It's meant to make you smell fresher. But scientists claim that deodorant may be doing more than just that - it could be making you ill. More than a quarter of people suffer bad reactions to chemicals found in the sprays, a new study suggests.
Australian researchers quizzed 1,100 people to make the conclusion. And they found that 26 per cent believe they experience reactions to the chemicals in deodorants, air fresheners and cleaning supplies. Commonly reported side effects from the 'harmful' chemicals found in these products included asthma attacks, migraines and skin problems.
Professor Anne Steinemann, lead author of the University of Melbourne research, told NewScientist: 'We're exposed to these chemicals continuously. But people may not realise they're being harmed until it's too late, and then they have chemical sensitivity.'
Scientists then revealed the number of people diagnosed with a sensitivity to these chemicals has quadrupled in 16 years.
A similar survey in 2002 showed just three per cent of participants had been told by their doctor that they have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. In contrast, some 13 per cent had been diagnosed in the new study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
However, double that amount - around 295 of the 1,137 adults surveyed - claimed to have experienced physical reactions to the chemicals. Nearly 60 per cent of the volunteers with MCS admitted they have had to give up going to public restrooms that use fragrances. And more than half of the 145 diagnosed participants revealed they could no longer wash their hands with smelly soap.
The researchers have now hypothesised an estimated 55 million adults in the US - around 16 per cent - suffer from MCS.
Professor Steinemann added: 'MCS is a serious and potentially disabling disease that is widespread and increasing in the US population.'
The new study comes after MailOnline reported scores of men are jumping on the band wagon of strange-smelling, intimate hygiene products.
Sales of male-only grooming products such as scrotal deodorants – which even come in a chocolate scent – have soared by 2,000 per cent in seven years. The rise in demand has been attributed to the 'rise of the metrosexual' – a man who pays attention to his personal appearance.
But experts have repeatedly warned overuse of heavily-fragranced products can cause skin problems including eczema.
DO DEODORANTS CAUSE CANCER?
A study published in September 2016 found there may be an increased risk of breast cancer caused by aluminium compounds in antiperspirants.
These compounds temporarily block sweat glands – but can build up in breast tissue and produce some oestrogen-like effects.
While some simple deodorants designed just to mask odour do not contain them, most do.
André-Pascal Sappino, co-author of the study, from the University of Geneva, looked at isolated human mammary cells and later replicated it in studies on mice.
The study found long term exposure resulted in tumours which spread.
But many leading experts pointed out flaws in the Swiss study and said there is no need to ban deodorants with aluminum salts.
By Stephen Matthews For Mailonline
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