Deodorants History - Invention of the Deodorant

Deodoran Spray - Cosmetics

Even before cosmetic items became part of the ancient civilizations, humans always sought the way to mask or remove body odor that accompanies perspiration or to mask fragrances from other cosmetic substances that they have applied to their bodies. Because scientist did not manage to successfully determine what is the cause of the offensive body odor, for the majority of modern history people fought against offensive smells with the use of perfumes. Even regular washing of the body did not managed to save us for a long time, because mass use of soap became popular only in 18thand 19thcentury when advancements in chemistry enabled production of industrial soap.

Body odor is the process of bacterial interaction with the sweat that is produced by our sweat glands in our armpits, feet and other areas of our body. To fight this odor, chemists have produced two types of deodorant.

  • Ordinary deodorants have ingredients that kill the bacteria that feed on our sweat. It’s important to note that these deodorants do not reduce the amount of swat our body produces. They only fight against bacteria.
  • Antiperspirant has ability to interact with our body, preventing the creation of sweat. This is done by pugging up the sweat glands with special salts that gradually melt away after a certain period of time. Even though antiperspirants cannot remove all the sweat perspiration, they can significantly lessen the feeling of underarm wetness.
Deodorants Bottle

The early attempts to bask body odor such as soaps, colognes and perfumes finally became obsolete in 1888 with the appearance of the first waxy antiperspirant called Mum in 1888. This product from United States was effective, but was very hard to apply and remove from body. The deodorant who was first to capture public attention was Everdy, easily-applied aluminum-chloride based antiperspirant who quickly became copied by dozens of companies. By the end of 19th century, deodorants could be found in many forms, including roll-ins, powders, creams, pads, solid, and dabbers.

One big innovation in the field of deodorant happened during 1950s when manufacturers started introducing aerosol technology. This led to the trend that over 80% of the deodorants and antiperspirants were sold with that technology by 1970s. However, 1977 was the first time when government agencies in US and EU started much harsher control over harmful ingredients in cosmetics. This led to the banning of the primary ingredient of the aerosols, aluminum zirconium complexes. In the following years, several more harmful ingredients became banned, which led to the dramatic reduction in the popularity of aerosol deodorant. But, deodorants did not disappear from the market because of that. Stick deodorant took the advantage of the moment, and with the additions of some crucial technologies (most notably ability to be contained inside drier substances) managed to achieve absolute worldwide domination.

Today, solid stick firmly hold absolute first place of deodorant and antiperspirants forms.