OCT 03, 2016 3:10 PM PDT

How Harmful are Deodorants to Your Body?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Despite the most adamant testament to the contrary, we all smell (though some more pungent than others). Body odor is simply a natural part of being a mammal. But though sweat is usually blamed for body odor, sweat itself is odorless. The cause of unpleasant odors result from the skin bacteria metabolizing the sweat into compounds that have scents. Thus how we smell depends on many factors: how much sweat is produced, the types of bacteria living on our skin, the foods we eat, and the medications we take.

And so, deodorants and antiperspirants to the rescue! But how do these work? As it turns out, deodorants kill odor by wiping out the bacteria that lives in the armpits. No bacteria, no smell. Antiperspirants, by contrast, eliminate the sweat that bacteria feast on by plugging up sweat glands with aluminum salts. In this case, no sweat, no bacteria, no smell.

Although there are rumors that antiperspirants lead to cancer, there are no scientific findings that back up these claims. But this has yet to stop the rising popularity of all-natural deodorants and antiperspirants that may be less effective than the chemical versions. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 28, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 28, 2019
Consider Skipping The Post-Workout Ice Bath
In an effort to get heart-healthy, many people have experienced the painful after-effects of an intense workout. Weather cardiovascular or strength trainin...
DEC 30, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 30, 2019
Are Blue Animals Truly Blue?
Animals come in all sorts of colors, and while the animal kingdom has most of the rainbow’s colors at its disposal, there are a few exceptions. Some...
JAN 02, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 02, 2020
Mushroom Chemistry: Pick Your Poison, or Not
Consuming wild mushrooms is largely frowned upon because it can lead to food poisoning. Its consequence ranges from vomiting and diarrhea to death within d...
JAN 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 13, 2020
An Albatross Mother's Work is Never Done
Albatross chicks are naturally flightless, and this increases their dependence on their parental units to bring back food for them to eat. In this chick&rs...
FEB 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 10, 2020
Mudskippers Aren't Like Most Fish...
Most fish spend almost all of their lives in a body of water, be it the ocean or some smaller lake or stream. Mudskippers, on the other hand, are a unique...
FEB 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
FEB 21, 2020
Diagnosing COVID-19
Diagnosing coronavirus is done through next-generation sequencing, real-time RT-PCR tests, cell culture, and electron miscopy. For patients, that translate...
Loading Comments...