From Academic Kids

Deodorants are cosmetic substances applied to the body, most frequently the armpits, to reduce the odor of perspiration.

Human sweat per se is odorless. The odor of sweat is actually caused by bacteria thriving in hot, humid environments. This odor is negatively stigmatized in many cultures (see below), hence the desire to eliminate or suppress it.

The underarm areas are breeding grounds for odor-causing bacteria: the armpits are among the consistently warmest areas on the surface of the human body, the sweat glands provide water, and armpit hair contributes to perspiration odor because of the increase in surface area.

Deodorant cosmetics work in the following ways:

  • Deodorants may also contain perfume fragrances intended to mask the odor of perspiration.
  • Antiperspirants, usually combined with deodorants, are drugs which attempt to stop or significantly reduce perspiration. Aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorhydrate, and related aluminium compounds are the most widely used antiperspirants. They work because the Al3+ ion causes pores in the skin to contract. This is a fairly radical approach, frowned upon by some medical professionals, since perspiration is a natural process and not the direct cause of odors.

Deodorants are usually applied in an aerosol spray or in a liquid roll-on form, but other forms also exist, such as alum crystals.

Deodorants and culture

Cultures and individuals differ in their attitudes about the need for deodorant, and on whether natural body odor is offensive. Various foods (e.g., garlic) may also affect one's natural body odor.

Other parts of the body besides the armpits are targets for commercially manufactured deodorants, most notably the genitals, and particularly the female genitals, which are a staple of sexually graphic humor and certain circumspect commercials ("Mom, sometimes I don't feel 'fresh.'").

Tom Robbins's novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues contains (among many other things) an amusing plot line that takes a stance in favor of natural body odors and presents the positions of partisans on both sides of the issue.

An episode of Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends featured the lead character, Blooregard Q. Kazoo (a/k/a Bloo) as the mascot for a deodorant called "Deo", which really does not work as found out in the final scene of the program.

External links

nl:Deodorant es:Desodorante


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