- A bacterial transplant from a close relative can help stop people's body odour
- By outnumbering smelly bacteria, the nicer smelling ones are able to take over
- Scientists are trying to produce a universal recipe that anyone could use
For some unfortunate people, even the strongest deodorant isn't enough to mask their body odour.
But help may be at hand, as researchers say that splashing on someone else's sweat could help reduce the smell.
The bizarre technique works by replacing smelly armpit bacteria with less odorous microbes.
Scientists at the University of California have found that transferring armpit bacteria from a non-smelly relative can help stop stinking armpits (stock photo)
OTHER WAY TO BATTLE BODY ODOUR
There are several ways to make your sweat less odourous:
- Stop eating food high in fat and oil
- Eat more vegetables
- Wear good quality clothes - avoid Polyester at all costs
- Shave your armpits
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego say the technique works best when the sweat is taken from a close relative.
The idea came to Dr Chris Callewaert, lead author of the study, when he met a pair of identical twins.
They were the same in every way except one of them had terrible body odour.
This puzzled the researcher as they had the same hygiene routine and as they were identical, exactly the same genes.
Dr Callewaert suspected that the bacteria under the smelly twin's armpits were responsible for his undesirable scent.
To test his theory, he splashed some of the sweat from the nice-smelling twin onto the armpits of the smellier one.
The nice smelling twin was told not to wash for four days so he had as many bacteria as possible in his armpits.
Meanwhile, the smelly twin scrubbed using antibacterial soap so he had as few bacteria as possible.
To his amazement, when Dr Callewaert splashed the nice-smelling twin's sweat onto to smelly twin, the man's body odour problem rapidly disappeared.
By outnumbering the smelly bacteria, the nicer smelling ones were able to take over.
'The effects have persisted for over a year now,' Dr Callewaert told New Scientist.
'We're very happy with that.'
The experiment was repeated with 17 other pairs of people.
Dr Callewaert and his team are trying to cultivate their own recipe of bacteria which could be transferred to odorous people without them asking their relatives for help (stock image)
WHAT DID THEY DO?
The experiment was first carried out on identical twins - one with body odour and the other without.
Dr Callewaert told the twin that didn't smell not to wash for four days.
He did this to make sure there were as many bacteria as possible in his armpit.
The smelly twin used antibacterial soap for four days - so he had as few bacteria as possible.
Dr Callewaert collected the nicer-smelling twin's bacteria-covered skin and stuck it under the armpit of the smelly one.
The man's odour problem rapidly disappeared.
Dr Callewaert and his colleagues did this with 18 pairs and 16 saw improvements within a month.
In all cases, one person had a BO problem and the other was a close relative with fresher smelling armpits who was able to donate bacteria.
A 'trained odour panel' of eight people judged the offensiveness of peoples' armpits.
The team is now trying to cultivate its own universal bacteria instead of using the ones in the sweat from relatives.
This means that anyone could use the bacterial brew without having to go through the embarrassment of asking nicer-smelling relatives.
'It's still very experimental, but I'm sure it can work,' said Dr Callewaert, who presented his research at the Karolinska Dermatology Symposium in Stockholm last month.
If you need a quick fix to your malodorous pits, Dr Callewaert said there are various ways you can naturally improve your scent.
He recommended eating less fast food which is typically high in fat and oil. Instead, we should be eating more vegetables.
Shaving your underarms can also help, as can wearing clothes made of good quality fabric - polyester is to be avoided at all costs.
Unfortunately, washing clothes regularly won't actually help the problem - it just spreads the bacteria around your washing machine.
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