Deodorant and antiperspirant affect the armpit’s microbial ecosystem in ways you probably weren’t aware of. Using either of these hygiene products may be a good social life prop. Nonetheless, microbes dwelling in the armpit region and crucial for a balanced microbial ecosystem may like it less.
Julie Horvath, evolutionary genomicist with the North Carolina Central University led this courageous experiment to understand what happens to microbes dwelling in the armpit region when we use deodorant or antiperspirant. As per the findings of the research, there are significant differences between using either of the two hygiene products or none and the effects these actions have on the microbial ecosystems.
Julie Horvath declared:
“I’m excited about armpits”.
Both humans and apes have been blessed with armpits. These are really hotspots for microbial evolution as the axilla is really well protected from any potentially harmful elements. Sweat produced by the glands of the armpit is also a good indicator of animal mating and genetic material being passed on from generation to generation.
To understand just how important microbes are in maintaining the delicate ecosystem of our armpits and how they are affected by deodorant use and antiperspirant use, the research team drew 17 participants in the study.
Over the course of eight days, the participants were asked to experiment with deodorant use, antiperspirant use and using no product at all. One group used exclusively deodorant, the other antiperspirant and the last no product for the first day of the study.
From day two to day six, all participants were asked to cease the use of the hygenic products. For the last two days of the research, all participants used exclusively antiperspirant. Throughout the experiment, the research team collected two swabs of DNA per day from each participants.
According to the results published in the PeerJ magazine, deodorant and antiperspirant affect the armpit’s microbial ecosystem. For the participants who stopped using any of the two hygienic products, the researchers found that the colony of microbes in the armpit region grew significantly.
The instant all participants put on antiperspirant, the microbes vanished. Deodorant use had no significant impact on the microbial ecosystem. In fact, there were more results for antiperspirant use than for any other of the possibilities.
Antiperspirant use led to the immediate death of microbes in the armpit region. It may not be surprising as antiperspirant also blocks sweat glands. Once people in this group stopped using antiperspirant, Staphylococcaceae family microbes were present as much as 60 percent.
14 percent of the microbes came from the Corynebacteria, while the rest belonged to other microbial families. Deodorant use on the other hand led to fairly different results, turning the percentage points on their head. The Corynebacteria family increased its presence, the Staphylococcaceae remained almost the same, while another 10 percent was reserved for other microbes.
While the census of microbes linked to either deodorant use or antiperspirant use isn’t telling of how helpful these microbes are, one thing is clear: deodorant and antiperspirant affect the armpit’s microbial ecosystem.
Photo Credits: Wikipedia