Almost everyone uses deodorants and antiperspirants. But we rarely know what these products contain and how to make them work for us. Here is 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 eliminating toxins and balancing the salt level. Through our skin, we sweat about one or two pints on average. During exercise, we tend to perspire more while during an adrenaline rush, such as worry or fear, we also tend to perspire. Sweat is almost odorless when fresh, however, as it tends to stay on the skin longer, it develops a peculiar smell of sweat that can be quite unpleasant. This is due to the growth of bacteria in warm areas like 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, making it smell good. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, stop the perspiration or sweating process.

While naturally scented herbs and plants were used in ancient times as body perfumes, deodorants use harsh chemicals today to mask odor. The stronger the odor, the stronger the chemical formulation of the deodorant.

Antiperspirants are based on the notion that if there is no sweat, there will be no odor. Generally made from ingredients such as aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrate, and aluminum hydrochloride, 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 pores of the skin and therefore the ingredient remains on the surface of the skin. 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 potent antibacterial, potassium alum acts as a coagulant, binding with 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 castor oil seeds, this ingredient does not block skin pores and inhibits skin perspiration. However, it eliminates the odor produced by bacterial growth by decomposing them so that the odor is not released into the atmosphere.

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