Sweaty armpits stink! Or so we thought. Believe it or not, it’s not your body or your sweat that smells. The source of our body odor, all comes down to one enzyme.
A recent scientific discovery managed to pinpoint the enzyme responsible for making body odor smelly as C-T lyase. The enzyme is not smelly in and of itself but emits odor as the result of a biological reaction.
Staphylococcus hominis is a bacteria commonly found in our armpits. When we sweat, we release odorless chemicals, like C-T lyase. Our armpit bacteria consume the chemicals in our sweat, causing a biochemical change. As bacteria consume C-T lyase, it converts it into thioalcohol - which emits that offensive armpit smell.
What This Discovery Means for the Future
Hopefully, fewer smelly pits.
Recognizing the responsible chemicals opens up the potential for more effective deodorants and antiperspirants that directly combat this enzyme. If they can find a way to neutralize the chemical conversion, the enzyme, or the thioalcohol produced, it will be a serious victory in preventing sweaty armpits from stinking.
Of course, as a recent discovery, it will take some time before we discover how to eliminate the effects of C-T lyase. In the meantime, controlling body odor means learning how to reduce sweating.
What You Can do Now to Avoid Body Odor
Sweat management is the core component in effectively reducing or preventing body odor. While enzyme-blocking deodorants may be a few years off, there are effective steps you can take today to stifle armpit odor at its source.
Since we cannot stop the body from producing C-T lyase, the best alternative is to reduce sweating and remove any sweat before bacteria can break the enzyme down. Minimizing this biochemical reaction will help keep body odor under control.
Sweat-wicking shirts are an excellent solution. They use a lightweight, breathable fabric that helps to prevent sweaty armpits. As well, this breathability helps to make the armpit less hospitable to bacteria, like staphylococcus hominis. Less sweat means less C-T lyase. Less bacteria to break C-T lyase means even less body odor!
That’s not even the best part. Sweat-wicking undershirts and t-shirts go a step further in fighting armpit odors. Since even the most breathable fabric cannot fully prevent sweating, the moisture-wicking technology helps to absorb and evaporate sweat before it can start to smell.
Bacteria thrive in damp environments. So by helping to keep your pits dry, the moisture-wicking fabric further helps to reduce the proliferation of armpit bacteria. As a result, you can count on sweat proof apparel to not only combat smell but body odor as well.