New research shows that more than 75 per cent of people with a particular version of a gene don't produce under-arm odour but use deodorant anyway.
The study was based on a sample of 6,495 women who are part of the wider Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol. The researchers found that about two per cent (117 out of 6,495) of mothers carry a rare version of a particular gene (ABCC11), which means they don't produce any under-arm odour.
While about 5 per cent of people who produce an odour do not use deodorant, more than a fifth (26 out of 117) of those who don't produce an odour do not use deodorant, a statistically highly significant difference. However, 78 per cent of people who do not produce odour, still use deodorant on all or most days.
Speaking about the novel finding, published today in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the lead author Professor Ian Day said:
'An important finding of this study relates to those individuals who, according to their genotype, do not produce under-arm odour. One quarter of these individuals must consciously or subconsciously recognise that they do not produce odour and do not use deodorant, whereas most odour producers do use deodorant. However, three quarters of those who do not produce an odour regularly use deodorants; we believe that these people simply follow socio-cultural norms. This contrasts with the situation in North East Asia, where most people do not need to use deodorant and they don't.'
The first author of the paper, Dr Santiago Rodriguez added:
'These findings have some potential for using genetics in the choice of personal hygiene products. A simple gene test might strengthen self-awareness and save some unnecessary purchases and chemical exposures for non-odour producers.'