Deodorant, Antiperspirant May Alter Underarm Bacteria

First Posted: Feb 04, 2016 12:55 AM EST

Antiperspirant and deodorant may help cover up body order, but they can alter your body's bacteria, according to a recent study.

Researchers at North Carolina State University, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Central University, Rutgers University and Duke University examined 17 study participants--three men and four women who used antiperspirant products, three men and two women who used deodorant and three men and two women who used neither product.

Swabs were taken for eight days under the participants' arms, with participants following normal hygiene on the first day, days two through six, no deodorant or antiperspirant was used, and the last two days, all participants used antiperspirant.

Findings showed that antiperspirant users had fewer microbes than deodorant users who had more microbes when compared to those who did not use any product, based off of the first day's samples. However, as the study progressed, findings showed that the bacterial amounts were comparable.

"Using antiperspirant and deodorant completely rearranges the microbial ecosystem of your skin - what's living on us and in what amounts," said Julie Horvath, head of the genomics and microbiology research laboratory at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. "And we have no idea what effect, if any, that has on our skin and on our health. Is it beneficial? Is it detrimental? We really don't know at this point. Those are questions that we're potentially interested in exploring."

The study is published PeerJ

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