Armpit Malodor: Who Are You Wearing?


According to an article pending publication in Experimental Dermatology, the underarm microbiome plays a major role in malodor formation. And it's not just the bacteria on the epidermis of the armpit, but those living in the sweat glands, pores and hair follicles.

To treat this malodor, researchers from Ghent University, in Belgium, and the University of California propose replacing the existing malodor-causing microbiome via bacterial transplantation, or by directly applying probiotics and/or non-odor causing bacteria to resolve the condition.

In relation to this study, a report from Motherboard explained that DNA sequencing helped the researchers to identify the bacterial offenders. Staphylococcus epidermidis was associated with neutral armpit scent, whereas Corynebacterium caused unpleasant odor. To remove malodor, it was a matter of transplanting the right microbes.

Co-author Chris Callewaert reportedly conducted a successful armpit bacteria transplant in 2013 with a pair of identical twins. One twin suffered from more severe body odor than the other, so good bacteria was deposited on his pits from his brother’s. The resulting odor was found to improve and remain that way.

Bacterial transplants could be a entirely new approach to antiperspirant and deodorant formulating. They even have implications for an obsessed fan base: imagine the phrase "Who are you wearing?" extending beyond the world of red carpet premieres. 

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