What Makes Body Odour Smell?
Where does body odour come from? Believe it or not, sweat is actually odourless when we first secrete it. Body odour occurs when sweat mingles with the bacteria that is normally found on our skin. The underarms are particularly susceptible to bacterial buildup, and that’s why they tend to stink so much when we sweat.
How Does Deodorant Work?
So what does deodorant do? Deodorant prevents the buildup of bacteria, which prevents the fermentation of sweat, which in turn prevents body odour. Some deodorants use alcohol to kill bacteria, while others slow down bacterial growth with other substances. Some of the best-smelling deodorants also often use fragrances to mask odour as well, although there are unscented deodorants available for people with sensitive skin.
Deodorant is applied directly onto the skin, usually to the underarms. It can be applied as often as necessary, so there should be no problem reapplying it in case of particularly heavy perspiration. Some people even apply deodorants to other parts of their body, such as their chest or groin.
What About Antiperspirants?
When we talk about antiperspirants specifically, we are referring to products that actually prevent sweating in places where sweating is undesirable. These products use aluminium to actively prevent sweat formation.
Unlike deodorants, antiperspirants usually have long periods of protection, some even lasting up to 48 hours! This means you probably don’t need to apply antiperspirant more than once per day.
Deodorant vs Antiperspirant
Whenever a product contains aluminium, it is an antiperspirant. While deodorants are usually classified as cosmetic products, most countries consider antiperspirants as drugs or medication. There are even clinical protection antiperspirants available for men and women who suffer from excessive sweating.
While deodorants are usually applied throughout the day, antiperspirants are supposed to be applied the night before, rather than in the morning – this gives the aluminium compounds time to take effect on the sweat glands. Antiperspirant can also be applied to other sweaty areas besides the armpits, but this isn’t recommended with deodorant.
Is Aluminium Safe?
The aluminium found in antiperspirants have been the target of a lot of controversy throughout the years. Some sources even claim that antiperspirant causes breast cancer because it supposedly prevents the body from purging toxins out through the sweat glands. If this were true, then this would be a serious concern for women, considering one out of eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetimes.
But there has been no convincing link between antiperspirant use and cancer. One major study comparing cancer survivors with healthy individuals showed that there was no evidence that antiperspirants increase breast cancer risk in female participants who used them.
Does Aluminium Cause Alzheimer’s?
Other internet posts claim that the aluminium in antiperspirants cause Alzheimer’s Disease. This can be traced to studies conducted in the 1960s which found high levels of aluminium in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s, but subsequent research was unable to replicate these findings.
In fact, the aluminium found in antiperspirants does not get absorbed by the body. Instead, the aluminium reacts with the water in sweat, forming an actual plug over the sweat pore, physically blocking the sweat from exiting the sweat duct.
Should I Worry About The Other Ingredients?
Some people might find that their skin is sensitive to the other ingredients in deodorants or antiperspirants. For example, some people are allergic to zirconium, potassium alum, or propylene glycol, which are common ingredients.
If you’re concerned about the ingredients found in aerosol spray deodorants then roll-on and stick deodorants are an easy alternative. Using aerosol deodorants too close to the skin can cause a cold burn known as an aerosol burn, which is a form of frostbite.
If you happen to be sensitive to the ingredients found in brand-name deodorant products, there are plenty of natural, non-toxic, fragrance-free, aluminium-free, chemical-free, and even homemade alternatives available on the market. There are also cruelty-free deodorants that forego animal testing.