A live bacteria spray meant to restore skin with healthy microbes erased by obsessive cleaning has at least one weighty endorsement: It's used daily by a guy who hasn't showered in more than 12 years, per CBS Boston. David Whitlock—a chemical engineer who manages not to scare away friends and neighbors—helped found Massachusetts company AOBiome in 2013 after making a surprise discovery about dirt. Soon after a date asked him why her horse rolled in the stuff, Whitlock discovered that ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) in dirt converts sweat's urea and ammonia into good bacteria with anti-inflammatory properties. He also guessed AOB lived on the skin of our ancestors before cleaning products were invented, and he began covering his body with a mixture of AOB and water. Not only did his skin look and smell fine, but Whitlock says the mixture did wonders for his mental health, reports Bloomberg.
Now on the market for $49, the odorless Mother Dirt AO+ Mist—to be used twice a day—makes no health claims, per Beta Boston. Clients, including a New York Times writer, say it clears up acne and eczema and eliminates the need for deodorants and moisturizers, but "we need to do clinical trials," Whitlock says. "My biggest fear is the FDA shutting us down if they think we're making false claims." A rep says promoting a bacteria-based product—that isn't harmful even if ingested—is difficult when "we live in a world with Purell on every corner." But humans have "confused clean with sterile." The company recently released $15 live-bacteria shower gel and shampoo and is working to get FDA approval for bacteria treatments of skin conditions and wounds. In the meantime, Whitlock hopes to see his spray take off: "I would like a billion people a day to use this," he says. (Your beard could probably use a dousing.)