Apple Cider Vinegar As Deodorant
As ACV kills the bacteria that creates body odor by decomposing the sweat on our body, it acts as a good deodorant. Dip a cotton ball in a 1:1 ACV and water mixture. Swab your armpits with it. Let it evaporate. Then powder it with a 1:1 cornstarch and baking soda mixture to keep dry. You can also mix it in your bath water. Add a few drops of a fragrant essential oil if you wish. Always use a diluted form and test for allergy.
Body odor. The very word makes us want to crinkle our nose or spray ourselves wet with a deodorant. But here’s a fact: it’s completely natural to have body odor—in fact, it’s impossible to not have it—and like our fingerprints, body odor, too, is unique. Of course, not all of us have a smell that’s pleasant. And that’s what is making the deodorant industry flourish. But what do you do for a pleasant odor without the ill effects of the harsh chemicals of deodorants? Choose apple cider vinegar or ACV. But before we answer why, let’s find out what causes body odor.
Blame Bacteria For Your Body Odor
In addition to the regular sweat glands, or eccrine glands, that are found all over our body, the hairy skin in our underarms, groin, and nipples houses apocrine glands and sebaceous glands. Stimulated by anxiety, emotional stress, or hormonal fluctuations, the apocrine glands in the armpit release a milky, sticky fluid, which contains proteins, fatty acids, and steroids. When this reaches the skin surface, it mixes with the odorless sweat from the eccrine glands and the continuously secreted sebum. Bacteria in the armpit—or axillary microbiome as scientists call it—especially of the species staphylococcus and corynebacterium,1 and yeast break down and transform these secretions into volatile bad-smelling acids like propionic acid. The feet, too, house similar bacteria. And diseases and certain medicines can also contribute to our body odor.2
How Do You Fight It?
There are two ways to fight body odor:
- Prevent the odor by reducing sweating, which is what anti-perspirants do. They reduce sweating by 20 to 30 percent by temporarily plugging up the apocrine glands.
- Mask the odor either by killing the bacteria responsible or using a stronger fragrance, which is what strong-smelling alcohol-based deodorants do.
Both these contain parabens as a preservative, and antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds. These are the substances a 2004 study held responsible for an increased risk of breast cancer.3 Later studies have, however, not established such a link conclusively.4 But while the jury is out on this question, to stay on the safer side, use natural products. Certain chemicals in these commercial products may also irritate your skin or cause discoloration.
ACV Helps By Killing The Bacteria
ACV, with its acidic pH of 4.5, suits our skin, which has a pH of 5.5. As an acidic skin inhibits bacterial growth, dabbing some ACV on your armpit will discourage the growth and presence of the odor-causing bacteria and yeast.5 Many studies have established that ACV, thanks to its strong vinegar content, is a good antibacterial and antifungal agent. Even 5 percent vinegar can kill many microbes by entering the bacterial cell wall.6
A Word Of Caution Though
Using ACV directly on skin could have certain side effects like skin irritation and dryness, depending on the potency of the ACV and how you react to it. Always use it in small doses after first trying it on a small patch of the skin to test for allergy. As a precaution, use ACV diluted with water, preferably in a ratio of 1:1
Use ACV To Prevent Bad Body Odor
- Dab some ACV and water on a cotton ball and run it on your armpits. This can kill the bacteria and the yeast and neutralize odors, keeping you smelling fresh all day.
- Use a cotton ball soaked in a water and ACV mixture to swab your armpits. After the area is dry, powder it with a 1:1 mixture of corn starch and baking soda to absorb any remaining moisture.
- To get rid of foot odor, dilute one cup of ACV in 1 liter water. Soak your smelly feet three times a week to keep the odor away.
- Fill ACV into your old roll-on to make your own portable, healthy deodorant.
- Rather than using fragrant soaps, add two cups of ACV to your bath water and a few drops of essential oil. This will help maintain your body’s pH balance.7
Note: While most users suggest that the vinegary smell lasts for a very short time, that is until the vinegar evaporates, if the smell is not agreeable to you at all, mix a fragrant essential oil of your choice with it.8
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Callewaert, Chris. 2015. The Science of Body Odor: Characterization and Management of the Axillary Microbiome. Ghent, Belgium: Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering.|
|2.||↑||Apocrine gland. Encyclopedia Britannica.|
|3.||↑||Darbre, P. D. “Aluminium, antiperspirants and breast cancer.” Journal of inorganic biochemistry 99, no. 9 (2005): 1912-1919.|
|4.||↑||Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer|
|5.||↑||de Castro, Ricardo Dias, Ana Carolina Loureiro Gama Mota, Edeltrudes de Oliveira Lima, André Ulisses Dantas Batista, Julyana de Araújo Oliveira, and Alessandro Leite Cavalcanti. “Use of alcohol vinegar in the inhibition of Candida spp. and its effect on the physical properties of acrylic resins.” BMC oral health 15, no. 1 (2015): 1.|
|6.||↑||Rose, Victoria. Apple Cider Vinegar: History and Folklore, Composition, Medical Research, Medicinal, Cosmetic, and Household Uses, Commercial and Home Production. IUniverse, 2006.|
|7, 8.||↑||Simone McGrath, ACV for Health and Beauty (Minnesota: Skyshore Publishing, 2015)|