Towards a bacterial treatment for armpit malodour

Exp Dermatol. 2017 May;26(5):388-391. doi: 10.1111/exd.13259. Epub 2017 Feb 2.


Axillary malodour is a frustrating condition for many people. It can lead to significant discomforts and various psychological effects. The underarm microbiome plays a major role in axillary malodour formation. Not only the bacteria on the epidermis, but also and especially those living in the sweat glands, sweat pores and hair follicles play a pivotal role in malodour development. To treat underarm malodour, this viewpoint article envisions a bacterial treatment. Replacing the autochthonous malodour-causing microbiome with a non-odour-causing microbiome, through an armpit bacterial transplantation or direct application of probiotics/non-odour-causing bacteria, could resolve the condition. Selective steering of the microbiome with prebiotics, biochemicals or plant extracts can likewise greatly help in improving the underarm odour. Elimination/inhibition of the "bad bugs" and application/stimulation of the "good bugs" will be part of the future treatment for axillary body odour.

Keywords: armpit; body odour; microbiome; probiotics; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiperspirants / pharmacology
  • Axilla / microbiology*
  • Deodorants / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Microbiota / drug effects
  • Odorants / prevention & control*
  • Probiotics*


  • Antiperspirants
  • Deodorants