Deodorants mask the smell of body odour/sweat, whereas antiperspirants actually inhibit the excretion of sweat. The useful metals involved in this are aluminum and zinc. Both of these metals have been charged with having at the very least a minimal causitive effect for Alzheimers. They have both been found in higher concentrations in the brains of Alzheimer victims. Deodorants use a combination of perfumes to simply "hide" the smell and hence do not contain any of these metals. Antiperspirants have also been implicated in causing breast cancer to some degree. The reasoning behind this was that breast tissue, inhibited in excreting its toxins via sweat, were thus at a higher risk of undergoing point mutations in oncogenes. However, research shows that the body does not, in fact, need to purge toxins from the armpits in the form of perspiration, as sweat is made up of a combination of 99.9% water, sodium, potassium and magnesium. Sweating is predominantly used as a cooling mechanism for the body.

Imagine bacteria blessed with a warm spot that always provides moisture and a good food source. The environment pumps in sweet nectar from tens of thousands eccrine glands and the few apocrine glands. This wonderful place is called our armpits, and when we sweat the bacteria love it. This starts their metabolic machinery, before long they will be multiplying out of control. Their entire lives spent in constant production of a foul smelling waste. No wonder that some times our armpits stink. To kill the smell we're going to need help!


It's none other than deodorant and infamous sidekick antiperspirant to save the day.


Myths warn about potential dangers of deodorants and anti-perspiarnts. This myth has origins online, but recently smokin' aces brought it to the big screen. Allegedly regular use of these products can cause Alzheimer's and breast cancer. The risks for women is said to be higher because they have greater amounts of breast tissue in comparison to the average man. Also, shaving provides more contact with the skin and the occasional nick and cut, making it easier to absorb higher levels of the alleged cancer causing agents. The studies that have been conducted so far provide no conclusive proof linking aluminium to Alzheimer's and parabens with breast cancer.

Anti-Perspirants work by slowing the production of sweat down at the source. Once applied, water and the aluminium ions from the product are drawn into the top layer of skin cells causing them to swell. The sweat glands are squeezed shut by the surrounding cells until an equilibrium is reached, and can be an irritating experience for some. The water then exits the cell and the swelling goes down. The absorption of aluminium according to Alzheimer's Association is safe because they haven't found aluminum to play a major role in the progression of the disease. Exposure to aluminium also comes from vaccines to drinking water, and not just anti-perspirants. For anti-perspirants to be the sole cause for Alzheimer's is implausible.

Parabens are antimicrobial agents that inhibit bacteria, yeasts, and molds from growing in products like; food, pharmaceuticals, shampoos, conditioners, makeup, sunscreens, shaving products, and some deodorants. Parabens are, xenoestragens, synthetic agents that mimics the actions of estrogen, but are hundreds if not thousands of times weaker in nature. Parabens are chemically the esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. The use of a mixture of paraben esters allows for lower quantities to be used while the preservative activity is not compromised. This maintains the product's integrity and helps to protect the consumer better. Although parabens were found in cancerous tissues they're not linked to the cause. Due to the weak nature and because they're used at very low levels the associated risk is practically zero.

The FDA continues to allow these potentially hazardous ingredients in regulated amounts as always because the studies they reviewed failed to prove these substances cause serious health problems. We shouldn't rely on science for the definitive answer, it's held at mercy by the word of man. Not using the alleged carcinogenic substance is the safest bet. Every anti-perspirant will contain aluminium/zinc product, but not every deodorant contains parabens. Most deodorants are alcohol based to kill the bacteria, making them more then just fragrance to cover up the smell.

If any thing, the era of opium laced tonics could act as a warning: we as consumers can't trust everything, and we need to keep in mind our health is potentially at risk when using these products offered to us on behalf of the modern age.





One of these days, I will get around to numbering the references within the body of the write up, but most likely it will not be any time soon. I extend my apology if this is an inconvenience for you and your research.

1 http://health.howstuffworks.com/question627.html
2 http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4357258.html
3 http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-para.html
4 http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2005/405_sweat.html
5 http://www.cancer.org/docroot/MED/content/MED_6_1x_Antiperspirants.asp
6 http://www.breastcancerfund.org/site/pp.asp?c=kwKXLdPaE&b=1203361
7 http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-para.html
8 http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/healthmedical/a/antiperspirants.html
9 http://www.sweatsolutions.org/SweatSolutions/Article.asp?ArticleCode=66105477&EditionCode=88906227
10 http://www.enotes.com/how-products-encyclopedia/antiperspirant-deodorant-stick

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