If you’re an antiperspirant user, you probably slather on the stuff in order to wipe out odor-causing bacteria. A new study suggests that your methods work. But they also make your underarms a more diverse place to be.
The use of antiperspirants and deodorant alter the skin microbiome, according to a new open-access study published in the journal PeerJ on Tuesday (Feb. 2). Antiperspirants reduce the total number of bacteria dramatically, but seem to leave a more diverse group of survivors than what is seen on the underarms of people who use just deodorant or nothing at all.
There’s no known health effect of this alteration. Antiperspirants and deodorants have been subject to suspicion for causing cancer, but the National Cancer Institute has found no evidence of a link. Nor have studies backed up speculation of a link between the aluminum in antiperspirants and Alzheimer’s, another popular concern.