OCT 03, 2016 03:10 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
NOV 14, 2018
Videos
NOV 14, 2018
The Sunscreen Gene
Wouldn't it be convenient if we didn't have to worry about sunscreen because our bodies were able to just make it when we needed it?...
NOV 20, 2018
Earth & The Environment
NOV 20, 2018
This Massive Impact Crater Was Hiding Underneath Greenland's Ice
After searching the ice-covered lands of Greenland, scientists have discovered what appears to be a massive impact crater that was previously hidden by mor...
NOV 22, 2018
Videos
NOV 22, 2018
The science of gratitude
On a day like Thanksgiving, it is easy to remember all that we are thankful for. But for a while now scientists have been trying to crack the code behind t...
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
Nontuberculous Mycobacterial Infections in Tattoos
Contracting an infection when getting a tattoo is always a major concern. Consumers should be aware of the risk of developing infections with bloodborne pa...
DEC 04, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 04, 2018
Learn How NASA's Apollo 12 Mission Escaped Double Lightning Strikes
When NASA’s Apollo 12 mission was preparing to launch on November 14th, 1969, ominous storm clouds began swarming the launch pad. Regardless, weather...
DEC 17, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 17, 2018
Are We Any Closer to Harnessing Fusion to Generate Electricity?
Electricity is essential to our everyday lives, but the way we generate electricity with the burning of fossil fuels isn’t particularly suitable for...
Loading Comments...