Anti-perspirants can make you smell worse?!?

A new and exciting study indicates that using anti-perspirants may alter the composition of the bacteria of the body’s micro-biome, or skin surface bacteria, causing armpit odor to become unpleasant! This is all the more reason to avoid using dangerous anti-perspirants laden with aluminum. All natural Ozone Layer Deodorant is proudly Aluminum FREE, and always will be 🙂


Another recent finding suggests that using antiperspirant might make body odour worse. This may make the actress Cameron Diaz happy – earlier this year she revealed that she hasn’t worn any for 20 years, telling reporters: ‘Antiperspirant is really bad for you. Let it go and just trim your armpit hair so it doesn’t hold on to the scent. You’re stinky because you use antiperspirant.’

Diaz may have a point. Habitual antiperspirant users may find that the practice backfires, according to research published in July by Chris Callewaert, a bioscientist at Belgium’s Ghent University. The vast majority of sweat we exude is odourless. Sweat from being hot is produced by eccrine glands, which are the most numerous type of sweat gland, and are found all over the body.


Chris Callewaert’s small-scale study suggests that antiperspirants can change the balance of bacteria in your armpits. He explains that the armpits harbour two types of bacteria: the good kind, staphylococci, don’t make much of an odour. But the bad kind, corynebacterium, transform our sweat ‘into compounds which have a particular pungent odour’.

The vast majority of sweat we exude is odourless

The vast majority of sweat we exude is odourless.

His study, published in the Archives of Dermatological Research suggests that antiperspirants actually increase the levels of the malodorous bacteria, which ‘could lead toward an altered, more unpleasant, underarm odour’.

Thus, he told reporters, the ‘long-term use’ of antiperspirants ‘can lead toward altered odour production of the armpit’.

The secretions from the apocrine glands develop at puberty and are believed to play an important role in sending sexual messages through signalling smells called pheromones that may cause arousal and attraction in people who smell them. (Women are much better able to subliminally detect these chemicals, even if they are masked by perfumes.)

Sweat triggered by stress is another form of ‘messaging’ – it’s triggered by the same adrenaline that prompts our fight or flight response and seems to be our way of sending warning signals to others.

Chemicals emitted in this sweat seem to make fear contagious.

A study conducted by Dr Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, a professor of biomedical engineering at Stony Brook University in New York, published in the journal PLOS ONE in 2009 found that the activity in the amygdala region of the brain, which processes emotions such as fear, was more active in people exposed to others’ stress sweat rather than to exercise sweat. When we emit stress sweat, it also seems to make others suspicious of us. Studies by Johan Lundström, a professor of clinical neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, show that when a person smells the stressy body odour of a stranger, their brain’s fear network is activated.

Antiperspirants may shut down some of our bodies’ vital safety processes and possibly even make us smell worse when we don’t use them. But it does seem that, for people toiling in ultra-busy work environments, roll-ons and sprays still bring a sweet smell of success.

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