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Essentials of Choosing the Right Deodorant

Aug 17, 2007
Sweating is a normal bodily function, just like digestion and breathing. It is a way for the body to cool itself. Under your skin are tiny glands of sweat, connected to your nervous system and controlled by the brain. When your body feels hot, maybe from exposure to sun, vigorous exercise or anxiety, the brain will react to this by releasing water into the skin which will be cooled and eventually also cool your body. Because it is made of water, sweat in itself has no odor. When left on the skin and exposed to the elements, however, it attracts bacteria which cause the bad smell. In places where sweat cannot evaporate easily, say the armpits, sweat stays on the skin and accumulates bacteria.

1. Don't sweat the small stuff

Aside from moist skin that is hidden under the arms, the armpits also have a special kind of sweat gland, called apocrine gland. This gland secretes protein and carbohydrates that add on to the sweat. They are glands that develop during puberty and are stimulated when stressed or sexually aroused. Because they secrete special materials, they attract additional bacteria, and when left on the hidden skin, cause foul body odor.

To prevent such odor from causing discomfort and embarrassment, natural and synthetic deodorants are readily available.

2. Antiperspirant or Deodorant?

It is a common misunderstanding that antiperspirants and deodorants are the same. The truth is, they are not, but they both address the problem of foul body odor.

Antiperspirants are chemicals the stop you from perspiring. With the use of aluminum-based chemicals, these block your pores so your armpits will not sweat. Deodorants eliminate the the smell of the sweat and by neutralizing the bacteria. However, they don't prevent sweating, so if there is continuous sweat, deodorants maybe reapplied during the day to prevent bacteria and bad odor from developing.

3. Types of Deodorants

Antiperspirants are synthetically made, however, deodorants can be made using natural and synthetic materials. Below is a list of natural deodorants that you can make at home.

- Baking Soda Powder Deodorant

Baking soda is a white powdery substance that is alkaline-based. When it is mixed with acid, like underarm sweat, there is a chemical reaction, which produces gas and evaporates the sweat. Mix equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch and add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture to give it your personal scent. After taking a bath and drying the armpits thoroughly, apply the mixture using a damp washcloth. Do not rinse off.

- Basic Liquid Deodorant

If you want to approximate the feel of commercial deodorant through one-step application, then try making a liquid deodorant. Mix 1/4 cup each of witch hazel extract, Aloe Vera gel, and mineral water. To it, add 1 tsp glycerin and add a few drops of lavender or your favorite essential oil. Transfer to a spritz bottle and shake every time before using.

- Other Homemade Deodorant

Sometimes, you have cleansers and toners for the face that irritate your skin. Don't throw them away. They can work as a cleanser to your underarm. Aside from removing sweat and odor, facial cleansers can also improve your underarm skin.

- Commercially Available Deodorant

The personal care market is saturated with different brands promising to protect you from sweat and foul body odor. Make sure that when buying a product to read the labels and understand what you will be applying to your skin. Most brands are responsible enough to indicate that their products are purely deodorant or are both antiperspirant and deodorant. In any case, they come in different forms as follows:

Spray - Usually contained in aerosol cans, these are pressurized liquid deodorants. These are convenient for freshening up many times a day.
Roll-on - This is the first type of commercially available deodorant. The container has a ball in the middle, which rolls to apply the liquid from the container to the skin.
Gel - This type of deodorant is clear when applied, which is preferred when you want to avoid staining your skin or clothes.
Stick - A solid deodorant that is paste-like in consistency. It is extruded from the deodorant container and spread on to the armpits.

Whatever you decide to choose, always make sure to observe your skin when trying a new product. People vary in skin types and reactions to different materials, so as soon as you see redness, feel itchy or experience a burning sensation, stop using the product and wash immediately with mild soap and water. This is important because these unpleasant symptoms can occur even if you don't have allergies, most often due to sensitive skin.

Manage your sweat and your smell - use a deodorant daily!
About the Author
For more great deodorant related articles and resources check out http://deodorant.bathnbodyhq.com
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