Body Powder Guide: Why Every Man Needs to Know About It
In this investigative post, we’ll explore why men’s body powder is the ideal solution for sweat, odor and chafing down there. But before we dive in, it’s important to look back at how we got here. Since the dawn of time, we men have been plagued by body odor. Did you think that B.O. was some kind of a recent development? Au contraire. Sure, there are some modern circumstances that lend themselves to a special kind of stinky: a locker room, for example, or the gym shorts and socks that you left in your gym bag, in the backseat of your car, in the sun, during the summer, for three weeks. Seriously, you’ll probably want to put on a respirator before you open that thing up and maybe a hazmat suit, actually. But today we are lucky enough to have cutting edge, quality body powders which have taken great leaps in solving these problems.
Without a doubt, modernity has presented us with a new baseline for what we consider “good hygiene.” Showering daily is less of a suggestion and more of an expectation (if you want a date...or, at least, if you want a second date). Heck, if you hit the showers this morning and stopped at the gym on your way home, you might even need (gasp!) two showers in one day. The advent of washing machines and clothes dryers means that you can no longer get away with wearing the same pair of undies for weeks at a time without being shunned by society at large. And if you can get away with that, well, maybe you need to reconsider the social circles you run in.
But believe us, carrying around an objectionable stink has been a problem for a very long time. In fact, there are cave paintings in Northern Europe depicting early human attempts at the creation of aerosol deodorants. Alright, that’s not actually true, not even remotely. But, it is true that people have been trying to figure out a way to reek a little less for many a century.
Nowadays, you have some solid options if you want to do something about that horrible odor that follows you around everywhere you go. Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of your malodorous sack. You see, those rank, sweaty balls of yours used to be a fact of life. Up until not long ago, a man removing his many layers of clothing was something to be feared. Why? Because once those fancy under drawers came off, anything could happen. Someone striking a match might ignite the open air; buzzards circling overhead could careen to the ground and drop dead from the foul odor. Well, maybe those things wouldn’t happen, but you can be sure that his ball smell often permeated the room in a very bad way.
Men have sought to deal with these evil-smelling situations with a variety of, ahem, “techniques” over the years, though some have been more successful than others. Nowadays, we have some highly effective means taming the stank. The best approach to minimizing the trouble that sweat, stinky balls give you is, without a doubt, body powder. It’s a simple, elegant, and effective solution.
Body powder has a long and storied past that’s interwoven with men’s care throughout the ages. This is one of those things you’re going to want to learn more about. Not just because it’s trendy to be that guy in your friend circle (or at work, or at the bar) who has an almost encyclopedic ability to rattle off these kinds of abstruse historical facts as though he were a tablet with the browser open to the Art of Manliness.
No, you need to know what body powder is and how to use it for one simple reason: it’s going to finally put an end to that sweaty ball stench. No more swamp crotch for you, reader! Yeah, you’re welcome.
So, what exactly is body powder? Have there been historical alternatives? And for that matter, are there other options now that would dare to challenge it for odor-fighting supremacy? Read on, friend.
The History of Human Stench
We weren’t always so subtle with our approach to hygiene as we are today.
In ancient Egypt, perfumes were the name of the game. They were pretty free and easy with applying perfume to their pits, and would even put big gloopy globs of perfumed wax on their heads. No, this isn’t a joke, the wax would slowly liquefy in the heat and spread lovely waxy smell all ‘round their head. Because, you know, that makes sense.
But if you think the Egyptians loved their perfumes, they had nothing on the ancient Romans. The Romans were big into scented oils. Like, really big into them. They’d soak their clothes in tubs of perfume (you know, for a nice, subtle fragrance), dump scented liquids onto their pets (nothing like an odiferous pooch), and even spread the stuff all over their horses (to ride off into the scented sunset). The only thing the Romans loved more than their perfumes was a good bath. Large, public or semi-public bathing complexes were common. You’d think this would’ve been a good thing, except they didn’t exactly change the water all that frequently. Think floating dirt, leftover oils, and--you guessed it--bobbing excrement. Marcus Aurelius was not a fan.
Then, things took a real turn for the stinky in the Middle Ages. The bubonic plague resulted in the closure of public bath houses throughout Europe. So, aside from the smell of festering sores and piles of bodies that come to mind when you think “Black Death,” people also weren’t bathing enough (or at all). The floating fecal baths were gross, but hey, they were better than nothing, right?
In the late Middle Ages, moving into the Renaissance and beyond, we saw the emergence of those lovely, fashionable male wigs. You know, the ones that we associate with British gentry, or the founding fathers (some of them, at least). In the 16th century, syphilis reached epidemic proportions across Europe. Aside from the open sores, itchy rashes, encroaching blindness, and eventual insanity that we lovingly associate with syphilis, it also brought with it a rather immediate and obvious symptom: hair loss. So naturally, those with the means would have a wig fashioned for themselves. Wigs became increasingly common; and, eventually, after the Kings of England and France started wearing them to cover up their hair loss (from old age, although STDs amongst the royalty weren’t uncommon, either), the middle class followed suit...even if they still had plenty of good old fashioned, scalp-sprouted hair left on their heads.
Powders made from talc had been used since ancient times for body odor control. Like the perfumes of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, these powders were infused with scents and liberally dusted around the body. With the advent of wigs, powder took on a new purpose: to whiten the wig (because, you know, there’s nothing more fashionable than white hair), it also helped to keep down the local head lice population.
So, what exactly were these powders like? If you’re not entirely sure of what “talc” is don’t worry, just keeping reading.
Body Powders of Yore: the Good, the Bad and the Smelly
So, we know that the ancients were all about trying to mask their terrible odor. But what exactly is talc? When and how did it come to be used for human hygiene?
Talc itself is a clay mineral, made up of hydrated magnesium silicate. In its powdered form, it’s lightweight, smooth, and fluffy. In other words, it looks like body powder. It’s been in use for centuries, going all the way back the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Talc is fairly astringent, meaning it tends to shrink any body tissues it comes into contact with. Now, that might sound a little frightening for something you’re about to douse your balls with, but the shrinkage of tissues is very minimal. What this really means is that it tends to draw out excess moisture from the skin, thus reducing the incidence, severity, and intensity of rashes. This is why talc has been used since antiquity not just to cut down on the itchy, stink, rashy mess that was the crotch of ancient man, but also for diaper rash on babies, fungal infections like athlete’s foot, and more.
The popularity of talc for reducing swamp crotch and conferring some semblance of hygiene to an otherwise stinky population carried forward into modernity. Talcum powder is still commonly available, though its use has waned in recent years. Why? Partly, at least, due to a causal link between talc and cancer.
Wait a second: why would talc be carcinogenic? After all, it’s natural, isn’t it? Indeed, talc is naturally occurring: being a mineral, it’s mined from the ground. Talc has been hauled out from the depths of the earth since the days of ancient Rome. So, it must be safe, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. There are other naturally occurring minerals which take up residence as neighbors to talc, and which can contaminate it when it’s being mined. One of those not so friendly neighbors? Asbestos. A recent court ruling awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for claims that a well-known brand’s talc-based baby powder was responsible for cases of ovarian cancer. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to apply liberally to the most sensitive parts of your body.
So, while powder is highly effective at reducing sweat and controlling odor, millions of people have already decided that it’s not worth the risk of exposure to a possible carcinogen. Fortunately, there are powder options today which are completely free of talc. But before we get to the wonders of today’s crotch deodorant, we need to examine one more questionable ingredient. This is another item that we’ll want to ensure isn’t included in any powder we put on our bodies, for similar reasons.
Antiperspirant: Irritants for Your Pits
When we say deodorant, it’s pretty clear what we mean: something that reduces odor, right? Now, as we’ve seen, talcum body powder does that in a couple of ways. If it’s scented, it’s confers that scent to the wearer, which presumably masks less, err, pleasant scents. But it also acts to draw moisture out of tissues, reducing the lingering swamp crotch that you might otherwise be walking around with. And that reduction in moisture reduces smell.
Why? You see, it’s not your sweat itself that smells bad: it’s the bacteria that throw a big stinky party in the sea of perspiration accumulating on your balls (and elsewhere). These bacteria digest the sweat; and, in turn, they produce the unpleasant odor that we’re trying to avoid. So, if you reduce the general level of moisture hanging out around your sack, you’ll also reduce the level of stink.
More than a century ago, someone had the (seemingly) brilliant idea: what if we could just get rid of the sweat altogether? Put a stop to it before it starts? And on that fateful day, plain old deodorant gave way to a new product: antiperspirant. Literally, something that would stop you from sweating.
In the late 19th century, early antiperspirants emerged in the form of aluminum chloride. Other aluminum-based antiperspirants would soon follow, until the industry was awash with them.
There are a couple of major problems here though. Firstly, some studies have linked the various forms of aluminum in antiperspirants with cancer. And, even if the cancer risk is debatable, there’s no question that antiperspirants cause irritation. Cutting down on the amount of sweat you produce involves blocking at least 20% of your sweat glands from functioning. How? By essentially irritating the skin around them, thus inflaming them and reducing their ability to seep sweat out onto the surface of your skin. This is why some people report itching, redness, and rash with the use of particular underarm deodorants.
Alright, so we’ve learned a few important things so far. We know that talc has some reported problems according to recent court cases. We also know that aluminum isn’t something we want to douse our balls with (not to mention the critical glands in that same area). And, perhaps less importantly for our immediate purposes but equally interesting, we know that the ancient Romans were really, really into baths.
So, body powder can be highly effective at controlling odor and reducing sweat. But we need to ensure that it doesn’t contain possible harmful chemicals like talc and aluminum. What are our options then?
The Wonders of Modern Powder
Fortunately for us in the 21st century, there’s no need to douse our sacks and butts with possibly-contaminated talc in order to cut down on sweat and stink.
In the world of body powder, Chassis™ Premium Body Powder is without equal. It’s unparalleled in quality. Instead of a talcum base, the powder itself is medical-grade corn starch and powdered rice hulls: two all-natural, benign carrying agents. Instead of using talc for an astringent effect, our Premium Powder includes witch hazel, an effective astringent that doesn’t come with the negative aspects of talc. Baking soda works to neutralize odor. And there’s a healthy dose of hops in there, too. No, not so that you can enjoy our Premium Powder as an IPA on a warm, sunny day. Hops are indeed used for flavoring and aroma in beer; but, in this case, we’re after their antimicrobial effect, which cuts down on the number of stench-producing bacteria on your balls without, say, blocking up your sweat glands.
Most importantly, Chassis is the only hydrophobic powder you can buy. This means that it won’t combine with moisture and create a pasty mess in your pants. Rather, it keeps working all day long to fight odor and chafing, while keeping you cool where it counts.
The Bottom Line for Men’s Care: Keep ‘Em Dry and Let ‘Em Fly
Here’s what we know, reader. We know that we can’t go back to the Dark Ages of hygiene. Those days are (thankfully) far behind us. But we also know that we need to steer clear of harmful chemicals in our quest for ultimate odor control. Talc and aluminum definitely don’t belong on the ingredients list of our ideal product.
But don’t take a page from the ancient Romans’ book and douse your balls in a vat of liquid perfume. There’s no need. If you cut down on what produces odor in the first place, you won’t have to cover up any stink to begin with. You’ll prevent the stink from ever sitting in.
How do we do that? Not with potentially contaminated astringents like talcum powder. And not with inflammatory, irritating agents like aluminum.
We do it naturally. We do it with Chassis Premium Powder. Are you tired of struggling with swamp crotch and the constant battle with ball odor? Just keep ‘em dry, and let ‘em fly.
Not literally, guys. You’ll still need to wear some pants. But with Chassis, you’ll start each day safe in the knowledge that no swamp crotch awaits you. Now, get out there and stay dry.