Have you ever been at a party or at the club, having the time of your life and you'll suddenly realize that your armpits are sweaty? Or that you smell? This could also happen in the middle of a meeting or a date. Body odour is a distressing natural phenomenon and sometimes it takes a lot of work to get it under control. We all use perfumes, colognes or deodorants, and yet we can't stop wondering if our armpits smell.
Scientists have found an important element of the process through which the bacteria in our armpits produce the strongest component of the very unpleasant smell which we might rectify as body odour. They reportedly also discovered a way to fix the problem. Let’s find out more.
1What role does the bacteria play?
Body Odour is created by bacteria. What happens is that the bacteria breaks the sweat down. You will notice that your body odour is less of a problem when you are not sweating. Scientists have recently found out a very small number of bacteria species which are mostly responsible for our body odour. Sweat and the smell which it gives birth to, are formed when bacteria take over the odourless elements which are secreted, and they are eventually turned into odor-bearing compounds. Scientists also did not know how to control the smell, as to stop it from forming in the first place.
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2Who found it?
A group of researchers at York University joined some scientists from Oxford University and revealed that they have found how exactly the body odour works and spreads. They have rectified how the Staphylococcus bacteria secrete odor-bearing compounds which make our armpits smell. They have done it in a very systematic way, so as to show the inner workings of the bodily phenomenon. They have decoded the molecule structure of a molecule which lets the naturally occurring bacteria to take in the odorless elements and turn them into a pungent smell.
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3What the scientist says
Dr. Gavin Thomas who is part of the study has said, “Modern deodorants act a bit like a nuclear bomb in our underarms, inhibiting or killing many of the bacteria present in order to prevent BO. This study, along with our previous research revealing that only a small number of the bacteria in our armpits are actually responsible for bad smells, could result in the development of a more guided weapon that aims to inhibit the transport protein and block the production of BO.”
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4Are underarms different?
Dr. Thomas insists that the skin of our armpits is a very unusual part of our body which is sensitive to bacterial reactions. “The skin of our underarms provides a unique niche for bacteria. Through the secretions of various glands that open on to the skin or into hair follicles, this environment is nutrient-rich and hosts its own microbial community, the armpit microbiome, of many species of different microbes,” Dr Thomas confirmed.
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5How does the deodorant work?
The bodily secretions are mainly responsible for most of our body odours. The secretions are made by glands and open up to our skin, which then reacts with the skin. This is exactly how the secretions mix with the armpit skin, which is sensitive to bacteria. It is also important to know that deodorants usually kill the bacteria, or sometimes by replacing them. As a result, the smell of the perfume or the deodorant and its elements suppress the body odour, and eventually overpowers the nauseating body odour.
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