What exactly is edible deodorant and can it actually work?
Eat Your Way to Flowery Freshness?
A new candy claims to tackle body odor from the inside out. “Science and nature have come together to make a functional food that leaves your skin with a beautiful rose fragrance,” reads the website for Deo Perfume Candy, which is currently sold on Amazon in the U.S.
The rose-flavored sweets contain geraniol, an alcohol found in rose oil that “aromatizes” as it evaporates through the skin, according to Deo makerBeneo, based in Belgium.
Skeptics Weigh In
But smell scientists are skeptical about Deo’s deodorizing effects.
“I think we can probably agree that if you eat food with a lot of aromatic spice, like garlic and curry, eventually it will work its way into your sweat and influence the way you smell,” said George Preti, a chemist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “But no one has actually demonstrated that.”
Preti said “the wonderful smell known as body odor” depends on the chemical composition of a person’s skin secretions and the type of bacteria feeding on them.
“Skin glands produce food for the bugs,” he said, adding that the type of bacteria depends on the amount of oxygen and moisture in the area. “Body odor is different for different parts of your body. Your underarms smell different from your crotch, and your crotch smells different from your feet.”
Changing the Composition Of Skin Secretions
In theory, changing the composition of skin secretions by eating aromatic spices could change a person’s body odor, according to Preti.
“But we just don’t know,” he said, explaining that the only way to test the theory would be a placebo-controlled trial with Deo and a candy without geraniol. “Then after X number of days you could bring in blind assessors — odor judges, if you will — to smell people’s t-shirts and tell you which ones smell nicer.”
Deo is just one example of a nutricosmetic, an edible product that purports to change the way you look or smell from the depths of your bowels.
“Certainly if an aromatic spice gets on your skin, it can persist for quite some time,” said Preti, lamenting the smell of garlic that lingers on fingers long after a clove has been chopped. “But whether eating something can make it exude through your pours, like I said, it’s just never been demonstrated.”