How do you clean your vagina, anus, and feet without some sort of cleansing product? The vagina is "a self cleaning oven" on the inside. But we need to clean the outside to avoid urinary tract infections, odor and itching, If you are sexually active, you are also at risk for yeast infections. You can actually get these infections without being sexually active. I won't even go into the details about the anus. There are many health hazzards and offensiveness involved with a dirty anus area. How do you avoid all these pitfalls? Water is not an effective cleanser. It is good for rinsing.
Starting at the bottom up -- feet are easy to clean -- water is plenty to clean your feet. They were designed to be easy to clean, because we would be using them all the time, in all kinds of environments. And if they get plenty of air (from going barefoot) they tend not to get stinky, too.
In fact, most of the body is easy to clean.
Moving up to genitals, water and a good diet are your first best line of defense. UTIs and especially yeast infections become a lot more prevalent when the body's acid balance is messed up (like it can get with too much sugar/high glycemic food in the diet for a given individual. Hormones play a big part, too -- a healthy hormone balance reduces the chance that hormonal spikes will cause an imbalance -- and last but not least, LOVE your probiotics -- make sure that your body is keeping the healthy flora in place and the unhealthy stuff like yeast won't be able to get a foothold.
As far as UTIs after sex, you can get past that one by properly hydrating, and waiting to pee until AFTER you've had sex. Pee naturally washes any bacteria and fluids that accidentally get shoved into the urethra back outside the body.
Once you get past there, though, I prefer to use 'soapnuts'... I let them sit in some warmed, purified water, and let the saponin release, then use the liquid to wash all the 'furry bits'. Use it for my laundry, too, and the clothes come out clean, with no heavy perfume smell.
I use these folk for my soap-nut stuff. They actually have soap-nut shampoo and body soap, as well as whole soap nuts. http://store.naturoli.com/ (You have to watch where you get it from, because some places sell nuts that are poor quality, the wrong species, or they sell by weight and then don't pit them so you'll end up with black stains on everything from the pits).
Informationally, I have been soap-free by necessity since I was around 3 years old and started reacting to almost any soap with horrific atopic dermatitis. My dermatologist told my mom that using soaps and detergents on my skin would increase the inflammation, and over time, I'd be able to use fewer and fewer things -- so even though it had nothing to do with paleo living, I've been a no-soaper for nearly my whole life. I've had ONE yeast infection and ONE UTI -- both of them related to an unhealthy pregnancy. Other than that, no problems at all in 40+ years, and I work around people all the time and in the health field, so if I had odor issues, someone surely would have mentioned it by now. grins
Hey, my customer and friend Albert forwarded this message thread to me. I'm the owner of Super Body Care, and this thread, reiterates the reason why I started my company in 2003. :) Ladies and gentlemen... I am with you on not using antibacterial ingredients. We have a healthy layer of 10 million beneficial bacteria on our skin that are disrupted with the constant use of antibacterial ingredients/products. It throws off our skin's balance, making it prone to unbalance, eg, inviting infections from staph and e.Coli, to name a few.
In my 20's, my "woo-woo" was constantly under attack by an overgrowth of yeast. (I'm sure my long term sugary diet was finally catching up with me). And then one day, when I was 27, I got a UTI two months in a row, and the doc said, you'll have to be on a low-grade antibiotic for the rest of your life. Of course I thought, it was a bunch of bologna and sought out natural remedies. The short answer to preventing further onset of UTI's and healthy genitalia and bowels is Ta-dah! Acidophilus - I prefer Jarrow brand jarrowdophilus refrigerated that you can pick up at any natural foods store. Still struggling with my pesky yeast overgrowth, I found relief in my soap bars, as do many of my female customers. Why? Instead of using any chemicals, we use the strength of nature in Peppermint, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Lavender, and Bergamot plant oils. You see my point, plants use these same scents and aroma to thwart off fungi and pests in the wild. We are harnessing that power, by harvesting the oils from living plant matter, and adding them out various products. We don't kill anything, we just make your skin super healthy. I hope you will reconsider soap. We've sold over 10000 bars of our famous soap bar in the last 2.5 years. Several athletes use our soaps to prevent infections, or make their skin healthy. Anybody on this thread is welcome to a sample pack. Just send me your name/address to email@example.com.
Additionally, understanding how bacteria behaves and its purpose on Earth drove me to search for answers. Why do we think bacteria is so bad? It's really not and we need it. Staph and e.Coli are found in the colon b/c they are benefecial to decaying organic (like you, me and animals) matter. And that's what feces are. It's bacteria's job to be around feces because they "consume" it and make it into fertilizer for the Earth.. just as when an animal dies, it decays with the help of bacteria. Without bacteria, you can let your mind wander as to what the world would look like if we had no organisms to clean up after death or decaying matter. Sorry to get so gross, but imagine it, because bacteria are INTEGRAL to our very synergistic world. That being said, e.Coli is responsible for a major percentage of UTI's. E.Coli is often found where? the Colon. So hygiene is important, very important. Put these bacteria on the wrong "job" and they will cause an infection of sorts if you're natural defense systems are too weak to fight off. This is one of my most read blogs: http://www.superbodycare.com/featured-news/you-gotta-love-bacteria-no-seriously/
I believe Super Body Care's approach works with nature (which includes you), rather than against it. Thanks! Any questions, I'd love to answer! firstname.lastname@example.org
I use all natural, locally made soap, which is basically organic oils, goat's milk, and lye. Fairy-Made. I use it only on my lady parts and my pits, and it lasts forever. I went no poo, but I don't think there's anything wrong with soap, since people have been making it from fat and ashes for thousands of years.
I will chime in and say i'm kind of a cleanliness freak (not the type to use any sort of anti-bacterial stuff) and I feel better when my lady parts and everything else are clean. I know you "can" use non soapy ways to clean off but I think if you use a high quality type that doesn't have any crap in it (like bronners...nothing like peppermint!) you're all good. I think a lot of infections (uti and yeasty type) can come from bad soaps with lots of blech in them as well as not enough water intake and eating sugary substances. I say, go with what works for you, we are NOT cavemen that must do without soap and unless it's something you feel strongly about then use something you feel good about. There's lots out there. Unless i'm in a zombie apocolpyse (can you tell i'm watching "walking dead") and I have no other option, shampoo and soap (the good kind) will be my go to.
The threat of UTIs is the best argument I know for continuing to use soap. I know this doesn't answer your question (or the spirit of your question) and for that, I apologize. But I used to get chronic urinary tract infections (two or three a year). Dangerous and demoralizing. That and the social stigma (and personal issues) with being smelly are just not worth it to me. I loves me my Bronner's.
But there are several people here who will pitch in with great veteran no-soap no-'poo advice, or you could check some old threads.
I'm so not down with the 'cave man' no-washing trend. Natural products with moisturizing properties, and not overwashing? Necessary for me, since I have sensitive skin with mild ichthyosis and very dry, curly hair. No products at all? Hell no.
I've tried going totally cleanser-free. Smelly and so itchy! No benefits I could see, I was both grossed out and uncomfortable. I am a very sweaty person in spots - hands, feet, and underarms especially - and therefore get smelly more easily than drier people. TMI My labia likes strong detergents, over soap - I've got to use SLS there are least a few times per month if I want to be comfortable /TMI
I use cleansers (soap, usually) on my pits, bits, and feet. I don't use shampoo on my head but I do wash with a conditioner; prolonged water-only washing of my scalp causes an itchy, crusty, broken-out and stinky mess.
I, for one, am all for cleansing products. If people want to go with "natural" cleansing products, then I'm okay with that, as long as they work. One important thing to consider when contemplating the elimination of cleansing products: lack of effective cleansing product down yonder could result in an immediate suspension of certain pleasurable activities. Yes, it's true, I like my balls [http://paleohacks.com/questions/76342/hack-my-balls-please-humor#axzz1dKVTZB2A] and other useful tools clean. I don't care if the cavemen did it, I'm not a caveman.
I don't think we need to stop washing and run around in fur skirts, but I have to say most of the skin irritations and infections I ever had were caused by man-made products, not by going longer between use of them. All these products destroy our skin's natural coatings and less is definitely better.
My skin is happiest when I use no makeup (tried many, many brands) and no perfumes and shampoo as infrequently as possible, using water rinses in between. Toothpaste always gave me hives so I dry brush.
Deodorant (every brand) caused burns that were large unsightly red-then-brown areas, so I switched to a paste made of coconut oil and baking soda. That still burns a little but without the horrible brown underarms.
I do use soap on the lady parts for the reasons Robin talked about, but that's irritating too.