Petroleum Product of the Week: Deodorant

Petroleum Product of the Week: Deodorant

By on Apr 20 2018

Humans may be the only mammals with a written language, but we're certainly not the only ones who sweat. Animals who are mammals have sweat glands, it's just that some have more than others. Most, like dogs and cats, have a small number, which is why they need to regulate their body heat through other means, such as panting. Primates and horses, however, have a lot of sweat glands and can sweat as much as humans do. What sets humans apart, though, from these other sweaty mammals is the means to which we'll go to combat the stink.

B.O.? Better get your deo.

Sometimes, humans stink. We always have and it might just be that we always will (pending certain biological advances, I'm sure). Unless we're talking about cave people, humankind has cared about how we smell to varying degrees. Before frequent bathing (and washing clothes) became commonplace, people would use colognes, perfumes, and herbs to mask the smell of body odor. If you've ever been around a teenager who liberally applies body spray too often and in excess, your nostrils may get the picture.

Then along came a little thing called commercial deodorant.

Edna Murphey of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania developed and patented the first commercial deodorant, Mum, in 1888. The name was a play on the popular phrase, "Mum's the word, " because nobody wants to talk about bodily excretions (especially during the Victorian era). This jarred cream contained a zinc compound and people applied it with their fingertips. Bristol-Myers bought the company in 1931 and later rebranded it Ban with the development of their roll-on applicator.

The first antiperspirant commercially available was Everdry in 1903. Jules Montenier patented the foundation for modern antiperspirants in 1941.

Early deodorant use was meh. People didn't really see much need for it. But with the help of some good marketing, the industry boomed. Between 1942 and 1957, the deodorant market increased six hundred times to become a $70 million market.

What's in deodorant?

Deodorants and antiperspirant deodorants (they are not the same thing) contain a number of active and inactive ingredients to help prevent the odor caused by the bacterial breakdown of perspiration. Antiperspirants, besides affecting odor, also work to prevent sweating.

So, antiperspirant deodorants contain active drug ingredients to control perspiration (this is why they're considered an over the counter " drug product), gelling agents, and other ingredients to make it attractive, such as its scent or appearance. Because it's an OTC product, the FDA limits which active ingredients APD may contain. It's a relatively short list composed of aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum chloride, aluminum sulfate, and aluminum zirconium complexes. Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine is the most common.

Deodorants and APDs contain gelling agents to help form a solid stick (the most commonly purchased type of deodorant). These waxy or fatty materials include stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, hydrogenated castor oil, and glyceryl stearate. These waxes are also blended with lubricating oils and emollients which are liquid at room temperature but evaporate quickly, leaving your skin feeling smooth and dry. Many deodorants contain propylene glycol, a liquid compound derived from petroleum, natural gas, or vegetable sources. This gives deodorant very slick consistency.

Deodorants come in various forms, including sprays, crystals, and the natural variety. Natural " deodorants, free of controversial ingredients such as aluminum and PG, are becoming increasingly popular both for DIY-ers and commercial production. Depending on what you use, your deodorant may not contain petroleum. However, if it comes in a plastic stick, it's still a petroleum product!


You might also be interested in:

Newsletter | March 2023
by Petroleum Service Company on Mar 06 2023

monthly newsletter
Newsletter | February 2023
by Petroleum Service Company on Feb 13 2023

monthly newsletter
Newsletter | January 2023
by Petroleum Service Company on Jan 12 2023

monthly newsletter
blog post
DISCONTINUED - ExxonMobil Elite 20W-50 Aviation Oil
by Sarah Simonovich on Dec 21 2022

If you own an aircraft, you want to take care of it to the best of your ability. You might even avoi…
At What Temperature Does Diesel Fuel Gel?
by Sarah Simonovich on Dec 15 2022

Do your fuel problems actually stem from diesel gelling or another winter problem? As temperatures…
Power Service vs. Howes: Diesel Fuel Anti-Gels
by Sarah Simonovich on Dec 06 2022

Owners and operators of diesel-run equipment know the importance of treating their fuel, especially…
Newsletter | November 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Nov 22 2022

Our Winter Product
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | October 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Oct 21 2022

Category Spotlight: Automobile and Light Truck Lubricants Joe
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | September 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Sep 22 2022

Buy Early & Save Big: Power Service Rebate is HERE It's that
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | August 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Aug 11 2022

We are excited to announce that FUCHS Lubricants Company is now officially on the PSC pl
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | July 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Jul 14 2022

Power Service: Spring/Summer Maintenance We all know Power Service is gre
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | June 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Jun 09 2022

Video Spotlight: Coming Soon PSC on the Clock We are exci
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | May 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on May 05 2022

Savings Spotlight: Power Service Manufacturer's Rebate It's that time of th
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | April 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Apr 08 2022

Category Spotlight: Fleet & Heavy Equipment Lubricants PSC's Fleet and Heav
monthly newsletter
Newsletter | March 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Mar 04 2022

We Made Some Changes! We are always trying to improve our webite to make su
monthly newsletter
What's in a Barrel of Oil? The 42-Gallon Breakdown
by Sarah Simonovich on Mar 01 2022

Have you ever wondered what, exactly, is in a barrel of oil? It's certainly not full of monkeys, tha…
42 gallons
5 Quick Tips to Get Your Ride Ready for the Spring
by Jordan Ramirez on Feb 28 2022

Unfortunately, it's still cold outside... ...and while the wind whips and the snow continues to fal…
Newsletter | February 2022
by Petroleum Service Company on Feb 04 2022

monthly newsletter
How Does Cold Weather Affect Your Car Lubricants?
by Sarah Simonovich on Jan 21 2022

Just as cold, winter weather affects you (we typically don't don down layers in the middle of July),…
automotive lubricants
Newsletter | December 2021
by Petroleum Service Company on Dec 07 2021

Savings Spotlight: Buy In Bulk & Save You don't need to know how to spell i
monthly newsletter