What is the history and manufacturing process of antiperspirant deodorant sticks?

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ssarfraz | Student, Professional | (Level 2) Honors

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HISTORY

Even before cosmetic items became part of the ancient civilizations, humans always sought the way to mask or remove body odor that accompanies perspiration or to mask fragrances from other cosmetic substances that they have applied to their bodies. Because scientist did not manage to successfully determine what is the cause of the offensive body odor, for the majority of modern history people fought against offensive smells with the use of perfumes. Even regular washing of the body did not managed to save us for a long time, because mass use of soap became popular only in 18thand 19thcentury when advancements in chemistry enabled production of industrial soap.

Body odor is the process of bacterial interaction with the sweat that is produced by our sweat glands in our armpits, feet and other areas of our body. To fight this odor, chemists have produced two types of deodorant.

  • Ordinary deodorants have ingredients that kill the bacteria that feed on our sweat. It’s important to note that these deodorants do not reduce the amount of swat our body produces. They only fight against bacteria.
  • Antiperspirant has ability to interact with our body, preventing the creation of sweat. This is done by pugging up the sweat glands with special salts that gradually melt away after a certain period of time. Even though antiperspirants cannot remove all the sweat perspiration, they can significantly lessen the feeling of underarm wetness.

The early attempts to bask body odor such as soaps, colognes and perfumes finally became obsolete in 1888 with the appearance of the first waxy antiperspirant called Mum in 1888. This product from United States was effective, but was very hard to apply and remove from body. The deodorant who was first to capture public attention was Everdy, easily-applied aluminum-chloride based antiperspirant who quickly became copied by dozens of companies. By the end of 19th century, deodorants could be found in many forms, including roll-ins, powders, creams, pads, solid, and dabbers.

One big innovation in the field of deodorant happened during 1950s when manufacturers started introducing aerosol technology. This led to the trend that over 80% of the deodorants and antiperspirants were sold with that technology by 1970s. However, 1977 was the first time when government agencies in US and EU started much harsher control over harmful ingredients in cosmetics. This led to the banning of the primary ingredient of the aerosols, aluminum zirconium complexes. In the following years, several more harmful ingredients became banned, which led to the dramatic reduction in the popularity of aerosol deodorant. But, deodorants did not disappear from the market because of that. Stick deodorant took the advantage of the moment, and with the additions of some crucial technologies (most notably ability to be contained inside drier substances) managed to achieve absolute worldwide domination.

Today, solid stick firmly hold absolute first place of deodorant and antiperspirants forms.

Deodorant Inspection and Manufacturing Processes

Deodorant is one of the personal products in China that is being manufactured at a cheaper quality due to cheaper raw material costs. Deodorant inspections are not being performed during each stage of the process. It’s crucial to ensure inspections are even being carried out through every stage, even during the manufacturing process.

Key Steps in the Manufacturing Process of Deodorant

The Batching Process

The batching process consists of combining the ingredients in jacketed stainless steel kettle. Steam heat is then used to melt the ingredients during the mixing of the batch. During this process, it is crucial to carefully watch the temperature as you could burn the waxy ingredients. It is now blended until all the ingredients have been added.

The Filling Process
Deodorant sticks are usually made out of a hollow tube with a platform inside that moves up or down to dispense the product. The deodorant sticks travel along a conveyor belt where the mixed ingredients are dispensed through the filling nozzle. The process will vary, this will depend on whether the deodorant stick is created to be filled from the top or bottom of the stick. Deodorant is dispensed slightly above its congealing temperature so that the flow is consistent and slow. If it is filled at a hot temperature, the deodorant could settle to the bottom in a liquid form or if it the stick is filled too cold, the air bubbles will be trapped inside the deodorant.

The Final Finishing Operations
Sticks will go through several finishing operations to ensure the deodorant surface is smooth and that it is free from air pockets. This operation involves heating the surface of the deodorant stick by passing them under an infrared light. A rod is then pierced into the center of the deodorant stick so that air can escape and the top is heated again to re-melt the product, allowing the deodorant to properly settle. The deodorant stick will then pass through a refrigeration tunnel that will lower the temperature of the deodorant and force it to solidify. A solid piece is put into place to seal the container.

Safety testing guidelines are recommended to be followed by CTFA (the Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Fragrance Association) , the main trade organization in the cosmetic and personal care industry. These are not rules set in stone, so this will give deodorant manufacturers in China a lot of play when it comes to a standard of testing that should be followed to ensure their products are safe for their consumers.

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sciencesolve's profile pic

sciencesolve | Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Antiperspirants were designed to remove the odor under the arm region by controlling the level of wetness in this region. The smell of sweat is the smell of isovaleric acid which is formed when bacteria that populate the skin interact with the lipids from sweat. Reducing the level of wetness, less bacteria will interact with the sweat, hence, less amount of isovaleric acid will be formed.

Since the physiology of the body is controlled by antiperspirants, they can be considered drugs.

Antiperspirants contain active ingredients that control perspiration and these ingredients are approved by FDA. These ingredients are aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine, aluminum sulfate, aluminum chloride and aluminum chlorohydrate. Beside active ingredients, antiperspirants contain gelled fatty ingredients, fragrances and colorants.

The manufacturing process of antiperspirants consists of 3 major phases: batching, filling and finishing. In the batching phase, all the ingredients are blended together, at a controlled temperature, until the mixture becomes uniform.

The final safety tests are designed to evaluate the levels of risk of irritations, chemical delayed reactions and toxicity.

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