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Cambridge Company Says Live Bacteria Spray Will Keep You Clean

BOSTON (CBS) - You've heard of taking probiotics for a healthy gut, but what about literally spraying live bacteria on your skin? As Dr. Mallika Marshall reports, a local company thinks it's a good idea for overall health, and plans to prove it.

"I have not taken a shower in over 12 years," says Dave Whitlock, a chemical engineer and MIT grad who says he doesn't miss bathing at all. "No one did clinical trials on people taking showers every day. So what's the basis for assuming that that is a healthy practice."

Dave Whitlock
Dave Whitlock (WBZ-TV)

In fact, what Whitlock does believe is healthy is restoring good bacteria to our skin that our ancestors enjoyed long ago and that has slowly been stripped away by excessive cleaning. To prove his theory, he helped found AOBiome, a company based in Cambridge, MA.

"We've confused clean with sterile," says Jasmina Aganovic, the General Manager of Consumer Products at AOBiome. She says as humans, we need to reconnect with our environment. "We've taken the dirt out of our lives. We don't spend as much time outdoors as we used to, even little children," she explains.

To add a little dirt back into our lives, AOBiome has created Mother Dirt, specifically the AO+ Mist containing live bacteria that is sprayed directly on the skin twice a day. It has no odor and feels like water.

"Our users are able to reduce their dependence on conventional products," says Aganovic. "Examples include cutting out or cutting down on deodorant, cutting out or cutting down on moisturizers." There's a Mother Dirt shampoo and cleanser that don't contain bacteria but Aganovic says won't interfere with it either.

And while Whitlock still doesn't shower, he does use Mother Dirt every day and hopes the rest of the world will join him. "I would like a billion people a day to use this," he says.

While AOBiome believes in the health benefits of these live bacteria, they're not making any scientific claims right now but will soon begin clinical trials on inflammatory skin conditions, like acne.

The Mother Dirt products became available in July of this year. For more information, go to

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