Deodorants alter your bodys microbial lifeAmy Walsh (Author) Published Date : Feb 04, 2016 16:16 IST
Want to always smell fresh Yes! But at the cost of your body s microbial life Wearing antiperspirant or deodorant doesn't just affect your social life, it substantially changes the microbial life that lives on you.
New research finds that antiperspirant and deodorant can significantly influence both the type and quantity of bacterial life found in the human armpit's microbiome. Julie Horvath, head of the genomics and microbiology research laboratory at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, an associate research professor at NC Central, and corresponding author of a paper describing the work published in the journal PeerJ, stated, Ultimately, we want to know if any changes in our microbial ecosystem are good or bad, but first we have to know what the landscape looks like and how our daily habits change it.
Rob Dunn, a professor of applied ecology at NC State and co-author of the paper, said, We've discovered that one of the biggest determinants of the bacteria in your armpits is your use of deodorant and/or antiperspirant.
To learn about the microbial impact of antiperspirant and deodorant, the researchers recruited 17 study participants: three men and four women who used antiperspirant products, which reduce the amount we sweat. The deodorant they used often includes ethanol or other antimicrobials to kill off odor-causing microbes. The other group did not use any deodorant. They then launched an eight-day experiment, in which all of the participants had swabs taken of their armpits between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The researchers then cultured all the samples to determine the abundance of microbial organisms growing on each participant and how that differed day to day.
We found that, on the first day, people using antiperspirant had fewer microbes in their samples than people who didn't use product at all - but there was a lot of variability, making it hard to draw firm conclusions, Horvath says.
However, once all participants began using antiperspirant on days seven and eight, we found very few microbes on any of the participants, verifying that these products dramatically reduce microbial growth, Horvath notes.
They also found that, among study participants who hadn't worn deodorant or antiperspirant, 62 percent of the microbes they found were Corynebacteria, followed by various Staphylococcaceae bacteria (21 percent), with a random assortment of other bacteria accounting for less than 10 percent.
The participants who had been regular antiperspirant users coming into the study had wildly different results. Sixty percent of their microbes were Staphylococcaceae, only 14 percent were Corynebacteria, and more than 20 percent were filed under other - meaning they were a grab-bag of opportunistic bacteria.
A few studies in recent years have theorized that aluminum-based antiperspirants may increase the risk for breast cancer. The aluminum salts do not work as antiperspirants by being absorbed in the body. They work by forming a chemical reaction with the water in the sweat to form a physical plug... which is deposited in the sweat duct, producing a blockage in the areas that it's applied, says David Pariser, MD, professor of dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School and past president of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Deodorants alter your bodys microbial life