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Scientists Finally Know What Causes Body Odour and How To Fix It

Scientists Finally Know What Causes Body Odour and How To Fix It

Body odour is a distressing natural phenomenon and sometimes it takes a lot of work to get it under control. We all use perfumes, colognes or deodorants, and yet we can't stop wondering if our armpits smell.

Scientists have found an important element of the process through which the bacteria in our armpits produce the strongest component of the very unpleasant smell which we might rectify as body odour. They reportedly also discovered a way to fix the problem. Let’s find out more.

What role does the bacteria play?

Body Odour is created by bacteria. What happens is that the bacteria breaks the sweat down. You will notice that your body odour is less of a problem when you are not sweating. Scientists have recently found out a very small number of bacteria species which are mostly responsible for our body odour. Sweat and the smell which it gives birth to, are formed when bacteria take over the odourless elements which are secreted, and they are eventually turned into odor-bearing compounds. Scientists also did not know how to control the smell, as to stop it from forming in the first place.

Who found it?

A group of researchers at York University joined some scientists from Oxford University and revealed that they have found how exactly the body odour works and spreads. They have rectified how the Staphylococcus bacteria secrete odor-bearing compounds which make our armpits smell. They have done it in a very systematic way, so as to show the inner workings of the bodily phenomenon. They have decoded the molecule structure of a molecule which lets the naturally occurring bacteria to take in the odorless elements and turn them into a pungent smell.

What the scientist says
Dr. Gavin Thomas who is part of the study has said, “Modern deodorants act a bit like a nuclear bomb in our underarms, inhibiting or killing many of the bacteria present in order to prevent BO. This study, along with our previous research revealing that only a small number of the bacteria in our armpits are actually responsible for bad smells, could result in the development of a more guided weapon that aims to inhibit the transport protein and block the production of BO.”

Are underarms different?

Dr. Thomas insists that the skin of our armpits is a very unusual part of our body which is sensitive to bacterial reactions. “The skin of our underarms provides a unique niche for bacteria. Through the secretions of various glands that open on to the skin or into hair follicles, this environment is nutrient-rich and hosts its own microbial community, the armpit microbiome, of many species of different microbes,” Dr Thomas confirmed.

How does the deodorant work?

The bodily secretions are mainly responsible for most of our body odours. The secretions are made by glands and open up to our skin, which then reacts with the skin. This is exactly how the secretions mix with the armpit skin, which is sensitive to bacteria. It is also important to know that deodorants usually kill the bacteria, or sometimes by replacing them. As a result, the smell of the perfume or the deodorant and its elements suppress the body odour, and eventually overpowers the nauseating body odour.

Deodorant Substitutes(Highly Recommended)

6 Things You Can Use Instead Of Deodorant

1. Lemon Juice.


The citric acid in lemon juice can kill odor-causing bacteria, and there are people who swear by the lemon deodorizing method. Jennifer Palmer, chief executive of an organic skincare line, told The New York Times that she swipes her armpits with a sliced lemon on a daily basis. Just be sure not to apply lemon juice to recently shaven armpits — ouch!

2. Baking Soda

Using baking soda as a deodorant is a simple way to combat body odor without subjecting your pits to a variety of chemicals. Try mixing 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda with a little bit of water — don't dissolve it — and rub it under your arms

3. Hand Sanitizer

If you ran to work without deodorant and need something to cover your stench ASAP, then consider applying a squirt of antibacterial gel under each armpit. As Joanna Goddard noted on CupofJo.com, "Hand sanitizer will save the day. The alcohol kills the bacteria and neutralizes the smell." Sure, you'll smell like rubbing alcohol for a few minutes, but it should keep smellier smells at bay.

4. Baking Soda & Corn Starch

This is one you can concoct in your kitchen, which I highly recommend since it can get a little messy. According to Moss, "Using baking soda as a deodorant is a simple way to combat body odor without subjecting your pits to a variety of chemicals. Try mixing 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda with a little bit of water — don't dissolve it — and rub it under your arms. You can also create a baking soda and cornstarch mix to fight odor and help prevent wetness. Simply mix one part baking soda with six parts cornstarch and dust a little on your underarms."

The good thing about this method is it will get rid of smells and moisture, so it'll act more like your regular stick deodorant.

5. Essential Oil

If you aren't so excited about smelling like baking soda or hand sanitizer, then essential oils might be more your thing. Look for antibacterial varieties, such as lemongrass, thyme, lavender, and rosemary, and then go to town creating your own unique scent.

Of course, none of these are going to work as well as commercial brand deodorants, but you can reapply them all day long without worrying about any side effects. As Caryn Anderson noted on LiveStrong.com, "… using an all-natural formula is typically gentle on your skin, which means that you can apply it frequently without irritating your skin, and you can tailor the ingredients to suit your exact skin care desires."

6. Coconut Oil

Use coconut oil as a body lotion, a face wash, a hair mask, a lip balm — basically, smear it anywhere and everywhere and it's bound to be beneficial in some way.

And yes, that includes your armpits. As Stephanie Saltzman said on Allure, "The theory is that because coconut oil is an antibacterial, it will protect against odor-causing bacteria. Of course, it is very oily, so use it sparingly. But it will probably keep smells under control, while also leaving you smelling summery.

All of these natural deodorant and antiperspirant methods probably won't work as well as your favorite commercial brand deodorant. But whether you're in a bind, or simply want to go the natural route, they are definitely worth a try.