Medical devices

Deodorant – Use & Health Benefits


Deodorants are used to prevent increased sweating , especially in the armpit area, by constricting the sweat glands and to avoid unpleasant odors by using bactericidal active ingredients. In addition, existing odors are masked by perfumed deodorants. This triple effect is intended to effectively counteract the problem of sweat stains on clothing in the armpit area and unpleasant body odors caused by bacterial decomposition.

What is deodorant?

The term deodorant, colloquially also simply referred to as deodorant , is a body care product that is intended to prevent excessive sweating and an unpleasant odor from bacterially decomposing sweat in the armpit area.

While sweat glands are distributed all over the skin and the secreted sweat is only used for cooling purposes and is almost odorless, there are also many scent glands in the armpit area , which depending on the emotional state, e.g. B. fear , anger or sexual arousal secrete special odors.

While the sweat secreted for cooling purposes consists almost entirely of water, the sweat secreted by scent glands provides enough food for bacteria to produce foul odors via decomposition as waste products.

In principle, there are two ways to prevent excessive sweating and odor formation in the armpit area. On the one hand, certain active ingredients in a deodorant can narrow the ducts of the scent glands or even completely block them ( antiperspirant ) in order to make secretion more difficult. On the other hand, bactericidal substances in the body care product can largely prevent the decomposition of the sweat by killing the bacteria. In addition, perfumes in many deodorants mask any bad smells that may be present with pleasant scents.

Shapes, Species & Types

The variety of deodorants on offer, most of which also contain antiperspirant complex aluminum compounds, is almost unmanageable. From a technical point of view, they can be distinguished primarily by the physical nature of their application. Deodorant sprays have found the widest distribution in Germany. It is extremely easy to use, since all areas in the armpit are wetted and there is no direct contact between the deodorant container and the skin. Deodorant sprays typically contain a combination of astringent aluminum compounds to constrict or unclog sweat ducts, bactericidal agents to kill bacteria, and fragrance to mask bad odors.

A large variety of deodorant rollers are also available. They contain a large ball at the upper end of the container to which the deodorant liquid adheres and is released through direct skin contact to the “rolled over” skin areas. The deodorant crystal is less widespread. It has a high proportion of aluminum salts, is odorless and contains no fragrances or preservatives. Deodorant sticks, deodorant creams and deodorant powder are also available.

Structure & functionality

Combination preparations, which are often offered as a deodorant spray or deodorant roller, contain a mixture of astringent substances as the first main component, which narrow or even block the sweat ducts in order to prevent excessive sweating purely physically. The main components of the astringent substances are usually a complex of aluminum chlorhydrate and an aluminum zirconium tetrachloroglycine complex (ZAG). Propantheline bromide is also usually included as an active ingredient.

The second active ingredient complex consists of bactericidal substances, mostly bacteriostatics that inhibit the growth of bacteria or bactericidal substances that can kill bacteria. The bacteriostatic and bactericidal substances used by the individual manufacturers are very different. In some cases, natural substances extracted from plants are also incorporated.

The effectiveness and tolerability of the substances in a deodorant cannot be predicted in advance, so it usually makes sense to try out (self-test) different products from different manufacturers. Some deodorants are offered either scented or unscented, as some people are allergic to the scent or don’t like the scent. Frequently used odor maskers are perfume oils, which combine with the individual body’s own odor generators to create a special odor note and traditionally mask the unpleasant smell of sweat.

Deodorants often also contain so-called odor absorbers. These are substances that can enclose the odor-forming molecules so that they can no longer be perceived by the olfactory receptors in our nasal mucosa .

Medical & health benefits

When assessing the medical and health benefits of classic deodorants, it must be taken into account that the active ingredients contained almost exclusively have a symptomatic effect, ie they cover up or trap the odors, but cannot prevent them from developing themselves.

Above all, the astringent components in the deodorants, which constrict the glands, not only have positive effects, since the secretion of sweat through the special scent glands is also used by the body to dispose of waste and toxins. Preventing sweating can therefore lead to an artificial build-up of these substances, which can trigger inflammation . Deodorants that address the causes of excessive sweating in the armpits are not known.

Experts are discussing the danger of aluminum compounds, since the compounds can enter the surrounding tissue via the sweat ducts and trigger reactions in the lymphatic system . Aluminum is one of the heavy metals and can cause serious damage to the body. The absorption of the aluminum salts is also drastically increased as soon as a deodorant is applied to skin that is e.g. B. was injured with microcracks during the removal of the armpit hair. In the meantime, lists of deodorants that do not contain aluminum additives can be found in some drugstore branches.

The other active ingredient components in deodorants are not tolerated by everyone either, but can trigger allergic skin reactions. If such skin changes occur, the use of a deodorant should be avoided for a while and then another product with other active ingredients should be tested.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.