Wait... There's a Deodorant That You Can Eat?!
For those of you who don't like slathering gel on your armpits just to control body odor, there's an alternative — a deodorant you eat.
One such deodorant was called Otoko Kaoru — a rose and menthol-flavored Japanese gum whose name means "Man's Fragrance." Though the gum is no longer around, it's just one of several "edible deodorants" that's become a hygiene market trend in recent years.
Most of the products, like the UK-brand Deo Perfume, are marketed towards women with promises of making their skin smell like roses. But do they actually work? And if so, are they safe?
Let's take the second question first.
Sue Quinn of The Guardian's Word of Mouth blog says yes:
"Both the sweets and garlic contain compounds that can't be broken down by the body, and so are excreted through the skin. In the [Deo Perfume] sweets, the key ingredient is geraniol, a naturally occurring compound found in plants such as roses, lavender and vanilla. Munching on the sugar-free tangerine-flavoured candy will, apparently, turn you into a living perfume atomiser..."
"We all know there's a connection – often less than ambrosial – between food and body odour. Cumin and asparagus, along with garlic of course, are prime offenders. Cumin contains volatile aromatic compounds that are excreted in sweat, especially when consumed in large quantities. And asparagus produces a smelly chemical called methyl mercaptan which passes into urine as well perspiration."
Deo Perfume says its ingredients include "sugar, glucose syrup, citric acid, malic acid, geraniol, rose oil, carmine and natural tangerine flavor," so there's no crazy-named chemicals threatening to wreck your body's natural processes.
But even with food science backing up their claims, it's doubtful that these candies could ever fully replace deodorants. Armpit odor is caused by bacteria that turn the proteins and fatty acids in our otherwise odorless into musky smelling compouds.
Those bacteria will cotinue to survive and make musk even if a candy gives you rose-scented sweat.
But as a novelty, these candies could let you get sweaty with a friend in the gym and then have a pleasant time smelling each other in the locker room, while all the other guys wonder if you're just B.O. fetishists.