And it doesn’t stop there as researchers believe this disruption of your natural microbiome can have some serious consequences for youroverall health.
Professor Julie Horvath from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences told Time that to examine what was living on her skin, she and her colleagues swabbed their armpits and bellybuttons and the findings were surprising.
“My plates were blank,” she said, about the dishes on which her samples were stored. “I was a little bit freaked out, because I’m supposed to have microbes on my body.”
Horvath suspected her antiperspirant might be the cause of the clean plates. “If I wear it in my armpits and it’s influencing whether I have bellybutton microbes, maybe it’s getting on other parts of my body and wiping out some of the life there, too,” she said.
To find out if deodorant and antiperspirant were linked to different patterns of bacterial growth she and her team decided to take a closer look at armpit bacteria.
For the purpose of the study 17 people swabbed their underarms every day for eight days. The group was spilt into three categories: those who used antiperspirant, those who wore deodorant and those who avoided underarm products altogether.
On day one of the study, everyone followed their usual routine. While on days two to six participants were asked to take a break from products and for the final two days of the trial everyone used antiperspirant.
At the beginning, researchers noted that antiperspirant users had less microbes and deodorant wearers had more, than people who didn’t use any products.
But once the participants quit using products for a few days, everyone had similar levels of bacteria. Interestingly, when everyone used an antiperspirant for the final two days, underarm bacteria was non-existent.
The researchers also noted that the types of bacteria found in the samples varied based on the different products used. “Antiperspirant wearers have a lot more variation of the microbes on their skin than a deodorant wearer,” Horvath says.
“From previous studies, we know that having a variety of bacteria is important and probably healthier but there’s much more that we need to learn.”
So what does Horvath use now? At the end of the study she swapped her clinical strength antiperspirant for natural products that don’t contain aluminium.
Ready to ditch your deodorant? Check out our guide to natural beauty products.