Antiperspirants/Deodorants - Do we really need them?

Antiperspirants/Deodorants - Do we really need them?
Every day we wake, we shower, we check to see if it's time to shave, wax, etc, then we come to one of what we believe to be the necessity's in life - deodorant. Now if you've just removed hair, it's a painful issue, but an issue nevertheless. It seems these days deodorant must be applied if you want to walk through the day smelling like roses, or sea breeze, or some special name deodorant companies give to each type of deodorant so that you can hide your body odour.

Lets start with the reason we need to use antiperspirant deodorant.

- That lovely natural smell.

Our armpits have not only sweat glands, but also another special chemical. This special chemical is a milky kind of substance that is secreted from your armpits. It is that wonderful milky substance that mixes with the body's natural bacteria (and of course bacteria loves to grow in warm, moist places), which produces that sometimes terrible smell. I must add here, not everyone has a strong smell of underarm body odour, in fact the lucky people in this world (though I think they are quite rare, or perhaps aliens), have quite a sweet underarm smell that some may find appealing! However, as most of us know there are some out there who are the complete opposite, and may need a little help in the area of deodorant (although who are we to judge?).

So what's in antiperspirant deodorants that prevent that odour?

Antiperspirant deodorants, you will find, contain aluminum chlorhydrate or aluminum zirconium, just read the ingredients on the back of your deodorant. It is these products that prevent the body from sweating. These substances do this by clogging the superficial pores of the underarms. This causes the skin to become dry, as the glands can't sweat, and hence there is no moisture for bacteria to breed in, and therefore no smell (or very little).

Now there has been some debate as to whether these substances are good for you, as they stop the body's natural process of producing sweat. I believe it is up to the individual to decide as to whether they want to use aluminum free deodorant (yes they do exist, you just need to check the ingredients on the back of the can / bottle) or stick with what we've used for years. Aluminum free deodorants are not as common as deodorants with aluminum, so you may need to go on a bit of a search to find one. The other option (and it is your option, is to go without a deodorant, after all it is about choice these days).

What else can we do?

After working out, allow 10 minutes before putting on a deodorant, this will help your armpits to cool down naturally.
Keep the hair there under control, as bacteria love to multiply in armpit hair.
This may seem obvious, but after showering, dry your armpits well (oh and whilst showering wash them well too, this will help to wash away any residing bacteria).

Tips for shaving your underarm hair

If you are a regular shaver, then you are probably used to underarm rash, which can be annoying and at times painful (especially with rubbing, or ingrown hair). So here are a couple of ideas that may reduce this problem.

Shave at night. Every time you shave, you take off a protective layer of skin. So if you shave at night, it gives your skin a chance to heal (as skin heals faster than you think), then apply deodorant in the morning. You will find it stings less, and is much less irritating to the skin.
When you shave, make sure you use soap or shaving cream, this helps to soften the hair (so the hair is not so strong and spiky), and this will lessen the abrasiveness on the area to be shaved.

When it really comes down to wearing antiperspirant deodorant, it really is your choice. In communities worldwide it has become a rule that we seemed to have created - but it is not a law! In some countries not only do women not use deodorant, but also they do not shave their armpits. So I think, go with what you feel happiest with.

- Louise Ganey