Science Fair

by: Lekhitha Ammaresh

Research

Deodorant is something people use often. Maybe weekly, daily, or even twice a day. It seems like such a wonderful invention, especially since it is easily found in stores. Just a quick swipe, and you are done. But in truth, there are many ingredients which have been found to be harmful, even possible carcinogens.

The first common ingredient is aluminum, a metal. It blocks sweat from escaping pores, rather than lowering the amount of sweat you produce. The body sweats in order to remove toxins from the body. When sweat is blocked from being released, it gets stored elsewhere, within the body. Aluminum is a toxin itself, so not only do you prevent detox, you shove more toxins in you. Aluminum has been found to be linked with breast cancer and increases the likelihood of alzheimer’s.

Parabens are also found commonly in deodorant. It is actually a family of synthetic preservatives. This simply means it’s a chemical, which is almost always bad for your. It also causes hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance is bad especially women who tend to snatch a few extra swipes with deodorant. Common problems with hormonal imbalance are depression, weight gain, hair loss, poor memory, and more. Parabens have also been linked to cause organ toxicity and birth defects.

Propylene glycol is a third problematic ingredient. It has been proven to cause damage in the liver, nervous system, and the heart, the latter to being vital to our survival. The reason it is used in deodorant is because it makes deodorant easier to apply. Increase organ problems, or deal with less manageable deodorant, there only seems to be one choice.

Phthalates, an ingredient used for a similar reason to propylene glycol. It creates better consistency, but the following downsides aren’t worth it. It increases risk of birth defects. It also increases chance of cell mutation making it carcogenic. It also disrupts hormonal receptors. The fifth common, yet dangerous ingredient is triclosan. it is classified as a pesticide by the FDA. Pesticides are never good for the skin, which is why generally it is used with caution. This ingredient is also known for being carcinogenic.

Antiperspirants prevent the body from sweating, and is necessary as stated above. When toxins get locked in, they get stored in fat. What happens when you burn the fat? You let a horde of dangerous things to flood your system, causing even more problems which lead to more problems. The have estrogen like properties which can in turn cause cancer. Fragrance is commonly found in them, and fragrance is bad for the body as well. It is basically a bunch of chemicals loaded together to smell nice.

Antiperspirants and deodorants though made to prevent sweat, can actually cause your body to sweat more and smell worse. The body tries to rid the toxins, and when it can’t do it by sweating normally, it goes on overdrive. Even though deodorant and antiperspirants have such negative impacts, people will still be hesitant to stop as the short term issue, which is the smell, seems to be the current problem. And easy way to prevent all this is to know what your deodorant has by making some at home. Good candidates for homemade deodorant is honey, coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, and baking soda.

Honey is known for killing bacteria. Why this is helpful? The truth is, sweat doesn’t actually smell bad, it is actually the bacteria on the skin breaking down your sweat. A way to prevent that? Just kill all the bacteria. When honey is diluted in water, it has a pH of 3.5. Bacteria doesn’t survive well in acid, which is why it doesn’t survive well in honey.

Coconut oil has properties which rid the skin of odor. And though it is an oil, it does not clog it, the molecules are too small to clog anything. It also has added benefits of being very moisturizing.

Baking soda, similar to coconut oil, can get rid of bad smells. It is commonly used to get rid of bad smells and can be safely ingested. It also has antiseptic properties. This mean it prevent microorganisms from growing. But a small downside is that it is in fact drying, which is why it must be combined with a moisturizer before being used on skin.

Shea butter is an excellent moisturizer. It has amazing qualities and is commonly found in moisturizing creams. Shea butter heals damaged skin and keeps skin supple. It also has an extra benefit of protecting skin from sun.

Beeswax is a great ingredient. Beeswax locks in moisture, and similar to shea butter, can protect the skin from the sun. It acts as a protective layer on the skin. It is antibacterial, which is a useful aspect which can prevent the smell caused by bacteria. It is anti-inflammatory, which makes it safe to use on the skin. It is also an anti-allergenic meaning that people do not need to worry about any allergies. Beeswax is also a germicidal agent, which means that it kills germs, which is always a good thing to have.

Hypothesis

If tea tree oil works better than the lavender oil, then the tea tree oil will cause body odor to decrease, because it’s antibacterial properties are more powerful.


Materials

cornstarch

baking soda

beeswax

shea butter

lavender oil

tea trea oil

coconut oil

50 empty chapstick bottles

3 microwave safe bowls

Procedure

1. First, the base will be made. You must get a microwaveable bowl.

2. Gather all ingredients.

3. Proportion out the ingredients. 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of shea butter, 2 tablespoons of cornstartch, 2 tablespoons of beeswax.

4. Put all the ingredients in the bowl, except for the corstartch and the baking soda.

5. microwave 15 seconds at a time, the goal is to get a liquid like consistency.

6. Once desired consistency reaches, add the baking soda and cornstartch. Whisk quickly, the mixture will harden fast. If it does harden, just microwave it for 5-10 seconds.

7. split the batch in two two bowls.

8. add 6 drops of lavender essential oil in one, and 6 drops of tea tree essential oil in another. mix well.

9. Before this step, microwave once again if the mixture has begun to harden. pour the batches into chapstick tubes. remember to label them.

10. repeat steps 1-9 to make desired amount of batches. the original lshould fill about 10 chapstick tubes, so for this project it will be repeated about 5 times.

11. human subject will be recieving 2 homemade deodorant sticks. one of each scent.

12. for 2 weeks they will put the lavender stick on the right ride and the tea tree stick on the left side.

13. each day the subject will write down comparisions.

Purpose

The purpose was to find an alternative to store bought deodorant that worked just as well but was not dangerous.

Data

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Analysis

I noticed that most people started off rating the smell as very bad. The highest being on the first day which was a 9.8 or a 9.9, on either essential oil. Gradually the number decreased, but I was curious to know as to why this occurred. After some research, it is a normal thing for the body to go through. Those who bought regular deodorant had this happen. Regular deodorant clogs up the sweat producing glands, which created the need for more sweat. Because of this, when a product that doesn’t clog is used, the body naturally made more sweat which in turn increased the smell. As the transition passes, the true effects of the homemade deodorant show. There were a few people who either did not feel the magnitude of the transition, and when asked, all of them either did not use deodorant or had bought an organic deodorant. Overall though it seems that tea tree oil wins by a slight margin when compared to lavender. This is most likely because tea tree is slightly stronger than the lavender. This was suspected as the scent of tea tree was stronger, and stronger scents have tendencies to be stronger with effects.

Calculation

  1. equation for lavender oil for rating can be estimated with the function -0.05x^2+0.16x+9.5

  2. equation for tea tree oil for rating can be estimated with the function -0,05x^2+0.08x+9.67

Variables

Constants:

cornstarch

baking soda

beeswax

shea butter

coconut oil


independent:

tea tree oil

lavender essential oil


dependent:

rating subject ranked

Conclusion

Yes, my hypothesis was correct, tea tree oil wins by a slight margin when compared to lavender.


Sources of Error

Inaccuracies are possible in a few scenarios. The subjects may have been inconsistent in applying the deodorant. Also, they could’ve applied one deodorant more than the other which would cause fault in the data. Overall, most inaccuracies would be based down to the subject in how dedicated they and careful they were in the experiment.


Improvement

I could add in comparison of smell of regular deodorant and organic but store bought deodorant and remove homemade lavender deodorant. This way it would properly compare the beneficially to smell comparing it with the items people have actually been using.


Application

This experiment will help people learn that store bought deodorant is dangerous. They will also learn that there is a much better alternative, homemade. This reduces problems caused by the parabens in deodorant and will help us medically.


Citations


Dang, Arvin. "Use Baking Soda and Charcoal to Effectively Remove Unpleasant Smells from Your Car." Lifehacker. Kinja, 1 Nov. 2011. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.

Jensen, Bernard. Foods That Heal. Garden City, NY: Avery Pub., 1993. Print.


Norek, Danna. "Top Five Ingredients to Avoid in Deodorant." NaturalNews. N.p., 19 Aug. 2011. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.


O'connor, Siobhan. "What's So Bad About Antiperspirant?" GOOD Magazine. Worldwide Inc., 29 June 2010. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.


Skellett, Jane. "A Schooner of Science." World’s Sweetest Antibiotic? The Five Ways Honey Kills Bacteria. N.p., 13 July 2010. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.