🎓 Deodorants & Antiperspirants


Ancient Egyptians were known to apply fragrance to mask body odor, and used used perfumed oils such as cinnamon and citrus. The Romans would use Alum stone (potassium alum) for deodorizing purposes. Over time, these solutions evolved into complex chemical compounds containing aluminum and zirconium salts which help reducing sweating (in antiperspirants).

:bulb: Removing underarm hair helps reduce odors by limiting the surface area for bacteria to grow.

Sweating regulates body temperature and removes toxins and by-products from the body. We have several million sweat glands distributed over our body. Sweat glands can be classified into two different types: Eccrine glands and Apocrine glands.

Eccrine glands:

  • Function continuously, main purpose is to control body temperature and electrolyte balance
  • Found all over the body, start working from birth


Apocrine glands:

  • Limited to certain body parts: airmpit, anus, breast
  • Exist at birth, but become functional at puberty
  • Triggered by emotions like excitement, anger, fear

:bulb: Sweat by itself is odorless. Odor develops due to the by-products created when bacteria break down chemicals in sweat.

Deodorant: Reduces or masks body odor through antibacterial or reodorization. Does not have any therapeutic effect and is considered a cosmetic in the US.

Antiperspirant: Reduces underarm wetness by limiting body transpiration. Because they inhibit perspiration, and therefore affect the structure and function of the body, they are classified as “over the counter” drugs in the US.

Hyperhidrosis is a condition where excessive sweating occurs. Special prescription antiperspirants with high doses of aluminum chloride may be prescribed to treat this condition. In 2004 the FDA approved Botox to treat severe underarm sweating.

Skin irritation is a commonly reported side effect of using deodorants, often due to applying the product to broken skin caused by shaving. As with most cosmetic products, the majority of allergic reactions are due to fragrance. Antiperspirants have a tendency to stain clothing.

:bulb: Most experts agree that use of antiperspirants will not lead to body overheating, as underarm sweat is mostly apocrine sweat which is triggered by emotional arousal than eccrine sweating, which regulates body temperature.

Breast Cancer Concerns
The National Cancer Institute & American Cancer Society agree there has been no credible scientific evidence to support the claim that aluminum in deodorants may lead to breast cancer:

As for concerns about not being able to sweat out toxins due to antiperspirant use, see above… most sweating comes from eccrine glands which are located all over the body. While our underarms do sweat, they are not the workhorse for removing toxins and regulating body temperature. Underarm sweat is mostly an emotional

:bulb: Before having a mammogram you may be asked to stop using antiperspirant when you go for your exam. Because aluminum is a metal ion, it can show up on a mammogram as a microcalcification which is one of the features doctors look for when examining possible signs of cancer.

Alzheimer’s Concerns
There appears to be a link between Aluminum accumulation in the brain and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), though no one is sure how the accumulation develops.

Some speculate the disease is genetic, while others speculate it’s due to a chronic exposure through canned goods and beverages, deodorant, treated drinking water, cookware, etc., but there have been no studies which have demonstrated how the Aluminum actually accumulates in the brain. People who have genetic markers for AD may wish to limit their exposure to Aluminum.


Natural Deodorants
There is no official designation for what makes a deodorant natural, it’s up to the consumer to decide what ingredients they do or do not want to use for odor or sweat control. However, most contain one of the following:

Baking Soda - Neutralizes odors but can be irritating to pH sensitive skin
Essential Oils - Tea tree, rosemary. Exhibit anti-bacterial properties but may not be effective for everyone
Mineral Salts - Contain aluminum, which some people may want to avoid
Hops Extract - Anti-bacterial
Witch Hazel - Anti-bacterial, may need to be combined with other ingredients
Alcohol - The most effective anti-bacterial

Poll: Vote for your favorite Natural Deodorant Active Ingredient
Questionnaire: Natural Deodorant Requirements

So informative. Two kinds of sweat, who knew? I have often wondered why some people sweat and there’s barely a noticeable smell while others sweat leaving you practically nauseous.
I wonder if the 5 Day Pads were just alcohol like you use @John? We need more comparison commercials like that one.


I was wondering the same thing. Alcohol-based is my favorite. You might have to re-apply in some instances, but if it smells nice it’s kind of a mood-enhancing pick-me-up.


wow that’s interesting and very useful information.


Sweet! If you like posts or replies, consider just hitting the :heart: button instead of brief “thank you” replies, this helps the system know which content is good, glad you liked it :slight_smile:.


Thanks for all the info.


Sweet! If you like posts or replies, consider just hitting the :heart: button instead of brief “thank you” replies, this helps the system know which content is good, glad you liked it :slight_smile:.


@John… That’s some collection! Thanks for putting it together, will probably read it in clumps…


I am a sweater :sweat: when I get hot (as in being in a hot environment) while at the gym, when it’s hot outside, during yard work, etc. I also have a tendency to break out into a cold sweat when I’m not well (if I haven’t eaten for too long of a period of time, when I’m dehydrated, when I’m ill, etc.). I’ve never been able to go without some type of deodorant due to how I smell after sweating. It’s never been horrible, but who likes to smell themselves after a good hour at the gym? Yeah, no … and no one else needs to smell that either! :-1::-1::-1:
Now … as for my hubby … the man never wears deodorant or antiperspirant. He NEVER SMELLS BAD! :face_with_raised_eyebrow: The boy can sweat himself practically to death and he could even roll in dirt and still … his arm pits smell like nothing. I’ve never met someone like that. While it’s awesome … it makes me wonder if something is actually wrong! :laughing: Also, I remind him frequently that he’s a jerk for not stinking at least sometimes. :sunglasses:
I have tried antiperspirants before but they never really did anything for me to stop wetness. So I stick with deodorant instead.


Does he drink a lot of water? I use deodorant/antiperspirant, but I also drink a lot of water so when I do get sweaty doing yard work and such, I still don’t smell bad (in my opinion, and no one else has ever commented either). Water is my favorite drink and I pretty much drink it exclusively. I am wondering if that helps.


He does drink a LOT of water, yes. But he didn’t used to. And even when we were both much heavier weight wise, he still never had body odor.
Total jerk. :grin:


@John Very informative and helpful. Thanks for sharing. I’ve never heard of deodorant pads. I do not sweat heavily. I use deodorant and antiperspirant. Both works for me to control odor.


Wow that is very informative thank you I always wondered the difference


I’ve cut all aluminum antiperspirant out of my life as of last week because of the links I had heard about connecting aluminum to breast cancer and alzheimers. It’s good to see that there isn’t a connection to breast cancer but given my family’s predisposition to alzheimers, I’m glad I quit. I stink, though! I get terrible anxiety sweat and it makes me more anxious. I’m going to give baking soda a shot!


This is great info and it reminds me of those Secret commercials where they talk about “stress sweat” and how it smells worse than “regular sweat”. I know that in my early 20s when my anxiety was definitely at some of the highest it’s ever been, I had a lot of problems finding a deodorant/antiperspirant that worked. My armpits were forever sweaty. I didn’t stink; I was just always damp in the armpits. I even did the armpit detox and tried using natural deodorant, but my armpits were even more damp than with regular deodorant. This was before they put out all of those clinical strength deodorants and I didn’t think to go to the doctor about it. (Being in the military kind of meant not going to the doctor for minor issues if at all possible.) I never really realized at the time that my anxiety was at least partly to blame.


@edelorimier Hey, how’d the move go? (Topic fits, who doesn’t sweat when they move?):cat:


Also, does anyone here remember those Sure deodorant commercials? There are a bunch, but most of them are really funny.

    This is great information! Thanks for sharing. I've learned so much!


That was a nice, concise explanation and will definitely be useful for this project. Thanks!


Another great and informative post! Thank you so much for this.