Understanding The Background Of Antiperspirants.

Antiperspirant (subproduct of the deodorant) is originally the gift from the USA to dispel the foul human body odor. This stick is solid but soft, it stops the body smell. Normally, the perspiration is produced by the skin under armpits, behind ears between toes, and areas getting chafed in the human body. The stick controls the sweat produced, the antiperspirant is the body spray or stick subproduct of the deodorant used for the feet as well.

The FDA classifies and controls deodorants as classified as cosmetics and allows antiperspirants as over the counter drugs. It should be clear that deodorants are applied to the body to control the body odor from the bacterial breakdown of the perspiration. Whereas the antiperspirants grouped under deodorants prevent sweating by controlling sweat glands and also control the odor.

Human sweat, mostly produced in the armpits is odorless, but it is acted upon by the bacteria that thrives under the humid conditions. The fermentation goes on as the moisture is supplied by the apocrine glands that on releasing trans-3-Methyl-2-hexenoic acid in their waste, which is the primary cause of body odor. The human hair ( in this case under the arm pit) evaporates, the sweat keeps the skin dry and built up of bacteria. The bacteria feed on the sweat from hair cells, and dead skin. The hair is less susceptible to bacterial growth and, therefore, is ideal for preventing the bacterial odor.


Photo Credit: Wikipedia


The first commercial deodorant, Mum, was introduced and patented in the late nineteenth century by an inventor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, whose name has been lost to history. The product was briefly withdrawn from the market in the U.S, but is currently available at U.S. retailers under the brand Ban. The modern formulation of the antiperspirant was patented by Jules Montenier on January 28, 1941. This formulation was first found in “Stopette” deodorant spray, which Time Magazine called “the best-selling deodorant of the early 1950s”. Stopette was later eclipsed by many other brands as the 1941 patent expired. Via 

Health Affects:

There is a possibility that zirconium found in the deodorants may cause allergy to the skin. Almost all the anti dispersant contain aluminum chloro- hydrate that is established as the neurotoxin that can cause damage to DNA and has adverse epigenetic effects at high doses.


The FDA has “acknowledge[d] that small amounts of aluminium can be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and through the skin.”, leading to a warning “that people with renal dysfunction may not be aware that the daily use of antiperspirant drug products containing aluminium may put them at a higher risk because of exposure to aluminium in the product.” The agency warns people with renal dysfunction to consult a doctor before using antiperspirants containing aluminum.

Aerosol burns and frostbite:

It has been ascertained that under certain conditions if aerosol deodorant held too close to the body,  can cause frostbite of the skin as the temperature may fall by 60 degrees centigrades.

Only good news is that American Cancer Society has ruled out any possibility of Antiperspirants to be cancerous. The myth got popular in the media sometime back in 1999.


Former Sailing Sea Captain at V.Ships, Miami, FL, USA (retired in 2009). Studied BA (Sophomore) at The Principia, now lives in Jaipur, India

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