As we all know too well, everyone sweats. There is really no way around it. When either temperatures outdoors or our stress levels go up, so does the amount of sweat under our arms, causing an often uncomfortable and unpleasant odor that can be socially and professionally embarrassing at times. Most people have been “trained” to address this issue in life by using an antiperspirant and/or deodorant. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact two very different products. In fact, there are also differences in deodorants and antiperspirants as well – namely the recent onset of non-aluminum deodorants, while many are not free of aluminum, which more and more people are realizing is a danger to our health.
There are two types of underarm glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands are responsible for producing most of the sweat under our arms, as well as in the rest of our bodies. Human bodies are constantly producing sweat, and at times they produce much more, including during physical exertion, stress, nervousness or heat. When the sweat glands are stimulated, cells secrete a fluid that travels through the gland and out onto the surface of our skin, thereby helping cool the body.
Sweat produced under the arms often has an unpleasant odor, which can vary depending on many reasons, from the foods one eats to the amount of toxins are built up. This is why people have been using deodorant and antiperspirant products. Deodorants mask or deactivate this odor while antiperspirants attempt to prevent it altogether by blocking the sweat from coming up through the gland and out onto the skin.
This is accomplished using several aluminum-based active ingredients such as aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium tricholorohydrex glycine, aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum hydroxybromide. Basically, antiperspirants prevent sweat from reaching the skin’s surface by clogging our pores.
Many people are not comfortable with blocking the body’s natural process for cooling itself as well as removing toxins through the skin’s surface. Unlike antiperspirants that contain aluminum, natural and aluminum-free deodorants, or otherwise, deodorants in general do not contain properties that clog or close pores. Basically, deodorants do not interfere with sweating; they simply neutralize the odor associated with it.
Deodorants diminish body odor by deactivating the functions of odor-causing bacteria. But they do not address or eliminate the root cause of odor. Applying them daily prevents bacteria from growing in those parts of the body that sweat most profusely, i.e., the underarms, which keeps odor in tow. Unlike aluminum-based antiperspirants, deodorants let the body’s cooling and circulatory functions carry on. The discomfort associated with the odor produced by these functions is minimized.
Aluminum-free deodorants have many benefits besides the elimination of chemicals from a person’s daily personal care routine, such as preventing stains on clothing plus offering a more natural way to neutralize body odor, and they are often more hypoallergenic than antiperspirants.