Vitality

New Perfume Smells Better The More You Sweat It Out: A Body Odor Solution?

Woman smelling perfume
A spritz of this new fragrance can make all the difference when it comes to perspiration. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Summer is just around the corner. That means as people hit the gym to get their bodies ready, they'll also be releasing an inevitable body odor. However, the foul-smelling locker room days could be limited with a spritz of a new perfume created by scientists at Queen’s University Belfast. According to a recent study published in the journal Chemical Communications, the combination of a raw fragrance and ionic liquid is able to produce a perfume that smells better the more you sweat.

When it comes to body odor, sweat isn’t what makes you smell. The apocrine glands in the armpits release a sweat rich in proteins and lipids which bacteria on the skin feed on, says the Mayo Clinic. It is the very odor from the bacteria feeding on the apocrine glands that has the ability to produce unbearable smells. Triggers such as exercise and strong emotions can cause these glands to secrete sweat, especially in warm, damp conditions. This makes the armpit the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in and create those nose-pinching odors. 

So, Dr. Nimal Gunaratne, project leader from the Queen's University Belfast Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre and his colleagues decided to find out if the bacteria-induced smell could be masked no matter how much you sweat. The perfume they developed involved attaching a raw fragrance onto an ionic liquid — salt in liquid form, which has no smell. The “perfume ionic liquid” releases its aroma when it comes into contact with water — or sweat, allowing more of the perfume’s scent to be released onto the person’s skin. The researchers found the more water that was added, the stronger the smell of the fragrance.

Moreover, the perfume possesses the ability to remove the bad odors that come from the sweat through “thiol” compounds. These compounds are responsible for the malodor of sweat. They become attracted to the ionic liquid by attaching themselves it, and as a result, losing their potency.

The researchers believe this breakthrough could have endless commercial possibilities, such as developing products in a new way for personal care. Currently, the researchers are working with a perfume development company to go through product ideas that could eventually be sold in stores. "This is an exciting breakthrough that uses newly-discovered ionic liquid systems to release material in a controlled manner,” said Gunaratne, in the press release. "Not only does it have great commercial potential, and could be used in perfumes and cosmetic creams, but it could also be used in other areas of science, such as the slow release of certain substances of interest.”

This new fragrance could also have the potential to help three percent of the global population with hyperhidrosis — sweating excessively and unpredictably. Patients with hyperhidrosis tend to sweat even in cool temperatures. The breakthrough may become a treatment that prevents the stimulation of sweat glands for these patients.

Source: Gunaratne NHQ, Nockemann P, Seddon KR. Pro-fragrant ionic liquids with stable hemiacetal motifs: water-triggered release of fragrances. Chem. Commun. 2015.

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