A Stinky Situation: Sweat, Body Temperature, and Deodorant


Deodorant is a normal part of daily life for most people. It is usually applied after a shower or while getting dressed for the day. The goal is to keep odor and perspiration away. Sweating, however, is a natural process that serves a purpose. Our bodies are set up to release moisture through our skin. This keeps us cool and expels toxins. Modern hygiene, however has caused us to intercept this process. Here is how it all works.

That Stinks!

Many people prefer antiperspirants because they stop sweat. The sweat, however, is not the problem. When you begin to perspire, there is no odor involved. You start to notice a smell when your body temperature rises, increasing the amount of bacteria on your skin. When moisture mixes with the bacteria, you begin to stink. Deodorant allows you to sweat, yet it neutralizes the smell. You may not notice the average two pints of moisture that you release daily, as workouts can easily raise your temperature and bacteria growth fast.

Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Antiperspirants stop sweat by blocking the ducts where sweat escapes. This is done with the use of aluminum salts and other chemicals. These chemicals react with your sweat to form a gel that clogs up the pores and ducts. Deodorant is a bit less mild. However, it still works with the use of chemicals. The smell preventing activity is accompanied by bacteria stopping capabilities. Aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrate, and aluminum chlorohydrate all contribute to the duct blocking abilities of antiperspirants.

Natural Options

Heightened concern over chemicals in traditional products has spurred the use of solutions from Mother Nature. Potassium alum binds with nutrients and proteins to keep bacteria from reproducing on your skin. The aluminum content in this product stays on the exterior of your skin, unlike the aluminum in synthetic varieties. Zinc ricinoleate originates from the castor oil plant, and works by keeping odors from releasing into the air. You still sweat, but those around you are spared from the smell.

Humans are naturally smelly. We spend a large part of our days trying to fight this part of life. In old times, people simply carried a container of herbs to mask their own smell. Today, we shower, wash hands, and pile chemicals into our pores. The acceptance level of natural odors has decreased over the years. The effort to smell fresh has led to some interesting developments.


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