Are Deodorants Necessary?

According to a study, 78 per cent of people who use deodorants don’t need them
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Tagged Under | deodrants | ABCC11 | exposure
odor
The ABCC11 gene is known to have a strong link to underarm odour.

Using deodrants on a regular basis might be increasingly considered a cultural norm, but according to a new research study, as many as 78 per cent of those who use them on all or most days need not do so at all. Researchers have found that these individuals are carriers of a version of a particular gene named ABCC11, which means they don’t produce any underarm odour.

The ABCC11 gene is known to have a strong link to underarm odour. Researches in the past have shown that the production of odour depends on the existence of an active ABCC11 gene. However, the ABCC11 gene is known to be inactive in some people. The new research, published in Journal of Investigative Dermatology, sought to assess the scale of deodorant usage in relation to the geneotype. Carried out on a sample of 6,495 women who were part of a wider study at University of Bristol, it was found that 78 per cent of people who do not produce odour still use deodorants regularly. Around 5 per cent of people who produce odour do not use deodorant, and around a fifth of those who don’t produce an odour do not use deodorant. Among the 6,495 in the sample, around two per cent, or 117 women, were found to be carriers of the gene.

The study also explored another important aspect. Apart from checking deodorant usage in relation to the genotype, the researchers sought to ascertain the strength of the link between the ABCC11 gene and body odour. They looked into various factors like age, background and household hygiene, but found that the influence of the ABCC11 gene was the strongest.

According to the authors, there are large number of individuals who are unnecessarily purchasing and exposing themselves to chemicals. ‘These individuals could avoid the chemical exposure, dermatological or other health risks, and cost without social disadvantage,’ the authors write in the paper. They state that carriers of the ABCC11 gene tend to have dry, as opposed to sticky, ear wax. Thus, the researchers claim, all one needs do is check one’s ear wax before buying a deodorant.