anthony Cooley wrote:. Another idea I’ve had recently is to make some felted wool shoe inserts to get the plastic/foam ones out. More natural and better at wicking. Also I think it would help my socks last longer. I happen to be hard on shoes and socks. Not intentionally, but if a pair of shoes lasts me 3 years (I have a desk job!) I’ve gotten my money! I feel like that’s not the norm for most people. My wife can wear the same pair of shoes for near a decade.
I think the felted wool inserts are a great idea! If you made three pairs and kept switching them out, this might help with both foot odor and lifespan of shoes. Airing and drying out the things that touch your feet is so helpful.
I would guess it's possible your wife's shoes last longer because she may have more pairs of shoes, and thus each pair gets less use.
About the face, I haven't used soap on my face regularly since high school, when I discovered that if I use soap, I'll get pimples a few days later. I just wash my face with lots of warm water, and then scrub with a cotton towel every morning. Maybe you could try this. It might take a few days to stabilize, but for me it works great.
About foot smell and underarm smell, one thing that makes a big difference is natural fiber clothing. Cotton and wool take much longer to get smelly underarms, whereas even a small percent of polyester gets nasty underarm smell in one day. In my experience, a percentage of other synthetics mixed with cotton or wool doesn't make so much body odor, but 10% polyester is a stinky disaster.
Another thing I've noticed is that common detergent doesn't get body odor smells fully out of underarms. I find that if I wear a cotton shirt that was washed with detergent and still has a faint smell in the underarms, then it will get stinky in a single day of wear. I sometimes sniff freshly washed still wet shirts, and if there's a faint smell in the underarms, I lather the underarms with any old hand soap or body soap, and rinse it out. After this, a cotton or wool shirt can go for days of wear.
Similarly, detergent doesn't get socks clean: they still come out greyish in areas, right? Wear the two socks on your hands like mittens, lather them with a little of whatever bar soap is found next to the nearest sink, scrub the grey parts together for a few seconds, and you'll find they turn white or whatever color they are supposed to be. I suspect this would make a big improvement in foot smell resistance too, since it works for underarms.
Works at a residential alternative high school in the Himalayas SECMOL.org . "Back home" is Cape Cod, E Coast USA.
An abrasive scrubber that helps remove dead skin cells might help, if removing soap from your showers also removed some or all of the scrubbing that went with it.
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