Is your body wash gentle on your microbiome? asks the voiceover in a Dove ad.
A half dozen befuddled young women then attempt the Herculean task of repeating the word "microbiome." Finally, one says, "I actually don't even know what that is!"
MotherDirt Body Wash has "been screened and tested using our biome-friendly platform for compatibility with the skin's natural biome," reads the label. Sounds good! But a closer look reveals it's liquid soap with a pinch of salt, a dash of sweet almond oil, citric acid, and, of course (?), some hydrolyzed pea protein.
Popularity of "microbiome"-as-buzzword must have presented an advertising challenge for a body wash, which must remove dirt but not unsettle the microbial residents of the human epidermis. And so the products promise to maintain the skin microbiome, as if it's going to spontaneously evaporate unless one forks over $30 for a bottle of soap.
To continue reading, go to Genetic Literacy Project, where this post first appeared.