A deodorant is a substance applied to the body to prevent body odor caused by the bacterial breakdown of perspiration in armpits, feet, and other areas of the body. A subgroup of deodorants, antiperspirants, affect odor as well as prevent sweating by affecting sweat glands.
Antiperspirants are typically applied to the underarms, while deodorants may also be used on feet and other areas in the form of body sprays. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration classifies and regulates most deodorants as cosmetics, but classifies antiperspirants as over-the-counter drugs.
The first commercial deodorant, Mum, was introduced and patented in the late nineteenth century by an inventor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Edna Murphey. The product was briefly withdrawn from the market in the U.S., but is currently available at U.S. retailers under the brand Ban. The modern formulation of the antiperspirant was patented by Jules Montenier on January 28, 1941. This formulation was first found in "Stopette" deodorant spray, which Time magazine called "the best-selling deodorant of the early 1950s". Stopette was later eclipsed by many other brands as the 1941 patent expired.
There is a popular myth that deodorant use is linked to breast cancer, but so far no such causal link has been substantiated in research.
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