Personal Hygiene Image Gallery
Personal Hygiene Image Gallery

The early days of deodorant advertising convinced the masses that we shouldn't stink. See more personal hygiene pictures.

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We've all been there -- stuck in an elevator or a crowded subway with the sweaty guy who just finished his morning workout. He stinks. But don't get too judgmental; we all stink from time to time. Humans emit a somewhat foul smelling body odor, especially when you go without bathing or fail to use underarm deodorant. Some people stink worse than others, but we all emit these odors. It's called an odortype, and yours is based on environmental factors, what you eat and who you came from. That's right, genetics play a part in how bad you smell, so thank mom and dad for that one.

You may think that body odor has long been taboo, but it wasn't until the 1950s that Western society deemed it a turnoff. This just so happened to coincide with the major advertising campaigns for deodorants and antiperspirants. Mere coincidence? You can be the judge of that, but no matter how it all came to pass, reeking of body odor is now frowned upon in most Western countries. So much that sales of antiperspirants and deodorants in the United States topped $2.5 billion in 2006 [source: Mintel].

Most people swear by their brand of underarm protection. They find something that works for them, whether it's a deodorant or an antiperspirant, and use it faithfully. Some go for stick or roll-on, some opt for the spray can. You can go with an unscented variety or one that smells baby-powder-fresh or like a musky spice. There are dozens of different products to choose from, including some natural deodorants for people looking to avoid the harsh chemical ingredients contained in the non-natural brands. But do these natural products really keep you from smelling? We'll get to the bottom of it on the following pages.