|

It’s a wash

Last updated: January 2011

“We’re not saying that our new pheromone-enhanced body wash will cause you to be attacked by hordes of sex-crazed females,” says a website for Dial for Men Magnetic Body Wash. “But if that is your endgame, you should consider it a piece of the equation not to be ignored.” Dial claims the $5.50 shower gel is “attraction enhancing” and “pheromone infused.” But can a body wash really “improve your social life”?

Unlikely. In the ingredients list is a steroid called androstadienone, found in human sweat. But there’s little convincing evidence that it is a pheromone or that such human sexual attractants even exist.

An animated singing molecule on the product’s website says that when a woman senses a man’s pheromones through the vomeronasal organ in her nose, her body responds by releasing catecholamine, triggering dopamine, which makes her more receptive to male charms.

“Hogwash,” says Charles J. Wysocki, a behavioral neuroscientist and member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit, independent research center in Philadelphia. He maintains that humans don’t have a functioning vomeronasal organ. The few studies of androstadienone that do show an effect have been small and poorly designed, and use concentrations of the compound that are as much as a million times higher than what occurs naturally. And women might have higher natural levels of androstadienone than men, Wysocki says.

Bottom line. There’s little evidence to suggest that Magnetic Body Wash will help attract the opposite sex, but “placebos go a long way,” Wysocki says. “If it builds self-confidence, then so be it.”

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

REFRIGERATOR REVIEWS
Four built-in refrigerators that are worth the moneyVideo These coolers start at $7,600 but fared very good in our performance tests.
CAR SEAT REVIEWS
Evenflo car seat uses tech to fight child heatstroke risk The Advanced Embrace DLX warns if a child unbuckles the harness, too.
AIR CONDITIONER REVIEWS
Save big: 5 products on deep discount in AugustVideo Look for seasonal deals air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and more.
AMERICA'S ANTIBIOTIC CRISIS
Special report: How your hospital can make you sickVideo Find out which hospitals avoid MRSA, C.diff, and other infections.
Car insurance
CAR INSURANCE REVIEWS
Investigation: The truth about car insurance revealed We studied 2 billion price quotes to understand the factors that raise rates.
TELECOM SERVICE REVIEWS
You're paying too much on cable-box rental fees Pay-TV companies rake in nearly $20 billion annually on the boxes.
Consumer Reports
ABOUT CONSUMER REPORTS
Interested in joining the Consumer Reports Board Get details on applying for service on our board of directors.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more