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Do You Really Need Whole Body Deodorant?

Let Us Sweat In Peace! Why This Editor Refuses To Wear Full Body Deodorant

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"Smell that!" My partner exclaimed, cheekily throwing his sweat-drenched T-shirt at me with pride. Eurgh, gross. Why on earth would I want to smell his top and why does he think it would be funny to do so? I politely declined his offer and asked if he would want to smell my dirty gym clothes. You would think I was asking him to sniff soiled underwear โ€” the colour drained from his face. "I will take that as a no," I retorted, throwing back his top and walking out the room.

As someone who is not a pretty sweat-er, (hello red, swollen, blotchy face) I have never been one for a gym selfie. And to be honest I prefer hiding at the back of a fitness class, to being exposed in a gym, something which can sometimes make me feel quite anxious. But this is mainly down to the fear my tricep curl technique will be judged or someone will wonder why I'm so red-faced on the running machine when my speed is set at 6kph. I can't say I have ever worried about how much I've sweated or if I smelled after a workout. I definitely didn't expect the idea of my post-gym clothes to cause this level of repulsion. This got me wondering why it is fair for men to proudly sweat, and even smell, and for us women to have to maintain a level of hygiene to be deemed respectful?

It's a debate that's surfaced again with the rise in demand for whole body deodorant. Google searches up +150% and a spate of brands are launching full body deodorant products in the US. Don't get me wrong I have sometimes recoiled in shock at my own pong post gym-session โ€” even after a pre workout shower and a slathering of deodorant โ€” but a quick shower and I'm as good as new. Is there really a need to ensure you don't sweat or smell all over? And are men worrying about it in the way it seems women are expected to?

Image Source: Rebecca Conway

Body Builder and Personal Trainer, Rebecca Conway knows this struggle only too well, "I find as women, we are under more pressure to meet society's standards on what and how we should present ourselves," she tells POPSUGAR UK. "From cute gym fits to wearing makeup and smothering ourselves in perfume to avoid 'smelling'."

According to Pippa Harman, co-founder at skin-care prescription website Renude, the answer is no. "Our armpits contain apocrine sweat glands, which produce the type of lipid-rich sweat which is associated with body odour," she tells POPSUGAR UK. "These glands are only present in other specific areas of the body such as the ears and nipples, so a whole body product is not needed."

However, former west end performer and co-founder of natural deodorant brand Akt London Ed Currie disagrees. "If you're active, like we were in the theatre โ€” doing eight shows a week under hot lights โ€” you'll know how sweaty and smelly you can get, and not just in your underarms," he tells POPSUGAR UK. "And show lights are unforgiving when it comes to sweat patches! When we first created AKT our colleagues in the theatre used it on their foreheads and forearms, backs, balls, pubic region, perineum - hairy or not! But that's because AKT helps to keep you dry too - as well as smelling fresh."

I can completely understand those in the public spotlight being wary of sweat patches, but does the average person need to worry about it or are we, particularly as women, holding ourselves to unrealistic expectations? Conway, who has competed in the UK Body Building championships, believes this could be the case but also understands there is a difference between wanting to look good and worrying about sweat. "As a full time personal trainer, I am in the gym environment 24/7 to work AND train so I take pride in my appearance as it makes me feel more confident and comfortable within myself," she tells POPSUGAR UK. "However, when I train, I don't care how much I sweat as I'm doing it for me, I'm not trying impress people whilst working on myself."

Bounce Body Fit Class
Image Source:Chris Perry Photography

Kim Perry, CEO and founder of Bouncefitbody, thinks we need to remove this pressure and embrace our workout. "Sweating during exercise is a biological response, akin to heavy breathing or flushed skin," she tells POPSUGAR UK. "At ((BOUNCE)), there's no pressure to conform to anyone's beauty standards but your own. We champion the freedom to embrace your authentic self, whether you choose to glam up for a fitness class or revel in your natural state. We celebrate sweat as a symbol of effort and dedication, fostering a judgment-free zone where everyone can feel their most comfortable."

Wanting to smell good is nothing new, since Ancient Greece people have used perfume and the first ever deodorant was invented in the late 19th century to combat body odour and sweat. I'm by no means endorsing bad hygiene habits, or suggesting we ditch the deo forever. I just think we also need to accept that the odd pong is ok, nothing a shower won't fix, and be more like my partner and celebrate our sweaty sessions - stink 'n' all.


Lauren Ezekiel is an associate editor at POPSUGAR UK, where she writes about all things beauty and wellness. With a degree in journalism and 12 years' experience as a beauty editor at a leading Sunday supplement, she is obsessed with skincare, hair and makeup, and is often found offering advice to innocent bystanders. Her work has been published in Grazia, OK, Health and Beauty, The Sun, ASDA, Dare and Metro.

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