Using antiperspirant or deodorant as a routine may be encouraged in your social life, but harmful to your microbial life. A recent research published in the journal PeerJ, the type and quantity of numerous bacteria species living on human skin is affected by the use of deodorant and antiperspirant, which has raised questions about whether the products are beneficial or harmful to health.
In the study conducted by North Carolina State University together with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Rutgers University and Duke University, 17 participants were involved. Three men and four women were given antiperspirant products, three men and two women used deodorant and the rest used neither product.
During eight days, samples from armpits of all participants were taken. All of them complied with their normal hygiene routine on the first day. From the second day to the sixth day, they didn’t use any deodorant or antiperspirant product. Then, all participants used antiperspirant for the last two days. For the first day, the result showed that antiperspirant users had fewer microbes while deodorant users had more microbes than those used neither product. Since the study period progressed, the amount of microbes in all participants was comparable.
According to study author Julie Horvath, also head of the genomics and microbiology research laboratory at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, when all participants started using antiperspirant on the seventh day and the eighth day, very few microbes were found in any of the participants. It means that these products dramatically diminish microbial growth.
The study was also conducted on the composition and variety of types of bacteria. Researchers found that those who did not use any odor product had 62 percent of the bacteria partly responsible for body smells and 21 percent Staphylococcaceae bacteria, the most common microbes on human skin. Regular antiperspirant users had 60 percent Staphylococcaceae bacteria, most of them are beneficial and 14 percent odor-related bacteria.
The microbial ecosystem of your skin can be completely rearranged in types and amounts by using antiperspirant and deodorant regularly, said Horvath. However, whether their effect beneficial or detrimental is unknown and it need further exploring.
The study follows another document which found that armpit microbes in primates have evolved over time together with the primates that they live on; though, we have changed that process significantly through our habits, from bathing to changing how we look and smell, Horvath said in the news release.