We’ve all been there. You might be coming in from your daily morning commute, or you may have been out on a run when you bump into a colleague (or worse, your crush).
Suddenly, you get all self-conscious. Are your pit stains showing? Is your hair a mess? And *gasp,* is that rank smell emanating from YOUR underarms?
Except, of course, if you don’t have body odor at all.
Wait, what? You heard me. There are actually a few lucky ducks in the world who don’t even need deodorant.
Now, how is this possible?
According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology a few years back, it all has to do with a gene called ABCC11. This gene determines whether you produce wet or dry earwax and if you qualify as the latter, your armpits also lack the chemical that bacteria feed on, which causes underarm odor.
But don’t bin your deodorant just yet. (Have mercy on your spouse and on your officemates.) The bad news is that only 2% of the population produces dry earwax. (High-five if you’ve just scratched your ear wax out and discovered that you’re one of them.)
Okay, so what about the other 98%? Do we still keep lathering on the stuff even if it’s potentially harmful, possibly even cancerous? Well, no. There are some healthier alternatives, as I’m pleased to report.
One is changing your diet. Researchers at Sydney’s Macquarie University conducted a study identifying how 43 male participants smelled in relation to their diet.
The men were told to shower with water on the first day, don a new t-shirt the following morning and exercise for at least one hour without washing up afterwards. Nine lucky (!) women were then instructed to smell the shirts.
And the findings? Men who ate mostly fruit and vegetables smelled the best, with women describing their sweat as “sweet” and “floral.” (Maybe some of them ate flowers too, eh?) The guys on a high-protein diet of meat, soy, and eggs also gave off an inoffensive smell, but the stinky ones ate plenty of carbohydrates. (Noooooo!!!! Does this mean we should cut down on rice???)
You can also opt to make your own deodorant at home. This way, you get to control what goes into your antiperspirant, thus reducing the amount of toxins your body takes in. Baking soda is wonderful for reducing odors, as is lemon juice. You can check out our recipe for homemade deodorant right here.
So, there you have it. If you didn’t hit the armpit sweat genetic lottery, you can stave off the toxicity of chemical deodorants AND stay fresh by eating more fruits and veggies, cutting down on carbs (maybe Sen. Cynthia Villar was on to something) and making your own antiperspirant.
And you know, showering every day.