Nineteen-year-old Nicole is battling a peculiar addiction: Deodorant. The teen says she tasted deodorant for the first time at the age of two and has become addicted to the antiperspirants and odor-fighting substance over the past two years. Nicole consumes half a stick of deodorant a day, or 15 sticks of deodorant per month.
Nicole says she once attempted to stop consuming the substance, but the withdrawals made her sick. Her cravings give her a dry mouth and stomach cramps. Sometimes, she’ll resort to spraying deodorant on her tongue if she is unable to find a stick. “My brain tells me, ‘you have to eat it’. I tried giving it up for a week but got really sick and had bad headaches.” She added: “When I realize I’m out of deodorant I panic. My anxiety goes crazy and I get really aggravated. Without it, I’d be a totally different person.”
Just like with any addiction, Nicole’s addiction to deodorant could cause serious threats to her life. Deodorant sticks are primarily made of waxes and oil; however, one of its main ingredients is aluminum. Aluminum can cause dementia, seizures, or death. Nicole’s boyfriend Zhakia convinced her to visit a doctor out of concern for her health. She received confirmation from her doctor that she is risking her health. She has since cut down on her consumption of deodorant — eating smaller portions of the substance every day. She also tries to eat almonds instead of deodorant, but she can’t quite forget about her favorite snack. “It’s really soft. It feels like it melts in my mouth,” Nicole said of deodorant. “Deodorant really has a unique taste of its own.”
Maria Lloyd (@WritingsByMaria) is the Business Manager for the Your Black World Network and Dr. Boyce Watkins. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an advocate of dismantling the prison industrial complex, increasing entrepreneurship, reforming education, and eradicating poverty.