Remember that time as a kid when you were covered from head to toe in mud and happy? Most of us can think of at least one occasion where we were filthy and content to be so. Kids love to play in the dirt! Nowadays, we watch our kids like hawks, and as soon as a speck of dust settles on their little hands, we are ready with antibacterial soap and a hazmat suit. A bit over dramatic, but you see my point. We are too clean!
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We are robbing our kids of the same fond memories we hold dear by not letting them play in the dirt. Instead, we ask them always to be clean and picture perfect. Is that even possible? Is our desire for cleanliness helping or harming our little ones?
How many times a day do you wash your hands? Before mealtime, when you pet a dog, after playing at the park, when you come in from playing outside, don’t forget bathroom breaks (but please keep washing your hands!), after you go grocery shopping, and the list just keeps on going! Every time you wash, you strip a layer of oil away. Your skin uses that oil to hold in moisture and prevent infections.
What can we do? We can stop over-washing. By that I mean, only wash when necessary. If you’ve just pushed a dirty shopping cart down every aisle at the grocery store, go ahead and wash your hands. After gardening or playing with the kids outside, simply rinse the dirt off when it’s time to go inside. Don’t be afraid to get dirty!
Get the dirt on dirt!
Dirt is good for your immune system! Yes, you read me right. Dirt can help you stay healthy and young. Making mudpies with your toddler will make you feel young again, but more than that, there’s actual scientific evidence that getting your hands dirty is healthy.
Plain old everyday dirt contains soil-based organisms. Soil-based organisms are natural probiotics! That’s right. Our skin needs beneficial bacteria just like our digestive systems. Here are some ways these soil-based probiotics can help your skin:
Our skin acts as a shield to protect our internal organs from harmful toxins and pathogens. Beneficial bacteria on the skin’s surface fight against harmful bacteria and free radicals. Soil-based organisms are the knights in shining armor defeating the bad bacteria dragons.
Moisturize and Minimize
What that means is probiotics help your skin retain its moisture, and as we all know, well-hydrated skin shows fewer wrinkles. Now that is a win-win if you ask me!
Natural Sunscreen (Possibly)
Research is still being done on this benefit, but what has been found so far is promising! A healthy balance of skin probiotics could be the solution to natural UV protection.
Our immune system is responsive. That means it acts after an incident; it’s not proactive. In order for our children to have healthy immune systems, they need to have active immune responses. When a child puts something dirty, maybe a muddy stick in their mouth, what happens is truly amazing; Their little immune systems practice responding to foreign invaders and learn to differentiate between things that are harmless and those that are harmful.
A Study from The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that children exposed to the great outdoors and all its’ natural irritants have fewer allergies and fewer instances of asthma. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it sure does make better!
Read Next: “Autism, Are Vaccines to Blame?”
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