Among the many amusing aliens described in the cult sci-fi comedy novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are the Jatravartids of Viltvodl 5. They are described as having 50 arms each, which caused them to be unique in being the only race ever to have invented the aerosol deodorant before the wheel.
The joke lies in the assumption that those who invented the wheel and their successors would have had little conception of deodorant or indeed general cleanliness.
In reality, people have been using all sorts of scents, soaps and other deodorants since antiquity, long before the aerosol was invented. Not only was this good news for the ozone layer, but good news for the skin too.
What has changed is that modern chemistry and technology have created a different type of deodorant, one that, like so many synthetic treatments, might not be quite so kind to the skin. That is why tea tree deodorant offers a great organic alternative.
Firstly, many deodorants are not actually that at all, but antiperspirants. These work by suppressing the function of the sweat glands, so that you don’t perspire at all. That may be great for stopping the sweat from getting on your nice shirt or blouse, but it prevents your body from carrying out the function it was naturally equipped to do to regulate temperature.
True deodorants don’t stop you from sweating, but they do prevent the thing that causes body odour. This is not the sweat itself, but the mixing of other chemicals that come out with the water and salt and can mix with bacteria, with this chemical brew producing an unpleasant smell.
Unlike perfumes, which simply disguise the smell with a sweet fragrance, deodorants work to neutralise the bacteria so they cannot mix with sweat.
Unfortunately, whether it is as an antiperspirant or as a true deodorant that focuses on the bacteria, synthetic spray-on or roll-on applications can cause skin irritation for many people. That’s why an organic solution like tea tree oil can make for an ideal alternative.
The key to this is the properties that tea tree oil has. First and foremost, it is naturally antibacterial, as well as being antiviral and anti-fungal. Most importantly, it is particularly useful against the kinds of bacteria commonly found on the skin.
In contrast with the synthetic deodorants made using modern chemistry, tea tree oil comes from Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree found in parts of Australia. It has long been used by Aboriginal Australians for various medicinal purposes by crushing the leaves and extracting the oil.
The usefulness of the substance would have been known to the native Australians long before the European settlers arrived, but now everyone can access it, tea tree oil offers a wide array of organic benefits, ranging from wound healing to mouthwash. Small wonder, then, that its antibacterial properties should also make it a great option as a deodorant.
If you like your cosmetics to be organic, you should give this a try. If your normal deodorant causes your skin irritation, you should definitely look for an organic option.