If you’re watching this video, odds are that you’ve come across a ton of different memes and topics of interest that seem to be hyper prevalent on the internet. Perhaps its the crushing pressure of constantly needing to find new, interesting content, or perhaps it’s just the organic result of billions of people interacting online, but for some reason one of the top topics, nay questions, that has been floating around the internet as of late is what would happen if you stopped showering for an entire year. While many YouTube personalities jump on opportunities to crush the latest challenge, no one jumped on this question even if it would be a lot easier than mailing oneself across the Atlantic (We’re using the word ‘mailing’ loosely). Luckily for you, the crack staff at BabbleTop have no personal lives and can come up with enough content to basically stay indoors all the time, meaning that most of us had a three to six-month head start before we even heard this was a contest. So here are the Top 10 things that’d happen if you (also) stopped showering for a year. Prepare to get gross!
10. Up First, the Obvious, You’d Smell
The first thing that I’m sure you, and those around you if you stopped bathing, is that you’d smell bad. First off, when you stop bathing you’d acquire a ton of bacteria on the top of your skin that when mixed with your sweat, gives off an odor. Beyond that, there are different types of sweat that your body produces which is why your armpits tend to smell a lot faster than other parts of your body (luckily, otherwise your entire body would just reek whenever you sweat). The sweat in your armpits actually comes from different glands than the sweat on the rest of your body. Eccrine glands tend to lurk in areas that have hair, like your armpits and… Other regions, whereas apocrine glands tend to be everywhere else. Eccrine glands produce a thicker, waxier sweat (similar to what create earwax in your ears) and when you mix that with the bacteria that chills in your pits (which is different from the bacteria elsewhere on your body), let’s just say, long story short, it’s a bad mix. So, when you’re not showering that bacteria has more room to grow, more sweat (wet or dry) to mix with and just more dead skin cells to munch on. That’s a terrible combination and would most likely lead to all sorts of skin problems. Speaking of which…
9. You’d Most Likely End up with Brown Clumps on your Skin
As the first entry on this list showed, one of the most important aspects of bathing is that it removes dead skin cells, bacteria and dried sweat (and/or oil) from the body. When that combination of skin by-products is left to fester, it creates all sorts of problems one of which is that it becomes a magnet for dirt and grime. This combination would also either cause the skin to become dry or oily, depending on the person, as the skins natural cycle would essentially be broken as the dead skin isn’t removed by soap and water. That means that the skin can be infected with fungus and yeast on top of the bacteria we’ve discussed, which can actually lead to clusters of warts. Beyond that, the areas of the body where oil gathers most, like your armpits, behind your ears, or under your breasts if you’re a woman (or robust man), would have a high risk for basically turning brown as dirt and pollutants continually mixed with the bodies natural oils and sweat. Basically, you’d turn into a toad person, only you would most likely give some warts if they touched you unlike the urban legend about gaining warts from toads.
8. If You Received a Cut, You’d Be in Trouble
There’s a reason that so many people died from infections before antibiotics (including antibiotic soap, and other things like astringents) were discovered and that’s because bacteria is everywhere even if you bathe multiple times a day. That’s why children are always taught to clean their cuts and scrapes, as you can pick up bacteria or even viruses in the simplest of cuts and abrasions. Multiple that risk hundred or thousand-fold if you’ve not been showering, as your body would be a walking petri dish that was almost aggressively and exponentially increasing the amount of more bacteria that grew on your skin. Don’t just take it from us, a member of the American Association of Dermatology said: “While infection may not be a concern, in the beginning, carrying a large load of bacteria on the skin can pose a problem if the skin barrier were to become compromised in some way, i.e. through a cut or scrape”. Youch.
7. Your Scalp Would Drive You CRAZY
As we’ve seen, the longer you go without showering the more things like oils would accumulate on your body. One of the places where they’d really, really both accumulate and cause problems would be on your scalp. Beyond that, showering and using shampoo help remove dead skin (and hair) from your scalp, meaning that if you stopped showering and shampooing you’d be creating a perfect store of oil and dead skin on your scalp. That means that your scalp would not only itch, but begin to burn as well. Beyond that, your hair would begin to become matted together, creating involuntary dreadlocks that’d smell terrible and would most likely break off after a while as your scalps ecosystem goes haywire and becomes dry in some areas. If you learn nothing else from this list, just remember that your body is basically an ecosystem and bathing is an important part of the process that keeps things on an even keel. While we’re the only animals that have to jump in the water to bathe (which is a lot better than the alternative of using our tongues), it’s clearly part of how we evolved and is something that everyone should do regularly in order to keep their exterior healthy.
6. That Having Been Said…
We understand that this topic may make you want to run to the nearest bathroom and start the faucet, we really do, but at the same time there are always two ends to a spectrum and while bathing is clearly an important part of skin, hair (and nose) health, it’s not something you want to overdo. In fact, in terms of health, you needn’t shower every single day. Americans, or at least American men, tend to shower every day with many showering more than once a day and that really doesn’t have any positive effect in terms of skin and hair health when compared to people who shower every two, three or four days. Showering daily is thought to be for aesthetics only, and really the only reason you should bath often is if you have a compromised immune system (like someone with cancer, HIV/AIDS or newborn children), as you want to remove as much bacteria from their skin as possible. So, as long as you’re not someone who sweats profusely or that has really oily hair, there’s really no reason to start or end your day with a shower or bath. That is, of course, unless you use that time to prepare for the day or to unwind, which adds another level to bathing that, frankly, we don’t have the time to get into (we’re too busy showering 15 times a day).
5. You’d Time Travel
Depending on how your skin works, regardless of your age, you’d most likely start breaking out in acne on your face and other parts of your body where sweat accumulates. Your body creates something called sebum, which builds up mostly on your face and clogs pores and inflames hair follicles. That means that you’d basically be living that reoccurring nightmare where the acne that you had during Middle School returned. So, you’d basically be traveling back in time, at least in one respect, but this time things could get a lot worse as if or when your pimples are popped or break open you’d be at a really high risk of developing a secondary infection. That’s what happens when people who are bed-ridden end up with bed sores, as their bodies basically accumulate sweat at the (pressure) points where their bodies touch the bed. They develop sores that fester and get so bad that they can become life-threatening and because you’re not washing your body those zits would basically just get worse and worse until you died from them. At least you’d go out doing what you loved… sticking it to the soap companies.
4. Then There are your Nether-Regions
Ever hear of Intertrigo? Let’s hope that you haven’t, as it’s just awful. It’s a type of inflammatory rash, or dermatitis, that occurs on the skin in areas that have a large build up of sweat, urine and/or feces. So, if you’re not showering for a year, regardless of how good you wipe, you’d end up with a yeast infection if you’re lucky and a terrible case of Intertrigo if you’re human. While you can also develop Intertrigo between your fingers, toes and in your armpits, the trifecta of disgustingness that creates the most terrible forms of Intertrigo obviously occurs where the sun doesn’t shine. What’s even worse is that most treatments for Intertrigo involve washing and drying the area (before applying medication and then powder to keep the area dry), that’s something that wouldn’t be possible if you weren’t bathing, so you’d really be at risk of a terribly painful infection that would just get worse and worse. Beyond that, even if you were lucky enough to dodge Intertrigo you’d just be horribly uncomfortable all the time.
3. Panic on FunkyFeet
We know. That reference was a stretch. Speaking of stretching, you’d be a lot of toe touching if you stopped showering for a year as your toes would be driving you absolutely insane. There’s a reason that people talk about “Toe Jam” and why those commercials exist where a crappy CGI Monster is attacking some white guys toes, it’s because there’s a type of fungus that loves to attack your toes and that is kept at bay by bathing with soap. When you’re not doing that, the fungus can grow unabated as would the dead skin between the toes, creating crusty chunks of skin surrounded by fungus. While that’d be horribly painful and itchy, what’s worse is that that same fungus loves to hang out in your groin as well (something that CGI monster never tells you, typical), meaning that if your feet rub against your underwear when you’re putting them on (which they most likely will), you’re most definitely going to end up with that same fungus going to town on your nether-regions. The good news is that fungus is a natural remedy for Intertrigo… We’re just kidding, you’d actually be double screwed as you’d have a bacterial and fungal infection on your junk at the same time. Talk about a case of the Mondays!
2. The Effects Would Linger
Let’s say that you actually went an entire year without bathing for some reason. Perhaps you were stranded on a landlocked mountaintop, or you just gave up on life after watching Star Wars: The Last Jedi (just like Luke Skywalker!), either way, you’d think that you’d be fine if you just hopped into the world’s longest and most painful shower. It turns out that that wouldn’t be the case, as I’m sure you’d surmised. There are dermatologists who have experience with this sort of thing and they say that in their patients that haven’t washed a certain area of their body for months at a time that it takes days or even weeks to months for that skin to return to a normal state. When you add all of the possible diseases and fungal infections to the list (and warts, too boot), there’s a chance that you’d never return to normal (if normal is defined as how you were before you decided to buy a ticket for the WORST STAR WARS MOVIE EVER!). With things like Intertrigo and Toe Jam in your junk going unabated for weeks to months, there’s a decent chance that you’d have some scarring and even loss of skin in some areas. That’s not to mention the final entry on this list which is impossible to return from, that is unless you’re part of the Illuminati…
1. You Could Die
This entry is short and sweet as this entire list basically lead to this point. If you really couldn’t wash yourself and that landlocked island was somewhere that didn’t get rain, there’s a good chance that you’d develop a skin infection or multiple skin infections that could get worse and worse, which could lead to gangrene or sepsis, both of which could kill you. Beyond that, people contract things like MRSA and flesh-eating bacteria from open wounds and so there’s always the chance that you’d pick up one of those darlings when you’re walking around with open skin wounds all over your face, body and special place(s). So the next time your roommate complains that you used all the hot water just let him or her know that shower time is a matter of life and death. While this may sound hyperbolic, just go a week without a shower and test the theory, you’ll begin to notice the beginnings of most things on this list, which means you’d be playing Russian Roulette with not bathing, although it does mean that if someone calls you out for having B.O. you can laugh it off knowing that you’re living the thug life. Just make sure your feet don’t hit your underwear when you’re not changing them.