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What Deodorant Companies Aren't Telling You

May 31, 2018 1 Comment

What Deodorant Companies Aren't Telling You

What Deodorant Companies Aren’t Telling You

Did you know a 2013 study found that female's who use powders in their underwear and crotch area are 20-30% more likely to have ovarian cancer than those who didn’t use any powder. 

Socially, we don’t really talk about sweating because sweating is supposed to be embarrassing. We’re socially conditioned to think that sweating is gross. But, it’s not. It’s natural and people who sweat easily have an efficient cooling system

So, let’s talk about sweating in your crotch. 

Why do we get sweaty in our crotch anyways? Well, it’s close to the core of our body which is the warmest spot. There are also several curves and creases of skin which, are perfect areas to trap heat and sweat. Also, if you're sitting, heat will increase in certain areas (e.g., armpits, under-breasts, around and under the belly, where the crotch touches our thighs, or where the belly rests on the thighs). As a designer, 

Here are a few thermal images from a study I conducted. Take a look at some of the hot spots below. The images demonstrate the skin temperates of the torso and crotch region of one plus-size woman. The white color indicates the hottest temperature. The picture on the top right is the participant lifting her belly to get a better look at the heat under her fold.The space between the legs and core of the body are the hottest. These pictures were taken in a 73 degree F room after the participant had been sitting and resting for at least 15 minutes. 

If you're outside on a hot day, your entire body may naturally produce more sweat to keep you cool. But, this sweating doesn't always help us feel comfortable. Here's the deal, no matter what size you are, we all have skin that sweats. We all have places that get sweatier than others. Some of us also have to be careful of skin places that can rub and chafe. For example, armpits on underarm, under/ between breasts, around and under the belly, where the crotch touches our thighs, or between the thighs).

Most Americans use deodorant, sprays, powders and creams to manage sweating, moisture and chub rub. Chub rub is a red rash or sore from skin to skin friction. Chub rub is exacerbated with moisture and heat. Especially if moisture cannot escape your clothes - it can make your skin and clothes wet - leaving you with that soggy feeling.

In my research, I’ve found that nearly 75% of 423 plus-size women use deodorant or powders to help manage sweating. Women listed using deodorant or powders in their underwear, in between their thighs, on the top of the thighs closest to the crotch crease, under the belly, between back fat folds, and between and under their breasts. With the majority increasing use during the summer months. 

Deodorants and antiperspirants are used commonly to reduce moisture and control odor, but what companies don’t like to tell you is that microscopic Aluminum is the primary ingredient. Aluminum is a metal used to “block” sweat glands that decreases a person's sweat by an average of 20%. Sounds great right? Well, the problem with aluminum is that it can pose serious health risks, like Alzheimer's Disease and breast cancerConventional deodorants and antiperspirants are absorbed through the skin, and after many years of using these products, a lot of chemical residues have built up on a person's skin. Our sweat glands are used to help release toxins from our bodies as well as keep us cool. Repeated blockage prevents our armpit lymph nodes and sweat glands from doing their job resulting in health risks. Medical Doctors and Nurses suggest armpit detox to those who have been using aluminum based deodorants for many years. Now, onto powders.

Powders such as Talc and Baby Powder are made from talc, a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. In its natural form, some talc contains asbestos, a substance known to cause cancers. Talc is the main ingredient in Baby powder which has also been found dangerous for women’s health. The skin is the bodies largest organ and has the ability to absorb (called dermal absorption). Dermal absorption is the transport of a chemical from the outer surface of the skin both into the skin and into the body. Studies show that absorption of chemicals through the skin can occur without being felt or noticed. 

Deodorants and powders are absorbed into the skin and this process if not felt by the wearer yet, has been found to result in serious health risks. In 2017, Johnson and Johnson paid out 417 million dollars to a longtime user of the powder who has ovarian cancer. One 2013 study analyzed nearly 20,000 people and found that those who used any type of powder in or around their crotch were 20% to 30% more likely to have ovarian cancer than those who didn’t use any powder.


The findings led the researchers to suggest that “avoidance of genital powders may be a possible strategy to reduce ovarian cancer .

Ultimately, what we want: is to be comfortable. This means both physically and emotionally. If we don't use deodorant and powders, what can we do to manage a sweaty crotch? Here are my tips.


Wear cotton underwear.

  • Cotton is naturally hypoallergenic, absorbs moisture, is soft, breathable and will wash 100% clean (read more about cotton in another blog). Synthetics trap moisture between underwear and your skin. This can perpetuate chafing. If you can, avoid wearing any polyester or synthetic underwear in hot weather. When I found out that many Women wear polyester underwear and use baby powder to help manage sweat and chaffing, I knew that through better product design we could reduce the need to use cancer causing products and increase comfort,
Wear excellent fitting underwear.
    • Fit is really important, you want to find underwear that doesn’t pinch your skin or ride up and bunch. You do want to make sure your underwear covers your crotch all the way. If the crotch isn’t wide enough or the rise isn’t high enough, you might experience skin on skin contact and friction.
Wear Wicking fabric.
  • Finding a cotton based underwear with moisture wicking properties is ideal for a sweaty crotch. It's the perfect combination of natural cotton benefits paired with modern technology. Cotton Inc. developed a quick drying, moisture wicking cotton that is amazing. It has the ability to move moisture from your skin, through the fabric and spread the moisture so it can dry quicker. This technique keeps the skin dry and cool. In my research, I found this moisture wicking cotton keeps skin folds up to 3 degrees cooler. A three degree temperature difference is a significant difference for skin and overall body comfort. 

We deserve to be comfortable without risking our health or livelihood. Thanks so much for reading about getting sweaty down there and let me know if you have any questions!

Much Love, 

Dr. Deb

1 Response

Becca Palm
Becca Palm

June 06, 2018

Great Video and Info Dr, Deb. It’s about time we bring the taboo topics to the table. Good work!!

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