90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, September 10, 2012

A History Of Deodorant: From Ancient Egypt To ‘Sure’

(Flickr/Clean Wal-Mart)

Most of us probably haven’t given much thought to the humble deodorant that’s sitting in the medicine cabinet. But as science journalist Sarah Everts found, deodorants and  antiperspirants have had a complicated and fascinating history.

For instance, ancient Egyptians had perfumes that were specifically focused on covering the stink of humans. But formulas to block odor have only been in wide use for a little over a century, Everts told Here & Now‘s Sacha Pfeiffer, and we have advertising agencies to thank.

And the early formulas had problems: they irritated sensitive skin, and often discolored or even ate through clothing. In an article for Smithsonian magazine, Everts writes about how advertising made antiperspirants mainstream.

Sarah Everts also says that she finds the dichotomy of attitudes towards sweat fascinating: humans are embarrassed by sweat, but at the same time participate in activities that encourage sweat production such as going to the gym and sweat lodges.

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

We now have a digital bookshelf! Explore all our books coverage or browse by genre.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

February 26 34 Comments

That Political Bumper Sticker Could Cost You Your Job

In most states in the country, labor laws will not protect you from getting fired over a political bumper sticker.

February 26 2 Comments

Remote Mexican Villages Build Their Own Cell Networks

Thanks to cheaper technology, community organizers and computer hackers are bypassing the big cell companies.

February 25 Comment

DJ Sessions: New Music From Nashville

For this week's DJ Session, Marcia Campbell shares songs from Teea Goans, Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton and Earls of Leicester.

February 25 106 Comments

Feminist Gamer Withdraws From PAX East, Citing Safety Concerns

Video game developer Brianna Wu discusses the threats against her and her role as a feminist leader amid the Gamergate controversy.