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They reduce perspiration. Ingredients include aluminium, zinc and zirconium salts; as well as fragrances, propellant or alcohol, propylene glycol and formaldehyde. Deodorants are based on antibacterial chemicals (such as triclosan) and may include antiperspirants.

It is not clearly understood why the aluminium salts reduce sweat production. In combination with the antiseptics, they prevent the growth of bacteria and formation of odour.

Health effects
Antiperspirants can cause allergic reactions, such as rashes, in persons sensitive to chemicals and deodorants may provoke a range of reactions (see Cosmetics ). Aerosol sprays, like other spray products, can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and skin.

All aluminium-based sprays (but especially those containing zirconium) should be used cautiously, as should those with propylene glycol, a low molecular weight glycol (see Solvents ).

Environmental effects
CFC propellants are no longer used in aerosol deodorants. The hydrocarbons which have replaced them contribute to the greenhouse effect and to air pollution. Roll-on, stick and cream antiperspirants are preferable in every case and may be available in refill packs.

Alternatives
Wash daily to remove sweat and bacteria which cause odour. Avoid tight-fitting synthetic clothing if prone to excessive perspiration. Products containing triclosan should be avoided (see Antibacterial chemicals ) and herbal and crystal deodorants are available from health food stores.

 
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