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Will being Surer make me un-Sure?
March 16, 2009 9:30 AM   Subscribe

If I start using deodorant will I start producing unpleasant BO?

I don't use deodorant (or an antiperspirant) but I want to because I like the smell. Whenever I run into a guy that smells good most of the time it's due to his deodorant.

I do wear cologne but it fades before the end of the day... people have to bunch up my shirt and stick their nose directly unto it to notice the scent. I could bathe in the stuff but I don't think anyone would enjoy that.
Same with scented soap--although the soap fades much faster.
The new laundry scent on my clothes can last a whole day but it also requires direct nose contact to be noticable.

I don't need deodorant. I've never noticed any ... off smells before, neither have my very honest friends or exes (I've asked). I barely sweat under my arms too. My calves will be dripping sweat before my pits even show hints of perspiration.

So, now my biggest fear is that once I start using it I'll start needing it. I've read comments on deodorant related threads here where people say that they never realized how bad their BO was until they started using deodorant. Could that happen to me (despite my lack of offensive BO to begin with)?

Are there any other risks I should consider?
I understand that aluminum could be dangerous in antiperspirants but I'm only looking at deodorants.
I also don't consider it a risk that people might be offended/irritated/angered by my choice in scents or products... although, I promise I won't overdo it.
I also understand that smelling like nothing or "only noticing your cologne when my nose is touching your skin" can be desirable, but it's not what I want.
I love smelling people who smell good... and I want to smell good too.
posted by simplethings to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
 
You don't need deodorant, so don't use deodorant. Get a body powder you like the smell of or find a better cologne.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2009


I don't use deodorant, I shower semi-regularly and that seems to suffice. Any time I do implement deodorant it tends to give my armpits a sour, sickening smell. I did at some point have a more organic deodorant and its reaction to my body was less offensive.

I'll never understand our fascination with putting a multitude of chemicals on our body in order to mask our beautiful natural smells.
posted by cloeburner at 9:39 AM on March 16, 2009


I don't think so. The only issue would be the fact that once you stopped smelling yourself in the 'background' all the time, once you start smelling yourself only on rare occasions it will be a lot more noticeable.

Just like how a cigarette smoker who quits will suddenly notice just how bad all of their clothes stick after going to a smoke filled bar. Cigarette smoke didn't suddenly start smelling bad because they quit, but rather they only noticed it because it ceased to be a constant.
posted by delmoi at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2009


I doubt "people have to bunch up my shirt and stick their nose directly unto it to notice the scent." More likely you don't notice it 'cause you've been inured to the scent by breathing it all day. If you really do need a refresher, just throw an atomizer with your favorite scent in your purse (backpack, car trunk, pocket, whatever) and respray as necessary throughout the day.
posted by torquemaniac at 9:50 AM on March 16, 2009


I'm jealous of people who don't need deodorant. If you don't need it, don't use it. I don't know how to answer how deodorant will affect you beyond that, though.

If what you want is a good, long-lasting smell, go with a good-smelling shampoo. Shampoo smell seems to stick a lot longer on people than cologne, and is more noticeable (and generally sexier!) than deodorant smell.

With both shampoo and deodorant, I only notice the way I smell if I've recently changed brands. You'll stop smelling yourself after a while when you get used to it.

Spraying scents on my clothes instead of on my skin also seems to help the scent stick around longer.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:54 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, there is a difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. Antiperspirant keeps you from sweating and generally contains aluminum. Deodorant is just a fragranced product designed to mask the odor of perspiration. It's very similar to a cologne in this way and if you use just a deodorant that does not contain an antiperspirant, then you should not suffer and of the ill affects that antiperspirants tend to have (whatever those may be). If you like how it smells, I think you'd be fine to use spray-on deodorant (but don't overdose; people really shouldn't be able to smell you unless they are right up near you).
posted by Polychrome at 10:17 AM on March 16, 2009


Also, a lot of fragrance lines carry deodorants in addition to colognes (if it's very popular). Your cologne may come in a deodorant or other body products that you could layer with the cologne itself to make it last longer.
posted by Polychrome at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2009


Sweat itself is not what produces unpleasant BO, sweat on its own has relatively little smell. What produces bad BO is when it goes stale, as bacteria break down the rich nutrients in it, and the smell is the result of their waste products. With frequent washing, you will build up less BO even without using deodorant, although climate does have an effect as the bacteria thrive in warm, moist areas (armpits, groin, between toes etc) and a warm and humid climate helps them. Also some people's bodies create a more fertile environment for many reasons, like the amount of heat their body releases and the pH of their skin.

I would suspect that such people only notice their BO by comparison - you quickly get used to a smell, or lack thereof so the contrast is more marked. It doesn't sound like you have any need for antiperspirants, you seem to be quite lucky in that respect. I would consider using just a deodorant, if you find its smell particularly pleasant.

I don't know enough to comment on what might cause antiperspirant to detract from someone's odour rather than improving it though.
posted by fearnothing at 10:25 AM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Buy some nicer cologne and take it with you to reapply - also, just because you cannot smell the scent that does not mean nobody else can. The only time I notice a scent I wear throughout the day is if it is not my usual scent, because my nose is not used to it.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:35 AM on March 16, 2009


Have you thought about solid perfume/cologne? It sticks around much longer.
posted by melissam at 10:40 AM on March 16, 2009


I'm jealous of people who don't need deodorant.

I don't think these people exist.

Oh, I know there's no shortage of people who believe they need no deodorant.

They're easy to count: I smell them daily.
posted by rokusan at 11:04 AM on March 16, 2009 [12 favorites]


I don't think these people exist.

Oh, I know there's no shortage of people who believe they need no deodorant.

They're easy to count: I smell them daily.


They really do exist. I'm one of them. Oh, and I do smell sometimes. When it's really hot out, or if I do a real workout. Oh, and the nervous sweat, like when you have to take a hard test, that smells. So I use deodorant occasionally, and a single stick lasts me for a good 2 years. But day-to-day? No need. Really.
posted by explosion at 12:14 PM on March 16, 2009


If you don't NEED to put deodorant on your armpits and you're afraid that putting it on will make your armpits create a weird smell, maybe try putting a little bit of clear/nowhitesmudges deodorant on your shoulder or upper arm, so the smell still comes from that general area but you won't mess up your armpit chemistry. I know if I use one brand of deodorant for too long it starts making my armpits smell funky so I always switch back and forth between a couple different ones, so I can see being paranoid about it messing up your natural non-smelliness. Or maybe just find some man-lotion (you're male, I think?) or like someone said above, spray cologne on clothes, it'll last longer.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 12:23 PM on March 16, 2009


I don't think these people exist.

I'm certainly not one of them, but they definitely exist. It's kind of sickening. The only way it could be worse is if the person is also a morning person. "How are you this morning!? I haven't taken a shower since Friday, but as soon as I'm done with my after-work workout, I'm going to take one then after I meet up with some friends." And they don't have a smell. It's flat out sickening. Bastards.
posted by cashman at 12:26 PM on March 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Most of the time, a person that has a persistent good smell is using body powder after they shower. That stuff lasts a long time.
posted by wierdo at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2009


Only if you use somebody else's. Several years ago, I used my boyfriends deodorant and "caught" his peculiarly pungent bacterial flora. Needless to say I was pissed. Rubbing alcohol and a few good dollops of handgel will cure any smell like magic.
posted by aquafortis at 12:55 PM on March 16, 2009


I don't think these people exist.
They really do exist. I'm one of them.

No. You're not.
posted by rokusan at 7:21 AM on March 17, 2009


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