Deodorants and antiperspirant can significantly affect both the type and quantity of bacteria living on skin, particularly beneath armpits.
Deodorants may be a nice solution to prevent body odor, but most would not know that this simple act of splashing can cause massive changes in the delicate ecosystem of your skin.
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Thousands of bacteria species live on human skin, particularly in the armpit and the use of deodorants and antiperspirant can significantly affect both the type and quantity of bacteria living on skin, according to a new research.
“We wanted to understand what effect antiperspirant and deodorant have on the microbial life that lives on our bodies, and how our daily habits influence the life that lives on us,” said study author Julie Horvath, a professor at North Carolina Central University.
“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.”
To learn about the impact of deodorants and antiperspirant on skin’s microbial community, researchers involved 17 participants. A few of them were regular users of antiperspirant products which reduce the amount of sweat we produce. Some used deodorants which kill off odor while others used neither of the two products. Then, an eight-day experiment has been conducted and participants were given instructions regarding the use of deodorants or antiperspirants.
On day one participants followed their normal routine regard to deodorant or antiperspirant use. On day 2 to 6, they did not use any deodorant or antiperspirant while on day 7 and 8, all used antiperspirants.
Each day, researchers took samples from the skin to determine the abundance of microbial organisms growing on each participant and how they differed day to day
Researchers found that people using antiperspirants had few microbes in their samples compared to those who did not use the product at all while the people who used deodorants had the most bacteria among all the participants. But when all used antiperspirant on day seven and eight very few microbes have been found on any of the participant, indicating that these products actually reduce bacteria growth.
Researchers also found that microbial biodiversity or types of bacteria were also affected by the use of deodorant or antiperspirant. The participants who used neither of two products have 62 percent Corynebacteria and 21 percent various Staphylococcaceae bacteria. It is believed that most of Staphylococcaceae bacteria are not harmful but some can pose threat to human health.
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“Collectively these results suggest a strong effect of product use on the bacterial composition of armpits. Although stopping the use deodorant or antiperspirant similarly favors presence of Staphylococcaceae over Corynebacterium, their differential modes of action exert strikingly different effects on richness of other bacteria living in armpit communities.” Study concludes.