I have always believed that too much cleanliness can harm children (and adults too). Now there is some science to back it up.
Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life.
Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article:
"'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation.
Later on the page a commenter writes:
When I was in college, back in the late 60s and early 70s, a doctor diagnosed my dry, cracked skin and ongoing rashes as the result of too many showers. He recommended only one or two showers a week, with the qualification that any heavy exercise that produced sweating could probably be followed by a shower. I tried following his advice, and the problems cleared up. His explanation is that soap doesn't just clear away dirt and micro-organisms; it also removes surface skin cells and destroys oils, and this isn't too good for the skin.
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