Women: there's nothing wrong with not washing every day

I can’t wait to see the surveys about whether men should go back to work after having children

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The Independent Online

Attention, women! They’ve found something else that we’re doing wrong. We’re not only leaving it too late to have children (Kirstie Allsopp), rudely taking time off work when we do (Ukip), or being “selfish” by not having children at all (the, err, Pope); we are also anti-social and filthy, according to a skincare brand for people with more money than sense.

A survey by Flint + Flint (“essential” skincare kits £120-£260) has revealed that four out of five women don’t shower every day and one in three has at some time in her life gone three days without bathing at all. Slatterns! (Or, you know, Glastonbury, but anyway, bad women!) The boss, Maxine Flint, is “alarmed”. “Skipping a morning wash is both anti-social… and unhealthy,” she scolded. “It is so important to clean your face daily and moisturise to slow down the ageing process….”

Really? I’m not sure about the ability of an oil-in-water suspension wiped on the face to slow down ageing, and neither, it seems, is the Advertising Standards Authority. It has never “been convinced that the application of a moisturiser to normal, as opposed to dry, skin has been demonstrated to have a cumulative or persistent beneficial effect”, it says. “Marketers should not refer to the prevention, delaying or masking of premature ageing in anything other than in temporary terms.”

I checked with a doctor about the health risks of not washing for 24 hours. “There isn’t any hard evidence regarding how frequently we need to wash,” said consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto, a British Skin Foundation spokeswoman. “Cleansing the skin, however, is important for... skin health and preventing disease. Soaps and body washes remove dirt from the environment, microbes and sebum [oils] from the surface of the skin.” Mind you, Queen Elizabeth I was said to bathe once a month “whether she needed it or not”, and if her face had ever fallen off you can bet we’d have a Booker-winning trilogy and a BBC adaptation about it quicker than you can say “skin-protecting polysaccharides and lipids”.

Lo and behold, then, it sounds like just another way to persuade women to buy crap by making us feel rubbish about ourselves and to waste more of our time on “skincare regimes” instead of having jobs or lives or hanging out with our mates. I can’t wait to see the surveys about whether men should go back to work after having children (with Sir Malcolm Rifkind clearly a role model for the busy working dad), or what men should be allowed to wear after they turn 48 (Ed Balls modelling), or how often men should wash if they are to be allowed out in public. (By the way, men who think that you don’t need to use deodorant because you shower every morning: you’re wrong!)

I expect we’ll wait till hell freezes over before we see so much judgemental nonsense about men, though. Something about this survey stinks, and it’s not the women in it.