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The Chemical Composition Of Deodorants And Antiperspirants

1506 words - 6 pages

As humans, after a long day of activity in our busy lives, we tend to sweat. From going to the gym, walking around, and just weather in general, we all have a habit of sweating. Applying deodorant after a morning shower or when we begin to get sweaty or clammy has become second nature for to of us. Coming in many forms such as roll ons, bars, and sprays, deodorant is used to control the production of sweat and underarm odor. As human nature has evolved we have become more conscious about our body odor. In the past when humans lived in caves, they were less concerned with their body odor then we are today. It is theorized by anthropologists that the human stench kept many people from becoming the dinner of some predator’s, because the animals would find something with a less horrific stench to eat. When the ancient Egyptian’s had leisure time away from constructing pyramids, they worked diligently at masking their own stench. Due to the fact that the ancient Egyptians were conscious about their body odor, they invented the perfumed bath and started to apply a generous amount of perfume to their underarms. The ancient Egyptians also used carob, incense, and porridge as their deodorant; while the women applied large globs of scented wax on their heads which would melt throughout the day to help mask the smell. The ancient Greeks bathed and drenched themselves, their clothes, their horses,and even their household pets in perfume. In the Middle Ages, those who were wealthy used perfume to mask their odor while those who were not wealthy enough to afford perfume basked in their own natural fragrance.
Created by an unknown Philadelphia inventor, “Mum,” was the first trademarked deodorant to hit the shelves in 1888. Mum was a wax-like paste made out of antibacterial zinc oxide that was applied to the armpits. Mum was very sticky and messy, but it did help kill bacteria and odor. Mum first got its unique name from the inventor’s nurse who was nicknamed Mum. Mum did not have the sole purpose of preventing underarm odor but also to help mask foot odor. The original purpose of Mum was to preserve very expensive silk stockings worn by women back then so that they would last longer. Mum was also commonly used by women during menstruation. Mum soon became the “grandfather” of other deodorant and antiperspirants to come. Many other deodorants followed Mum, and the paste- like antiperspirant that many were used to transformed into other forms, fragrances, and brands.
Mum was later followed by Everdry, which was deemed the first affective antiperspirant to stock the shelves. Everdry, an aluminum chloride solution, was commonly dabbed on with a cotton swab to rid and prevent perspiration and odor. The paste was found in small tins. Aluminum chloride prevented odor by reducing sweat production. Everdry was a perfect name for this antiperspirant that seemed to take forever to dry. Along with taking a long time to dry, Everdry was messy and stung the underarms...

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