Why is it difficult to find deodorant in Korea?

As the K-wave sweeps across the world, many of us envy Korean celebrities for their beautiful skin and makeup styles. There could be one more thing for us to be envious about: most Koreans smell good.

Before you thought that we’ve gone crazy, please hear us out. According to a study from the University of Bristol, there’s one special gene that causes smelly armpits, and it’s called ABCC11. Those with this gene variant tend to wet/sticky earwax (instead of dry earwax).

This study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, and according to it, the gene is the only determinant of whether your underarm smell or not.

What’s interesting is that almost all Koreans lack the ABCC11 gene. In other words, they are “genetically mutated” to have stink-free pits.

According to the study, over 97% of people who are of European or African descent have the “smelly sweat gene”, and 50-70% of people in Southern Asia, the Pacific Islands, Central Asia, Asia Minor and indigenous Americans have smelly armpits.

This could be why it’s so difficult to find deodorant, when you travel to South Korea; many travel bloggers have talked about how it’s near impossible to find deodorant in stores, and they recommend packing your own when you’re there.

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About the Author
Kristen Juliet Soh

In her 30s, Kristen Juliet Soh is the editorial director of Daily Vanity, and has spent more than a decade in the field of journalism and content s...Read More