Deo Vs. B.O.

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Feeling a bit Lynx-y? Fancy a bit of body spray, a bit of Dark Temptation or an exotic air of Africa? Let Lynx Excite, let Lynx Rise, may you lie dead on the bed and never rise again. What? Have you not heard that one? Well, breathe, it’s alright. It’s a silly old saying. Lynx is great; I use it as well. I like the happy particles ejected from the mouth of a deodorant can. They certainly make you look and smell sexy! Cheaper than perfumes, deodorants are celebrated by us skint students. But have you ever wondered whether those friendly nice-smelling particles are actually little, pernicious assassins in disguise? Frenemy. That’s the word. They definitely kill your sweat. But could they one day do more harm than you think?

There is a controversial debate on whether deodorant and antiperspirants may contribute to the cause of breast cancer. Aluminium-based compounds and parabens are common ingredients for both products. It is said in some reports that those chemicals may be absorbed by the skin and induce an oestrogen-like effect, which could promote the growth of breast cancer cells. However, this claim needs more specific research to be convincing. For now, there is no evidence which suggests the parabens found in the tissues of breast tumours are concentrated from the use of deodorant or antiperspirants. I am not advocating the idea that “millions of people who use those products are more likely to get breast cancer.” It’s preposterously terrifying and almost definitely untrue. However, it opened my eyes to the threat that some people think deodorant possesses.

If you google “deodorant, death”, there have been some tragedies related to the misuse of deodorants and body spray. Most of them happened in confined spaces. I understand, truly and with empathy, that it is hard and almost humiliating for us who, instead of perfect, glistening six-packs, possess a massive, jingling paunch, to stand before the open window and lustfully spray deodorants all over our naked bodies after a shower. However, if you choose a more modest location, like a bathroom, apparently you should make sure the door or top window is open and spray the product over yourself moderately. This is because apart from allergic skin reactions and asthma, inhaling deodorant excessively could actually cause breathing difficulties.

Some people have even said that using body sprays obliterates your “natural” charms for the opposite sex. Deodorants normally contain ingredients such as alcohol and antimicrobials to kill bacteria (which turn the odourless sweat into a musky smell) and include fragrance to mask “rude” smells. Antiperspirants have aluminium salts dissolved in sweat, forming a coat of gel to cover the sweat glands. Thus, it reduces the amount of sweat. In other words, deodorants alter our natural smell, destroying our individuality, while antiperspirants prevent us from sweating which helps us to cool down. Researchers at the University of California have said male sweat causes female hormones to rise, with the results of their improved mood and “significantly higher” sexual arousal due to the androstadienone found in men’s sweat. While women’s hormone levels appear to be affected by androstadienone, it is also claimed that there is no hard evidence of its effect of drugging women towards swooning over sweaty men. Certainly after exercising I too have not found any evidence of this.

Although the myth of the potential breast cancer risk is unconvincingly founded on inadequate evidence, deodorants have taken some young lives. Combined with the possibility of increased attractiveness should we shun the spray, maybe we should ask ourselves how necessary these products are. They cost us money, they make us less attractive and they have been known to kill people. I can’t think of any better reasons to fight against these products!

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