This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Forget to Wear Deodorant

Experts explain the ins and outs of whether or not it's actually that bad to skip a day.

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Let's face it: It's easy to forget important steps in your morning routine when you're rushing to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and leave on time. But which hygiene habits are more important than others? For instance, can you run out of the door, forget to wear deodorant, and be just fine?

According to experts, it depends, as not wearing deodorant could result in plenty of bodily issues. That doesn't mean people still don't forget or just decide not to wear it, however. According to a 2019 survey from YouGov, nearly 40 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 say they've gone at least a month without wearing deodorant, and 31 percent of those aged 25 to 34 acknowledge doing so as well. Is that really such a big deal? Read on to find out what experts say can happen to your body when you forget to wear deodorant, and how necessary it actually is. And for more hygiene tips you should know, find out How Often You Should Really Be Changing Your Sheets.

You will end up with bad body odors.

Men wears shirt and raises arms are covered with armpits to see if he smells
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The main purpose of deodorants is to "cover odor," says Sharleen St. Surin-Lord, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visage Dermatology and Aesthetic Center. So if you're leaving without putting on deodorant, you're leaving yourself "vulnerable to body odor." And for more things that may be causing odors, make sure you're washing The Body Part Most People Forget About Every Time They Shower.

And you may end up sweating more.

Attractive woman embarrassing on her sweat stain on her gray t-shirt.Asian female Nasty smell from sweat on her armpit with gray background.healthcare and hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating concepts
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Deodorant by itself won't protect you from sweat. But many deodorants, such as Degree's Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick and Dove's Advanced Care Antiperspirant Deodorant, include antiperspirant—which does temporarily block your sweat glands from releasing moisture. If you stop wearing a deodorant with antiperspirant, "you may experience more sweat than normal," says Vanessa Thomas, a cosmetic chemist and owner of Freelance Formulations. And for areas you should be leaving alone, discover which Body Part Doctors Say You Should Never Clean.

This sweat can build up bacteria in your armpits.

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If you're not wearing deodorant or antiperspirant and you're rushing out the door, then "your sweat glands may become more active," which leads to increased secretion of sweat, says Surin-Lord. And while sweat itself can be annoying, it can also lead to bacteria build-up in your armpits, she notes. And for more useful content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

And this bacteria can give you rashes.

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The combination of moisture from sweat and subsequent bacteria can result in a variety of bacteria-related rashes, including erythrasma and impetigo. And these rashes could progress further than just some uncomfortable itchiness and pain. According to Medical News Today, untreated bacterial infections can actually lead to life-threatening complications such as sepsis and organ failure. And for more serious health problems you should know about, If This Is the First Thing You Do Every Day, Call Your Doctor.

So, experts say you should aim to put on deodorant at least once a day.

Good looking young man with a beard putting on some deodorant in front of a mirror in a bathroom
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Surin-Lord says you should be wearing deodorants, especially with antiperspirants, daily. One application is typically fine, but if you sweat more or exercise in the middle of the day, you may benefit from a reapplication. And for more hygiene advice, find out if You're Showering at the Wrong Time Every Day.

And try applying it right after you shower.

Woman in tank top with a bath towel is applying deodorant while standing in bathroom on underarm after having a shower
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Anna H. Chacon, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and member of the board of advisors for Smart Style Today, says you should apply deodorant once a day, right after showering. "This is when it works the best, particularly before perspiring," she explains. "Sweating is predominant in the daytime over nighttime, but [even if you shower in the morning], deodorant is best applied to dry skin after showering." And for more showering tips, learn How Often You Should Really Be Showering.

Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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