Photo by Kathy Magerkurth
Columns Lifestyles of the Fit and Healthy

Body odor blockers: Deodorant vs Antiperspirant

Deodorants are applied to the arm pits, feet, and other body parts to prevent body odor (BO) from making its smelly presence. Their purpose is to eliminate odor and control sweat near the underarms.

When a person excessively sweats, using an antiperspirant might be a consideration. The primary difference between these two sweaty choices is that deodorant covers up body odor, while antiperspirants slow down sweat production.

Our armpits have two sweat glands which are called the apocrine and eccrine. The apocrine glands are the type that produce the smell by carrying fats, protein, and sweat to the skin’s surface.

These fats and proteins mixed up, then basically turn into a smelly bacteria. The eccrine glands are the primary sweat producers to cool down the body. They release water and sweat. These glands normally don’t develop until puberty, so this time period is the start of B.O. for many as they start to change. In the U.S., deodorants are actually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Sweat is the fluid of our body’s air conditioning system. Sweating is a normal occurrence, but sometimes in a hot environment, during exercise, or from stress, a person might sweat much more.

For example, physical activity can stimulate the sweat glands producing a fluid that the cells carry and travel to the surface of the skin. When a person is sweating extra, the body is just really trying to cool itself down.

Around the 1950s, body odor became socially inappropriate. This started the deodorant market that preyed on people’s insecurities to avoid smelling bad.

Now, we have options on the shelves including sticks, roll-ons and sprays. There are a number of fragrances too.

Deodorant doesn’t prevent sweating. It is the smell blocker that tries to target the fats and proteins that have become bacteria. Antiperspirants prevent sweating.

When there is no sweat, there is no bacteria, which means there is no smell. The aluminum and zirconium in this product plug up the sweat glands. There are many rumors that antiperspirants prevent the body from naturally releasing toxins and are linked to cancer but this has not been proven.

Most of us put this product on after the morning shower. Different recommendations say morning, others say night before bed to clog the pores when they are less active.

Which variety a person chooses might be trial and error to see which one most effectively fights B.O. Some people (men) have vary hairy arm pits, some people just sweat more, and others don’t want any residue left under the arm.

Whichever the pick, body odor is a personal hygiene taboo. Cover up the smell or slow down the sweating rate. We tend to keep buying the type that works best for us and personal preference (like scent) does influence our buying choices.

The Lifestyle of the FIT & Healthy rolls or sprays on their BO blocker of choice for their health and happiness in the hopes that the  on their body smells like perfume.

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