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How Does Deodorant Work? Understanding the Chemistry Behind Deodorant

August 07, 2020 3 min read

how does deodorant work

Most of us slick on our deodorant after a shower without a second thought. We know it helps to keep us smelling good throughout our day. However, with a growing consciousness in society of what we put in and on our bodies, an inquisitive mind may start to question. What is deodorant made of? How does deodorant work? What more is there to know? Curious cats - look no further! This article takes a closer look at the chemistry behind deodorant.

What causes underarm odor?

Body odor is usually thought to be a direct result of sweat, but there’s more to the story. Sweat itself is made up of water, salts, fats, and proteins that are odorless. The unpleasant smells actually start when harmless bacteria on the skin mix with sweat and start to break it down. This is true for armpits, feet, and all the other smelly sweat zones.

understanding the chemistry behind deodorant

What is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirants?

Deodorants and antiperspirants may seem the same at first glance. But in actuality, they have completely different functions. The clue is right there in the names. Deodorant works solely to mask or neutralize the odors associated with sweating. Whereas antiperspirant blocks the sweat glands to reduce or eliminate perspiration in the first place.

What are the different types of deodorant?

When browsing deodorant products you’ll probably have noticed the range of types available. The most common are spray, stick, and roll-on. The difference is in how the deodorant formula is dispersed and applied to the skin; via aerosol, a solid or gel that’s twisted up, or liquid released using a rollerball. As all styles are effective in their own ways. It simply boils down to personal preference.

What is the chemistry behind deodorant?

So, we still need to answer the big question. How does deodorant work? As the ultimate goal is to fight body odor, the main ingredient in deodorant is often Triclosan. This powerful antibacterial compound effectively kills the bacteria on the skin to avoid it mixing with sweat and causing body odor.

You’ll often see Phthalates used in deodorants too, as is the case with most beauty and personal care products. These help fragrances to last longer, which is helpful when working to transform body odor. Synthetic fragrances are used to mask or replace body odor. Parabens, along with alcohol or Cyclomethiclones, tend to be used as preservatives and help your deodorant last longer.

How do natural deodorants differ from traditional deodorants?

The ingredients in traditional deodorants are mostly chemicals. Conversely, natural deodorants opt to avoid man-made and artificial components by using naturally derived ingredients. Returning to the earth, natural deodorants tend to use odor-neutralizing plant-based ingredients, such as astringents like witch hazels to reduce the size of pores and moisture-absorbent powders like arrowroot.

chemistry behind deodorant

Sidestepping artificial fragrances, botanicals, and essential oils are used to keep the wearer feeling fresh and smelling good without chemicals. Aloe vera may be used to soothe the skin, so the benefits of natural deodorant can extend beyond just odor control.

We hope we've enlightened you about the chemistry behind deodorants so you can make an informed decision on your next purchase. We've also compiled a few ways to get the most out of your deodorant product, like how and when to apply it

To help reduce body odor, you can also wear Ejis undershirts with odor-fighting silver. Check out our micro modal or cotton sweat proof undershirts to get maximum protection from body odor. (Buy in our shop or on Amazon)

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