I may have confessed this before but I can’t remember when or even if I actually did, so apologies if you heard this story before…
The subject of body odor came up recently when my son was looking through my medicine cabinets because he forgot his deodorant and was hunting for mine. (We’re all about sharing is caring around here.)
I reminded him that I have NEVER used deodorant because I don’t need it; never did, and all that proves is that he NEVER listens to me because I know I’ve shared that with him a million times. (The absent-minded professor cliche and all that entails is a real thing.)
I have zero body odor.
I mean, I smell GOOD thanks to Chanel, but even if I’ve been working out at the gym or at the end of an all day hike, I never small bad. Most of the time I don’t even sweat, but if I do, I still don’t smell bad. It’s true.
I remember back when all the grown up changes were happening to my body and my mom gave me THE TALK and we went shopping for THE THINGS. She told me it was also time to use deodorant and we picked out a really cool one (mother-daughter fun times) along with presents for reaching a milestone (and you can see where I acquired my love for shopping!)
I dutifully added deodorant to my daily self care routine but I slowly realized that I didn’t need it. It made no difference to my body’s odors. I just didn’t have one, nor did I perspire. When I told my mom and had her SMELL me at random times, she was surprised but agreed, and as a nurse, her professional response to me was that I was a medical miracle.
I never purchased nor used another deodorant, not even when I was pregnant and my body was going through a million hormonal surges.
Since there was no Google, there was nowhere to research this unusual phenomenon. I wish my mom was here now so I could tell her what I’ve learned about the genetic factors that cause someone NOT to emanate an unpleasant body odor.
In fact, the gene wasn’t even discovered until the 2000s. It also has something to do with having dry as opposed to wet ear wax but that’s too gross for me to think about.
You were right, Mom! I really am a medical miracle!
The ABCC11 protein is important in transporting small molecules across membranes in secretory cells. Mutations in this gene will lead to dryer earwax and decreased body odor. Mutations in the ABCC11 gene may also lead to a decreased risk of breast cancer.
Two percent of people carry an unusual form of a specific gene (ABCC11) that means their armpits never smell.
What I find really interesting is that East Asian and Native American people were already known to have a form of the ABCC11 gene compared with other ethnicities, and as far as I know, I am neither of those. I haven’t done any genetic testing on myself to be sure, but I kinda doubt it.
My DNA is pretty much 100% Jewish princess.
I also know that I didn’t pass that genetic anomaly to my son because he definitely NEEDS deodorant. Most definitely, which is why he was searching in my bathroom. (Sorry, Angel Boy!)
The finding came from research involving 6,495 women who were enrolled in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol, England and was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
In the study, 117 (2%) of the subjects were lucky enough to carry this gene that allowed them to never have to worry about using deodorant.
People with the ABCC11 non-functioning gene variant have dry earwax and little or no body odor. People with a functioning ABCC11 gene usually have wet earwax and body odor. I didn’t know there was a connection, did you?
ABCC11 is required for the transport of lipophilic substances, bile acids, conjugated steroids, and – most importantly – the component found in apocrine sweat and earwax, which results in odor and wet earwax. Again, gross…
The transporter doesn’t work for people who have loss-of-function genetic variants and thus doesn’t transfer the odor-causing lipids into their armpits.
One day I might do my DNA profile to try and figure out how I acquired this genetic deviation, but for now, I will just be happy to be an enchanted mutant princess who smells really, really good, like a rose!