If you’re like me, you ask what is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant? Yes, they both are designed to address sweat, but what else? Scientists say that sweat is a wet chemical that mixes with the bacteria on our skin when it is released from the body. Only when these two chemicals mix, does sweat produce a funky odor. Deodorants are designed to mask the smell from the bacteria, and the antiperspirant part stops the wet that leaves a ring on the underarm part of our clothes.
Sweat is produced under certain conditions that affect our bodies. Everyone reacts differently to different factors that confront us, but sweat is a by-product. The following factors cause us to sweat in varying degrees:
- Emotional changes
- Changes in the body
History of Antiperspirant Techniques
What is an antiperspirant and did we always have access to this product? Deodorants and antiperspirants were recognized as a combined product as early as the 1800s. The first deodorant product to mask underarm odor was produced in 1888 followed by a product called Everdry which was created in 1903 to stop the underarm sweats.
During the Victorian Age, people chose not to talk publicly about underarm odor or sweating. Sweat was addressed by men and women wearing pads made from various materials like cotton or rubber. Other protectants from sweat stains included clothing shields. In addition to these attempts to stop sweat and to smell good was to immerse themselves into perfumes and lots of baths throughout the day.
Early cavemen were too busy hunting for food to survive than worrying about body odor. This was evident when anthropologists would uncover human body hairs which still smelled very funky. They discovered that the ancient hair strands smelled from the human body and not from centuries of lying underground.
Following the antiperspirant history trail, the Egyptians were body odor aware so much so that they created baths where vials of perfume were poured into the water. In walking around, the wealthy men and women doused their underarms in incense, oils like henna and myrrh. They also used heavily scented powders, scented wax materials, and certain perfumed resins. These ideas that covered up body odor were carried through to the Romans and Greeks. They took it a step further by washing their clothes in perfume.
Before the next world history change, we look at the Medieval Age or the Middle Ages, which should be termed the funky age because covering up body odor from previous ages just disappeared. The leading influencer of the Middle Ages was the church, which believed that talking about the body or nakedness was a serious sin. The wealthy used perfume but in a less fashionable way than previous cultures. The underserved society did nothing to cover up their body odors.
Before the antiperspirant Everdry product, a deodorant called “Mum” was created in Philadelphia in paste form. As an antiperspirant, Everdry was the first product to use aluminum chloride. While Everdry worked to stop the sweats for a couple of days, people had to put up with stinging, waving your hands to rush its drying time, and it made little holes in your clothes.
The scientific dynamics of an antiperspirant product is to have it absorb into the skin to plug up the sweat ducts for perhaps just a day. Antiperspirants contain antimicrobials that attack bacteria that cause body odor. Antiperspirants impede the reproduction of these odor-producing bacteria. Modern-day antiperspirant products are manufactured to be good for all skin types without any irritations. They are safe to use daily and the antiperspirant products are now pH-balanced which means that they are not acidic.
Antiperspirants On The Body
The body naturally needs to release sweat to breathe and to have a certain temperature factor (“thermoregulation”). The human body is covered with different types of sweat glands called “eccrine” and “apocrine” glands. These glands allow the body to release sweat under the arm and nearly anywhere on the body, like the hands, feet, face, arms, legs, even the head.
Antiperspirants do not impact the body’s natural ability to control its temperature. Advanced research has now given men and women a marriage of deodorants and antiperspirants. These on-the-shelf products are available in roll-ons, sticks, gels, and sprays. Yes, we have come a long way to smell nice around ourselves and others.