Deodorants Are Effective

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Imagine receiving an email; when you opened it, huge block letters popped up saying "You've Got B.O.". Wouldn't that be the worse thing in the world? But believe it or not, while researching the Internet for information on deodorants, I found a web site that will do exactly that! I don't know about you, but I think that would be one email that I would hate to receive. So let's "sniff" out the B.O. on deodorants.

Long before there was roll-ons, powder fresh scents, and clear glide deodorants, Native Americans and eastern cultures had knowledge of plants that covered up body odor. Different types of spices and fruits were used, as well. An unknown Philadelphian in 1888 created the first "mum" deodorant from the flower to help mask body odor. Later, Helen Barnett Diserens developed the underarm ball deodorant in 1952. The first aerosol came around in 1965. Throughout time, different cultures differ in their attitudes about the need for deodorant, some countries feel that natural body odor is not an offensive smell. Here in the Western World, the smell of "El natural"; well it just stinks!

In the body's defense, however, we must point out that the actual sweat of a human does not stink. The underarm areas are breeding grounds for odor-causing bacteria, the armpits are among the most consistent warm places on the body; and sweat glands produce water; hence a home for bacteria and stink. The smell is produced when bacteria proliferate in the warm moist environment on the body. Bacteria are active at a certain pH; a human body's pH differs from one to another; that's why some people may stink worse than others may. If your pH is abnormal then you will attract more bacteria, which is not found on people with normal pH. Many deodorants today have antibacterial fighting agents, like propylene glycol and triclosan, in the ingredients that inhibit the growth of bacteria. Besides using stronger deodorants with antibacterial ingredients; you may want to think about changing your diet. Sugars and Starches found in empty carbohydrates causes an individual's pH to be abnormal.

Is there a difference between deodorants and antiperspirants? To put it simply…yes! Deodorants are effective in masking the smell of underarm odor; they also kill off odor fighting bacteria. But if you're one of those people that sweat profusely, you may need an antiperspirant. Antiperspirants are basically sweat inhibitors. They reduce the amount of perspiration the sweat glands produce. Some doctor's frown on antiperspirants because they clog up the pores and stop sweat glands from doing their job, a natural body function. Sweating is the body's cooling mechanism and is essential to everyday life. Medical studies also show that sweat produces a natural antibiotic, dermicidin, which helps destroy bacteria on the skin. But as women, sweat is not an attractive attribute, so you may want to consider an antiperspirant if you perspire a lot. Or you may want to try a deodorant and antiperspirant combination, many companies that make deodorants and antiperspirants are combining the ingredients. Double protection for the active female in today's world.

There are so many different types of deodorants on the market today that one could spend hours in that isle alone at the drug store or super market. I've learned from trial and error with deodorants I like and which I don't. Because deodorants often contain perfume fragrances and additives you may base your choice just on smell alone. Or perhaps you have sensitive skin and need a deodorant with a balanced pH. Deodorants come alcohol free; alcohol usually dries out the skin and can stain clothes. Aluminum Chloride, the leading acidic solution found in antiperspirants that actually causes the sweat glands to slow down the production of perspiration can cause adverse affects with some women, it too can stain clothing. Many brands focus on natural ingredients, like herbs or salts, to help eliminate body odor. Recently health concerns, like Alzheimer's was commented to be associated with chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants. For the most part, there is little evidence to support these claims.

Studies that was reported in New Scientist Magazine describing how volunteers of men and women were tested in a laboratory mock-up of a sweltering car. Men were reported to have lost 250 grams of sweat per hour, while women lost only 180 grams of sweat per hour. This could, perhaps, explain to women why their deodorants are often more mild than a man's deodorant.

However, some women do sweat excessively. Palmar hyperhidrosis is a condition where you sweat profusely. Often times, a prescribed antiperspirant may be given to a woman by her doctor to help with this condition. Often times this condition is hereditary and starts in early childhood. Studies show that 1% of the world's population has this condition. If you are one of those people, you may have been approached by your doctor regarding a surgery that actually cuts off the nerves to the sweat glands. Another procedure that is helpful to hyperhidrosis suffers and according to the New Yorker, the newest craze for high-society women and fashion models, is the use of Botox injections. It typically involves 10-12 injections to each armpit. The Botox blocks messages from the nerves to the sweat glands. So even if the nerves are telling the sweat glands to produce sweat, they don't. This procedure usually lasts up to six months and then can be repeated. No matter what "sweat buster" you choose, it's a problem that every woman must address; I hope this article has helped you "sniff out" the best choice.