Friday, November 09, 2007

No Deodorant or Antiperspirant for Me

...That should have been on my list of 100 Things! I haven't worn deodorant or antiperspirant in almost 15 years. I don't care what anyone says, I think there's a correlation between breast cancer and the overuse of deodorants. After my breast cancer scare I stopped wearing it (unless it's over 90 degrees). I think shaving your armpits in the shower then coming out and clogging your pores with crap that won't let them sweat (which is natural) right where there are lymph nodes is problematic. And just for the record, you can all ask The Man...I don't stink :)

Anyway, my full fellowship PhD candidate brother shares my belief and sent me this article last night:

"...Sweat itself doesn’t reek. The armpit is home to eccrine sweat glands, which are activated by temperature and activity, and apocrine glands, which turn on during puberty and operate in moments of stress or excitement.

Both kinds of sweat are non-odoriferous when they leave the body, Dr. Preti said. The smell is produced only when the bacteria that lives in an unwashed underarm begins to feed on apocrine sweat molecules.

Deodorants overpower stench with another fragrance; some also contain an anti-bacterial ingredient like triclosan. Antiperspirants tighten the pores that secrete eccrine sweat, thanks to their active ingredient, usually a kind of aluminum derivative. (Despite some people’s fears, the aluminum content in these products has been labeled as harmless by the National Cancer Institute and the Alzheimer’s Association.)

An antiperspirant that contains the maximum concentration of aluminum compounds allowed by the Food and Drug Administration need only reduce sweat by 30 percent to be labeled “extra effective.”

“For the average person, if you just wash once or twice a day, excessive smell and excessive sweat shouldn’t be an issue,” said Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist in private practice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “Often times people are surprised by how little they are bothered when they don’t use anything.”

What’s more, trying to erase our God-given odor might sabotage Cupid.

“There is experimental evidence in humans to suggest that we may have some mating preference for those who have a different immune system then we do,” Dr. Preti said. “The scent caused by underarm bacteria is part of what signals a different immune system.” (source)

I realize this article doesn't address my cancer correlation, but if I can go 15 years with no deodorant/antiperspirant and no body odor...why take the chance?

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