Do you really need deodorant or antiperspirants?
It’s amazing to think that deodorant didn’t exist before the beginning of the 20th century. Body odour, it seems, wasn’t a concern. The first antiperspirant deodorant aptly called ‘Everdry’ entered the market in 1903. The result of schoolgirl Edna Murphy recognising the marketability of her father’s creation of a remedy for his sweaty palms during surgery.
Edna assembled a team of door-to-door saleswoman to push her anti-odour product-but it was a hard sell. Why would one need a product for body odour, when it wasn’t a concern at the time? Not to mention the inclusion of aluminium chloride meant the product was damaging to clothes and irritating to the skin. Luckily for Edna, a crafty copywriter brewed up the ingenious idea of exploiting people’s insecurities. This lead to a series of aggressive advertisements convincing women that the odour of their armpits was an embarrassment cured only by the use of antiperspirant deodorant.
“Wake up Mary! It’s a grand old world and you’re missing out.”
Slogans like the above swarmed the American market, a new trend was formed, and by the 1950s antiperspirant deodorant was flying off the shelves for men and women alike. Whilst advertisements today may not be quite as aggressive (nor questionable), antiperspirant deodorant is a non-negotiable for many. The deodorant aisle at supermarkets is flooded with options. From ‘sport’ editions, ones promising 48-hour protection, to heavily scented aerosols marketed at teens (you know, the ones that assault your senses as you walk past a group of school kids at a train station).
All of this information relays one message: sweat = bad. The truth, however, is far from this. Whilst some individuals may sweat excessively, most do not benefit from the effects of antiperspirant.
What causes odour?
Advertising campaigns have lead us to believe that sweat itself smells. Leaving most of us making a b-line to the bathroom after any remotely sweaty activity. Despite this, sweat itself isn’t smelly. The glands in our armpits produce a different kind of sweat, one that is rich in proteins and carbohydrates. When the sweat comes to the surface, bacteria breaks down these proteins and the odour is created. Thus, the ideal remedy for kicking the stench are products that absorb excess moisture, whilst giving bacteria the boot.
Do I need deodorant or antiperspirant then?
Here, it is important to note that there is a world of difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant. Deodorants act in the way mentioned above, by reducing moisture and neutralising bacteria. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, use chemical nasties to block sweat production. Not only is this route less than optimal in terms of chemicals, but it also blocks sweat itself which is essential to the regulation of body temperature (it’s there for a reason you know!).
Our genetics and day-to-day factors such as what we eat and cleanliness all play into our odour outcome. Doing things like showering every morning can be key to keeping that bacteria to a minimum and whilst antiperspirants are probably not a need, natural deodorants are a handy (and healthy) armour against those days when these factors are against us.
At ASÚVI, we have tackled making a product that achieves moisture absorption and bacterial neutralisation, whilst not compromising on ingredient quality or scent. Our blend of ultra-absorbent activated charcoal and clay, plant extract based fragrances and natural minerals work to absorb sweat, kill pesky bacteria and provide an uplifting scent for your day.
The most important thing is that it does this without dangerously blocking the body from engaging in its natural regulatory processes. You can also have peace of mind of knowing that our products are free from aluminium and other chemical additives that have been linked to prostate and breast cancer (we’ll tackle that in depth in another post).
At the end of the day, despite Edna and her copywriter friend telling us all otherwise almost 100 years back, you don’t need to prevent yourself from sweating altogether and in those stressful situations and special occasions it is nice to know there are alternatives that will keep you dry while smelling like fresh citrus, vanilla or musk.
So, keep it simple.
Shower, clean clothes, ASÚVI.