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So THAT'S Why Some People Don't Need To Use Deodorant

Are you one of the lucky few?
06/13/2017 03:32pm ET | Updated June 15, 2017
John Sommer via Getty Images
If you have a certain gene, you may be able to stop using deodorant. 

With rising temperatures and long summer days on the way, most of us are trying to figure out the best way to curb heavy sweating and body odor.

But if you’re one of the lucky few who possess a gene called ABCC11, you don’t even have to worry about deodorant.

According to the website LiveScience, the presence of the gene means that your armpits lack a chemical that, when combined with sweat, bacteria feeds on to produce smelly body odor.

In January 2013, Ian Day, a genetic epidemiologist at the University of Bristol and Santiago Rodriguez, PhD and senior lecturer in population and molecular genetics at Bristol Genetic Epidemiology Laboratories, co-authored a study on deodorant after surveying 6,495 women. The two found that 2 percent of participants (117 women) had the ABCC11 gene. Of those 117 women, 78 percent of them still wore deodorant even when they didn’t have to.

Though Day and Rodriguez’ study didn’t look at males, Day told LiveScience he thinks their research can be generalized. He also estimated in the interview that two percent of Europeans and nearly all East Asians and Koreans have the gene.

“These findings have some potential for using genetics in the choice of personal hygiene products,” Rodriguez said in a statement about the study. “A simple gene test might strengthen self-awareness and save some unnecessary purchases and chemical exposures for non-odor producers.”

For those of us who unfortunately still tend to sweat a lot and produce body odor, try these helpful tips:

  1. Try an Rx-strength antiperspirant, which is particularly helpful for people who sweat a lot in the underarms, palms of hands or soles of their feet.

  2. Make sure to apply your antiperspirant at night, as it will help plug your sweat ducts better at that time, rather than in the morning.

  3. Try Botox injections, which block the signals that turn on the body’s sweat glands at the injection spot.

Clarification: Language has been amended for consistency, to indicate that presence of the gene is responsible for lack of body odor, which was misstated as the opposite in one instance.

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