If you're dealing with an unpleasant odor from your groin, you might wonder if deodorant will do the trick. While you'll find some advice out there telling you to slather deodorant or antiperspirant in your nether regions to control smell and moisture, there are some compelling reasons why you might want to find a different solution.
Firstly, several questionable ingredients are commonly found in deodorants and antiperspirants that might cause long-term health problems.
Secondly, the groin is an incredibly sensitive region that is really good at absorbing chemicals and substances you put on it.
Thirdly, that same sensitivity can create an outcome where your attempted solution leaves you burning, itching, or with skin irritation.
Let's dive deep into whether it's safe to put deodorant or antiperspirants on your groin and look at some alternatives and tips for staying fresh, dry, and odor-free.
Is Putting Deodorant on Your Groin Safe?
Before answering this question, we'll want to look at what exactly deodorant is (and what it isn't.) The words deodorant and antiperspirant are often used interchangeably, but the two body products actually aren't the same.
Deodorant is, as the name suggests, a product that is intended to help deodorize (get it?) smelly regions of your body. Basically, they help to control the odor that is associated with sweating.
Antiperspirants, on the other hand, can actively reduce the amount you sweat; this can help to reduce excessive sweat and underarm wetness.
We often think sweat is stinky, but that isn't the case. Sweat doesn't have an odor. What does have a gnarly smell is the process of bacteria on the skin metabolizing sweat.
The way that deodorants work to reduce odor is by creating a more acidic environment on the skin, typically through the use of alcohol. This acidic environment helps to reduce the bacteria that produce the unpleasant smell associated with sweating.
Antiperspirants block the sweat ducts, usually using aluminum chloride and other aluminum compounds. For people who sweat more than usual or are trying to decrease wetness under their arms, antiperspirants can help.
We know what you're thinking. Sounds like the perfect thing to help keep your groin area dry, right? Wrong.
There are a number of health concerns associated with the presence of aluminum and other compounds in antiperspirants. Considering that your groin is one of the body's most sensitive regions and tends to absorb pesticides and toxins to a greater degree than other, less sensitive parts of the body, regularly rubbing antiperspirant around your nether region isn't a good long-term strategy.
Understanding the Health Risks of Deodorant and Antiperspirant
If you're still feeling the urge to use antiperspirants or deodorant to control odor and wetness below the belt, stick with us for a moment as we go through some of the nasty ingredients that are common in these body products.
Familiarizing yourself with the often mysterious ingredients in deodorant and antiperspirant can allow you to decide whether you want to be slathering them between your legs.
If you look at the list of ingredients on an antiperspirant stick, you'll most likely see some aluminum of various types in there.
Aluminum has been connected to diseases like Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer. That being said, the director of medical content for the American Cancer Society says that there isn't convincing evidence to prove that the risk of cancer is increased by using deodorant or antiperspirants.
On the other hand, research by an oncologist at the University of Reading, Philippa Darbre, found that aluminum can cause "gene instability" in breast tissue, which might promote tumor or cancer cell growth.
In terms of Alzheimer's, it's worth noting that there is no specific agreed-upon cause for the disease in the medical community. There is a lot of controversy about whether aluminum exposure is linked with Alzheimer's disease, with some researchers arguing that there is "solid experimental evidence" that aluminum significantly contributes to Alzheimer's disease and the Alzheimer's society saying that:
"At present, there is no strong evidence to support the fears that coming into contact with metals… increases your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease."
According to the CDC, high levels of aluminum exposure has been linked to respitory and neurological issues.
For example, it can:
Cause lung problems when aluminum dust is inhaled
Be potentially linked to kidney disease and bone or brain diseases
Be potentially linked to Alzheimer's disease, but the studies are inconclusive at this time
Have an impact on the nervous system in animal studies
At this point, the Department of Health and Human Services and the EPA haven't evaluated whether aluminum has the potential to cause cancer in humans.
In deodorants and a number of other personal care products, a variety of parabens are commonly used as preservatives. Studies suggest that some parabens might interfere with the hormone regulation and production of the body, including estrogen.
This is another area where a lot more research is needed. There are disagreements within the medical world about whether parabens in deodorant can cause or contribute to cancer. At the same time, there is lab evidence that does back up the concerns surrounding parabens.
Triclosan is a chemical that appears in a number of common products, including anti-acne products, sanitizing hand soaps, and some antiperspirants and deodorants.
Triclosan, a chemical used to kill bacteria on the skin's surface and prevent bacterial contamination, is another chemical that needs to be more closely studied regarding how it impacts human health.
The FDA reports that short-term animal studies have found that a decrease in some thyroid hormones has been found in association with high doses of triclosan. Other research has found that triclosan exposure might contribute to producing bacteria that are antibiotic resistant.
A wide variety of personal care products and cosmetics contain phthalates, which are chemical compounds developed to increase the durability of plastics. Some of the most common phthalate esters that are used in cosmetics, including deodorants, are:
Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
There is evidence that suggests that phthalates stick to your skin and disrupt "androgen function," meaning that it interrupts the way that your body produces and uses testosterone.
Any dude thinking about putting deodorant on his groin will likely perk his ears up here. The greatest concern regarding phthalates is that they could harm men's reproductive abilities and even impact fetal development when used by pregnant women.
When a product has a fragrance that lingers for a long time after its application, it likely has phthalates. This includes soap, lotion, shampoo, and, yes, deodorant.
5. Propylene Glycol
Used in antifreeze and requiring special handling and disposal according to the EPA, propylene glycol can also be found as a food additive and in some cosmetic products. In deodorants, it's used to make application easier and soften the product.
Research has found that large amounts of propylene glycol are necessary for adverse health effects to be experienced, but there is another concern with this synthetic organic compound. Because propylene glycol is used as a penetration enhancer, it means that it can help your skin absorb other harmful chemicals if they are present in the same product.
Finally, many deodorants and antiperspirants have "perfume" or "fragrance" listed as an ingredient. Since scents are protected under trade law, you simply can't know what chemicals are included in your deodorant's fragrance.
It's possible that these chemicals include substances that could cause skin irritation or allergies, or they might be phthalates.
Deodorant Alternatives For Your Groin
Ok, so when you consider all of the questionable ingredients that might be deodorant and antiperspirants, along with the fact that your groin area absorbs chemicals to a greater extent than other parts of the body, putting these body products that are intended for use under your arms between your legs probably isn't a good idea.
Beyond that, deodorant alone won't do anything to deal with any moisture problems you have down there, and antiperspirant can lead to unpleasant irritation because the region is so sensitive.
Luckily, you have other options. Through a combination of natural products specifically designed for your groin area and some healthy lifestyle habits, you can keep moisture and odor at bay.
1. Ball Powder
If you're constantly battling sweaty, smell balls and their unfortunate consequences (i.e., chafe and other incredibly unpleasant conditions), it's time to incorporate ball powder into your daily routine.
One thing to know about ball powder is that one of the key ingredients primarily used to reduce sweating and odor was talc. Talc was great at reducing excess moisture but not so great because it would sometimes be contaminated by asbestos. Not good.
That's why we go a different route when it comes to creating a moisture-reducing, odor-eliminating ball powder. We only use premium ingredients in all of our men's personal care products, and the entire line of products is free from talc, parabens, aluminum, and menthol.
If you're dealing with odor and moisture "down there," ball powder is a much better alternative to using a deodorant stick. Our Premium Powder uses Hydro-Shield technology and all-natural ingredients to ensure that your day is free from odor, sweat and chafing.
2. Shower Regularly
Whether you're worried about sweat or a nasty smell, regular showers and good hygiene can go a long way. Make sure you're changing your underwear regularly to ensure that the area stays as dry and clean as possible.
Our Shower Primer has been specially formulated to fight odor, moisturize, and chafing. Smell bad now? This body wash will banish the sweat smell. Worried about smelling bad later? We've got you covered there, too.
All of the ingredients in our proprietary blend are natural– like oatmeal, witch hazel, pumpkin seed extract, and hops. You don't ever have to worry about parabens, aluminum, or talc when you use Chassis products.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Your diet can have an impact on body odor, body temperature, and sweat production. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water– which can help your body maintain its optimal temperature and reduce sweating– and eat your fruits and veggies. Beyond that, calcium-rich foods and B vitamin-rich foods can help to reduce sweating.
You might be surprised to learn that your diet is one of the major causes of crotch odor. Other culprits include excessive sweating,
4. Consider Wearing Boxers Instead of Briefs
Keeping your groin area dry is important in reducing chafing and controlling odor. Wearing cotton boxers rather than tight briefs made out of synthetic fabrics can help things stay cooler and drier down there.
At the same time, moisture-wicking fabric might be the better choice if it's really hot out or you're doing exercise. While cotton is really good at letting your private parts breathe, it's also really good at holding moisture like a wet towel.
If chafing has been the bane of your existence recently, make sure you check out this article about why body powder with cooling action can help nip chafing in the bud.
5. Choose Natural or Moisture-Wicking Fabrics
Beyond your underwear, consider wearing cotton clothes and other natural, breathable fabrics. The more space you can give your groin to breathe, the less hot and humid the area will be. Another often recommended option is moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics.
It's also important to change your clothes whenever they get wet or you've been sweating. Don't hang around in your gym clothes all day– take a shower and put on some fresh duds immediately. This will help to reduce both moisture and odor.
Looking for more ways to keep your balls fresh? Find more tips and tricks here.
Everyone is different, and there are tons of different deodorant and antiperspirant products out there. Maybe you've found a product that works wonders for you, and that's great. However, there are several reasons why it's worth taking a second look at the ingredients list of any deodorants or antiperspirants you're thinking about putting on your groin area and some compelling reasons why alternatives like all-natural ball powder are a safer choice.
If you're ready to invest in being sweat-free, odor-free, chafe-free, and nasty chemical-free, you can check out our entire line of man care products on our online store.