Although sweating is a normal bodily function that is necessary for temperature regulation of the body, most people don't appreciate the odour associated with it. As a result, many people wear deodorants or antiperspirants to hide the smell. Dove antiperspirant, for example, is a popular product that many women use to prevent underarm odour. Some side effects that have been reported with use of such antiperspirant products include increased risk of cancer, increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, allergic reactions and skin discolouration.
Antiperspirants contain parabens, which are antifungal ingredients used as preservatives in many beauty products as well as some prepared foods. Parabens can accumulate in the body, and mimic the hormone oestrogen. Excess oestrogen in the body has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. It should be noted, however, that the increased risk of breast cancer as a result of antiperspirant use has never been scientifically proven.
Antiperspirants contain aluminium zirconium, an ingredient that works to clog pores under the armpits and prevent sweating. Aluminium zirconium found in antiperspirants can remain in the body for over two weeks after topical application. Aluminium in the body can cause neurological damage such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and can lead to memory problems. This ingredient is not found in deodorants, making it unique to antiperspirant products.
Because the underarm skin is thinner than on other places of the body, it is more fragile and prone to irritation. The friction of the underarm area caused by body movement can further irritate this delicate skin, and razor burn adds to the irritation as well. Individuals who may be especially sensitive to aluminium zirconium include those suffering from diabetes or those who have difficulty controlling yeast overgrowth in the body. Dove antiperspirant also contains fragrances, which may further irritate the skin of some people, particularly if they already have a known fragrance allergy. Symptoms of allergic reactions to the ingredients of antiperspirants include itching, sensitive or burning skin.
If an individual experiences irritation or sensitivity to antiperspirants and continues to use these products, the underarm skin can become inflamed and darker in pigmentation. Usually, the level of skin discolouration depends on the darkness of the individual's baseline skin tone. Discontinuing use of the product causing the irritation should lead to a more normal skin pigmentation over time. The use of bleaching products is not recommended for the underarm area, since underarm skin so is delicate that it would likely become further irritated by use of these products.
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