Almost everyone uses deodorants and antiperspirants. But we rarely know what is in these products and how to make them work for us. Here’s a guide to the chemicals found in deodorants and antiperspirants, how they work, and their effects on our skin.
Sweating is a natural body process in which the body maintains normal temperature and health by removing toxins and maintaining the balance of salt level. Through our skin, we sweat around a pint or two on average. During exercise, we tend to sweat more while during an adrenaline rush like worry or fear, we tend to sweat too. Sweat is almost odorless when fresh, however, as it tends to stay on the skin longer, it develops a peculiar sweat smell that can be quite unpleasant. This is due to bacterial growth in warm areas such as armpits, groynes and the like.
Difference Between Deodorants and Antiperspirants
Deodorants and antiperspirants are two different products to combat perspiration. Although many people confuse between the two, both products work differently.
Deodorants stop the growth of bacteria in sweat and neutralize it, which makes you smell good. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, stop the process of perspiration, or sweating.
While natural-smelling herbs and plants were used in ancient times as body perfumes, deodorants today use harsh chemicals to mask odor. The stronger the scent, the stronger the chemical formulation of the deodorant.
Antiperspirants are based on the notion that if there is no sweat, there will be no smell. Usually made from ingredients like aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrate, and aluminum chloralhydrate, antiperspirants tend to temporarily block sweat ducts with these aluminum salts.
Natural alternative to chemical deodorants
A natural mineral like potassium alum is one of the best natural and organic deodorants you can use. Although it contains some aluminum, its molecules are too large to penetrate the skin pores and therefore the ingredient remains on the skin’s surface. However, it does not block skin pores or cause skin irritation like other aluminum salts mentioned above. Therefore, it is considered safe for personal use.
Although the ingredient is not a powerful antibacterial, the potassium alum acts as a coagulant, thereby binding other protein nutrients and reducing the ability of bacteria to grow.
Another natural ingredient that can be used as a deodorant is zinc ricinolate. Extracted from the seeds of castor oil, this ingredient does not block skin pores or inhibit skin perspiration. However, it removes the odor produced by bacterial growth by breaking them down so that the odor is not released into the atmosphere.