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Posts to Ask Dr Stoll BB regarding Antiperspirants
There have been a few posts to the Ask Dr Stoll
Bulletin Board (BB) regarding Antiperspirants.
Many of them have been archived here. The archive is roughly chronological. I hope you find it useful.
Summary for the significance of antiperspirants & body odor:
Sweat does NOT "stink" like the deodorant manufacturers would like people to think. It is only after bacteria eat the sweat that their excretions "stink". SO, in essence what you are smelling is bacteria poop and NOT your sweat.
Only at puberty does our body develop sebaceous glands (these gland are the ones that are involved with acne, are under our arms when we start to grow hair there, and in our groin when we start to grow hair THERE. Until then, the bacterial excretions of child sweat have no odor. Have you ever seen a child with body odor?
People with chronic storage of stress-effect in the hypothalamus tend to sweat a lot. Many people try to stop that sweat by using antiperspirants so their clothing isn't stained & because some people are embarassed by under arm moisture. Of course, this is just a message from our body that we had better do something about our stored stress effect (see Modern Medical Interpretation of Stress article) This stress-effect has a lot louder messages to send us if we do not heed this relatively innocuous one.
Antiperspirants are astringents that chemically pucker up the opening to the sebaceous glands in the arm pit. It does not stop the secretion of the sebum so it builds up in the gland until the antiperspirant is gone for at least a few hours. If it is not allowed to EVER get out of the gland, it is likely to cause a cyst full of sebum and that frequently gets infected. Eventually, this can permanently damage the duct and then the only solution to the painful lumps is surgical removal. Once the condition is to this stage, it is too late to resolve it by stopping the antiperspirant.
I have seen cases that were so severe that the surgeon has to remove all of the skin in the arm pit and do a skin graft to cover the wound.
Those who have had this problem, even a little bit, all say: "If they had known of this risk they would never have used antiperspirants at all."
The solution to body odor is: Practice wellness so there is no excess perspiration; Use an antibacterial soap (Dial, Phase III, P 300, etc.) and for the first 3 months bathe all over (hair too) twice a day. This is to alter the skin bacteria so they are less likely to produce body odor when they eat your sweat. After 3 months once a day is plenty and the hair does not have to be washed with the antibacterial soap. If one can find an antibacterial shampoo, it is alright to use that. After 3 months regular shampoo is fine for daily baths.
NEVER use the same washcloth or towel twice. Washcloths and towels are made of terrycloth to help get the dead skin off and the bacteria come off with the dead skin. Until you use the cloth again, the bacteria are multiplying frantically. SO, if you use the cloth again before laundering with an antibacterial detergent and HOT water-- even drying it on the hottest setting in the dryer--you will just reinocculate your skin all over again.
The same thing goes for wearing the same underwear, shirt or blouse more than one day before laundering--and for the same reasons.
You will find that, within 3 months, you will no longer have body odor unless you go for days without bathing. If you want to use an under arm deodorant, that is OK--just avoid the antiperspirant.
There is one other cause of body odor that has nothing to do with any of the above. If you have Leaky Gut Syndrome , your colon will leak fecal material back into your bloodstream and you will have a fecal odor in your breath and on your skin. There are only 4 ways the body has to excrete toxins: dead skin (including sweat), urine, stool and breath. If colon stuff gets back into your blood, those other sites will have that odor.
There is one more thing to think of--as if by this time you needed more reasons not to use antiperspirants. That is the fact that aluminum (the basis for most antiperspirants) is now known to be directly related to Alzheimer's Disease.
After learning the above, if you still have questions, put them on the Bulletin Board.
Walt Stoll, MD
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