Sweating is part of life, deodorant should be. Stroll through a men’s locker room and you’ll find out that sometimes it’s a big part of it. It’s a body function often related to exercise, but it is caused by other factors too. Illness, a hyperactive thyroid, spicy foods, hot liquids, telling a lie, and nervousness can all cause it. So can the sun – on hot days, doing nothing outside is enough for the average person to take a not-so-refreshing shower in their own perspiration.
Everyone knows that they sweat – well, maybe not everyone. Maybe not the guy down the street nicknamed “B.O. Beau.” But most people are aware that certain activities elicit all kinds of moisture.
However, while we know that sweating is a thing, we might not always know why.
Why We Sweat
Per Kids Health, sweating is actually beneficial to us, even if it’s a pain in the pits. It helps maintain body temperature by cooling us down. When we sweat as a result of nerves, it’s due to the emotions affecting the sweat glands and kicking them into hyperdrive. This happens when we lie because we’re nervous about getting caught.
Pinocchio, whose nose grew whenever he lied, would have been more accurate if he simply broke out in sweat. But, oh well, that movie is probably not even a true story anyway.
A person doesn’t really begin to sweat until they go through puberty and our sweat glands (or which there are around three million) become more active. The sweat glands in the armpits, groin, palms, and hands, and the soles of the feet are the most active.
Sweat itself doesn’t cause odor, but it comes into contact with bacteria on our skin and this results in B.O.
Yet, not everyone’s odor is on the same level: some people have it worse than others. Part of this has to do with the prevalence of sweat – some people sweat more often. Bigger people sweat more than smaller people (even if they’re not overweight) because they generate more heat and need their bodies to cool down. And some people are more bacteria-prone than others: even if they sweat less, the bacterium on their body makes them smell worse.
There are ways to thwart all this – bathing and showering daily (especially after workouts or spending time in the hot sun), wearing clothes made of cotton or linen (donning a wool sweater as you head to the beach is probably not the sharpest idea), putting underarm shields in your clothes inside the armpit area, and, naturally, using deodorant.
How Deodorant Works
According to Mental Floss, the American Chemical Society knows exactly why deodorant works – it essentially knocks out bacterial function.
The armpits are filled with bacteria (don’t ever eat off of them!). In fact, there are one million bacteria per square inch on the average person’s armpits. They invade body fat and the proteins produced by the skin, ultimately producing chemicals that smell not-so-pleasant. Some people described the smell as “onion-like” while others simply know it as B.O.
Deodorant fights chemicals with its own chemicals – it contains chemicals that block bacteria, thus stopping the smell in the process. Some types of deodorant contain triclosan, an ingredient that makes the armpit salty – too salty for bacteria to live.
Some types of deodorant contain triclosan, an ingredient that makes the armpit salty – too salty for bacteria to live
Antiperspirants use salt but in a different manner – they use aluminum salts to plug the sweat glands, essentially preventing you from sweating. This prevents odor too – no sweat means no sweat mixing with bacteria. Some antiperspirants also kill bacteria with antimicrobials.
Even though we prefer that people wear deodorant (if they’re going to be around us, that is), science does back the YOLO with BO to a point. Before deodorant became mainstream, it’s believed that the skin naturally contained other types of bacteria that inhibited smell, rather than showcasing it. Today, there are a handful of companies that sell bacteria aimed to reduce a person’s need for deodorant.
Cannabis deodorant isn’t deodorant that smells like a skunk (though I’m sure that’s coming). Rather, it’s deodorant derived from hemp. Rawganique is a company that sells this deodorant as a roll-on or twist up. It comes in four scents – lavender, tea tree, fresh, and unscented. It’s made of certified organic hemp oil, aloe vera, witch hazel, clove bud, glycerin, baking soda, as well as a few other things. It’s paraben-free, propylene glycol-free, and aluminum-free.
The company claims it offers 24-hour natural protection and lists several benefits, including:
Natural mineral salts that eliminate odor-causing bacteria
Alcohol-free (bad at a bar, good for products)
It leaves no white residue (anyone who has ever put on deodorant and then pulled on a black top can relate to the importance of this)
Not tested on animals
Gentle and non-irritating for all skin types.
The company is charitable to – 1% of profits go to breast cancer prevention.
Their choice of charity is interesting, given that deodorant that contains aluminum and parabens has been investigated as a possible carcinogen. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, a link hasn’t yet been established.
Still, some scientists theorize that deodorant with aluminum may increase risk because it’s applied near the breast and it has estrogen-like effects. Estrogen can promote breast cancer cells, leaving people to wonder if aluminum does the same. But, no clear connection has been made.
Parabens, preservatives used in some deodorants and a variety of beauty products, can also mimic estrogen activity. While parabens have been found inside breast tumors, there isn’t evidence that they cause tumors. But, for many of us, it may be much ado about nothing in our bathroom cabinet: most deodorants sold in the US don’t contain parabens. If you want to know what’s in your deodorant (or other household products), visit the Household Products Database.
Of course, you may not care about aluminum and parabens and simply want to try cannabis deodorant for another reason (or just for the hell of it). Yet, the question remains, does it work? The manufacturers claim it does, not shockingly, and it’s too new to gauge public opinion. I did order some, though. When it gets here, I’ll put it on and run four miles at the local gym. If I get dirty looks from anyone standing nearby, I’ll let you know.