About this Article
Written by: Gabriel Rocha
Written on: May 4th, 2016
Tags: health & medicine, lifestyle, chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, electrical engineeringm, civil engineering, energy & sustainability, environmental engineering, food & drink, water
Thumbnail by: askmen/askmen
About the Author
Gabe Rocha is a senior currently studying Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis in Biochemical Engineering. He currently researches for Dr. Keyue Shen, studying the cancer microenvironment and its role in metastasis. His interests include pathology and biochemistry.
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Volume XVII Issue II > Dealing With Our Bacterial Neighbors: Engineering Deodorants and Antiperspirants to Prevent Malodor
This paper investigates the physiological production of sweat, and how humans have developed strategies involving deodorants and antiperspirants to prevent the bacteria in our body from producing foul-odor chemicals. Well-known mechanisms of sweat production, from eccrine and apocrine glands, are described to introduce the topic. Biochemical explanations of the four main production pathways axillary bacteria undergo to transform odorless sweat into pungent aromatic compounds are described. This paper also looks into how humans first started battling these stinky bacteria, and the chemical and physical design development deodorants and antiperspirants have gone through. Furthermore, an insight as to where the future of deodorants and antiperspirants lie is also provided with some prospective researches and novel ideas.


Although hard to imagine, for most of human history, people did very little to try and mask the funky odors we naturally produce. There was simply not enough knowledge as to what exactly made us smell bad, and why we sweat so much in certain places. It was not until the late 1800's, when enough microbial research had been done on the human body that the first cosmetic deodorant and antiperspirant were released. Biologists, genetic engineers, and chemical engineers had to partner to develop safe pharmaceutical products to finally hide this smell that is considered embarrassing by many today. But to understand how we have been able to engineer ways to mask malodor, we must first understand where the smell comes from in the first place.