How do you know if you really need deodorant? (Photo: Smithsonian)
LIke many women of Chinese descent, I’ve never had to wear deodorant in my life. My non-Asian friends always give me a second look when I tell them this tidbit, but they may be even more surprised to learn that there’s a (slim) chance they don’t need deodorant either. A new study conducted at the University of Bristol has found that two percent of women “carry a rare version of a particular gene (ABCC11), which means they don’t produce any under-arm odor.”
What’s fascinating is that the researchers go on to note that over 75 percent of the study’s participants who tested positive for the odorless gene still use deodorant on a regular basis. The reasoning goes that these ladies are most likely just following cultural norms and using a product that’s been framed by advertisers as a hygiene essential on par with, say, toothpaste and shampoo. ”This contrasts with the situation in North East Asia, where most people do not need to use deodorant and they don’t,” the study notes.
What’s more, the study also found that “people who carry this rare genetic variant are also more likely to have dry (rather than sticky) ear wax and that checking ear wax is a good indicator of whether or not a person produces under-arm odor.”
Now you may ask yourself: is it time to grab a Q-tip and put away that stick of Secret?
Another surprising anti-sweat solution: Botox under your arms. One intrepid Birchbox staffer actually tried it!