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History of the deodorant

Already the ancient Egyptians, very attentive to body care, used alum to deodorize before sprinkling perfumed oils, while in China they resorted directly to the latter, therefore cure without prevention. In the eighteenth century we started talking about real deodorants, as soon as the presence of bacteria emerged from the study of the sweat glands and we chose to fight them reducing the humidity they eat to reduce their development: for this purpose the ammonia, but the high rate of skin inflammation does not make it ideal for this function.

The first real deodorant was born in the United States in the late nineteenth century and contains zinc for the first time; it is so effective that it is soon marketed on a large scale and is still used in Great Britain today.

The ball version was born in 1940 by Helen Barnett Diserens, who draws inspiration from the ballpoint pen to create a practical and comfortable product to use.

Around the fifties, aluminum chloride appeared in the chemical composition of the product, which will be taken on a permanent basis among the basic components of modern deodorants, and in the fertile sixties, deo spray also arrives. The success of this version is enormous, despite the references to the conservation of the ozone layer which seems to damage enormously: the practicality of it combines with modernity, the protection from bad smell is linked to the scent of delicate areas.

The deodorant is declined over time as a fundamental cosmetic, both for the female and male public and you don’t have to wait long for pocket versions to appear, to be carried in your handbag for a fleeting touch-up especially if you spend the whole day out . Today there is no ‘deodorant’, not ‘a’ combination of elements par excellence, but as many deodorants as the manufacturers’ creativity conceives of it, with regard to the ingredients, the packaging, the perfume.


The mechanism of action of deodorants is varied: substances that can inhibit the bacterial flora of the skin are added to perfumed compounds. For example, there may be ingredients with anti-perspirant properties, i.e. that reduce the amount of sweat released on the skin, for a few hours after application. Some of these compounds are aluminum salts (aluminum chloride or aluminum hydrochloride) or zirconium. Usually, deodorants are formulated with an alcoholic base, as alcohol is able to temporarily slow down bacterial growth. However, alcohol-free products are also available, formulated primarily to avoid the skin reactions associated with it. Other antimicrobial compounds present in commercial deodorants include triclosan or chelating compounds. Finally, deodorants can contain perfumes, essential oils or natural fragrances that mask the smell of sweat.
Sweat contains plasma electrolytes, i.e. chlorine, sodium, potassium and lactic acid, and glucose in a minimal percentage. At the time of release, it is odorless, then the bacterial flora ‘colors’ it with an absolutely personal smell, as it derives from the interaction between the skin, the bacteria, the species to which it belongs

The free fatty acids released by the bacteria determine the smell of sweat and, given their acid nature, are activated in particular in humid and warm environments, and therefore in the armpits, interdigital spaces and in general in the folds of the skin.

It is important to keep in mind that sweat per se is not harmful to the body, on the contrary, it is necessary to eliminate all those substances that the body does not need and therefore the average daily sweating, calculated in fifty ml, is functional to the maintaining body balance. For this reason, after an intense physical activity in which the production of the sweat glands undergoes an increase, it is necessary to replenish the liquids that have been lost.

In western society, the cult of the body is characterized by an exasperation of hygiene and beauty.
The problem arises from the broad spectrum bactericidal action which causes an alteration of the saprophytic microbionta flora on the body. It does not always happen, some manage to survive with the problems that may arise, the antagonists disappeared.

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