Deodorant basics


deodorantMost of us would rather be caught dead than without a spritz or a slap of what we’ve come to regard as the all-powerful body odour banisher:  the deodorant.


The cynics among us claim that deodorant became an obligatory part of everyone’s toilette when advertisers managed to convince us that we smell bad. The truth is that humans have been concerned about getting rid of body odours since the dawn of civilisation. Ancient Egyptians relied on scented oils, while the people of Asia applied (and still apply) mineral salts to the armpit.


The first commercial deodorant, Mum, was invented in 1888 in the U.S.A. Five years later, it was followed by the first antiperspirant.


Originally, deodorants and antiperspirants were marketed exclusively to women. By the late 1950s the industry noticed that men were reaching for the sweet-smelling stuff too and men-specific variants were born.


The first commercial deodorants and antiperspirants were manufactured as creams.  Today, they come in a variety of forms: solid stick, gel, roll-on, liquid, cream, powder and spray.


deodorantAs with most things around us, deodorants and antiperspirants have their good and their not-so-good sides.


They help us stave off the onset of bad odour, which is the result of a plethora of bacteria frolicking in the warm, humid ecosystem of our armpits. (Do not frown in disgust; some of these bacteria may be beneficial – we don’t know yet). Among the more slovenly among us (let’s be honest now!), deodorants may even serve to mask the already developed bad odour.


On the other side, there has always been a lot of speculation about the safety of deodorants and antiperspirants. In the 1970s, aerosols got a bad reputation due to health and ozone layer concerns; since then, the formula has been greatly improved.  It has also been noted that antiperspirants can react with sweat to create permanent yellow stains on clothing. Still, skin irritation seems to be the most serious reaction to any kind of modern-day deodorant or antiperspirant.


Despite the drawbacks, we’re not likely to stop using deodorants and / or antiperspirants. However, it would be good to stick to some common-sense rules of use:


  • Apply deodorant in the morning to clean and thoroughly dry skin.
  • Some suggest applying antiperspirant the night before, so it has time to clog the sweat pores; morning shower will not unclog them, because antiperspirants are formulated to last for 24 hours.
  • Use as little of the product as possible, applying it evenly to your armpits.
  • Allow the product to dry before putting on clothes.

Last but not least, be proud of yourself, because everyone around you appreciates your dedication to banishing the bad body odours.