Most of us depend on our deodorant like the air we breathe, relying on it to get us through our hot yoga sessions and nervous sweats, body-odor free. But the pit-falls (pun very much intended) of regular deodorants and antiperspirants vary in everything from skin irritation, possible health risks, and even making perspiration worse. But don’t sweat it! (Getting tired of my puns yet?) Natural deodorant can help all of these issues. Here’s a list of reasons you should switch to natural deodorant and how to do it now:
You are supposed to sweat (and need to, for your health!).
Sweating may sound/feel/look extremely gross, and we all know the horrible feeling of hoping to not run into anyone after a sweaty workout session because of the stench we’re undoubtedly giving off. But sweating is our bodies’ way of regulating temperature and releasing toxins, two very crucial jobs.
Antiperspirants and chemical-laden deodorants work to clog up pores and don’t allow the body to properly release the sweat necessary to cool down the body and release toxins (why they’re called anti-perspirants). Not to mention that they’re completely unnecessary for preventing body odor.
Luckily for our bodies, sweat isn’t what actually smells; it’s just a mixture of salt and water. What does create that dreaded body odor is when sweat comes into contact with the natural bacteria that lives on our skin. Changing this reaction is easily done with natural deodorant.
Deodorants and antiperspirants can cause a number of skin issues.
Antiperspirants work by closing up the pores to prevent perspiration, but this means that sweat builds up beneath the skin. This can cause bumpy skin and painful irritation. If you have bad razor burns or irritated armpits, definitely consider making the switch!
…and might actually make perspiration worse.
The buildup of sweat beneath the skin also comes with a buildup of the good bacteria that actually digests sweat, limiting the ability your body has to digest any bad bacteria, making your sweat smell even worse. Furthermore, the aluminum compounds can cause an acidic reaction to fabric, which is what makes those gross sweat stains on your white t-shirts.
Some diseases have been linked to deodorants.
Because antiperspirants are applied often and on skin near breasts, some reports claim that the chemicals could be absorbed through your skin and cause estrogen-like hormonal effects. Alzheimer’s and Breast Cancer have both been linked to aluminum compounds found in antiperspirants, and some might even contain infertility-causing toxic chemicals. For more information on these chemicals and what to look out for, click here.
Natural deodorants actually have benefits for your health.
Not only does the use of only natural ingredients in deodorants limit the skin issues and diseases possible from their non-natural counterparts, but they also provide many benefits themselves. Natural deodorants don’t block pores, so that good bacteria keeps working, meaning less odor even when you’re not wearing any deodorant. An irritation-free armpit results in a closer (and longer-lasting) shave, and you can forget about worrying over your white t-shirt getting yellow pit stains. Some ingredients used in natural deodorants (like witch hazel) can also shrink pores and smooth razor burn.
No two deodorants are alike.
No two people have the same body chemistry, so what works for someone else may not work for you. If you have tried a natural deodorant and it didn’t work, that may be because the brand or mix of ingredients didn’t work for you specifically, not that all natural deodorant in general doesn’t work. Most contain baking soda which kills the bacteria on the skin, but can cause irritation, so play with other ingredients/portions to find the deodorant that works best for you. For more information on testing natural deodorants, click here.
How to switch to a natural deoderant (or find your armpit’s soulmate):
- It’s a good idea to go au naturale for a few days before switching over. When you stop using deodorants with chemicals and aluminum, your body will start to push these chemicals out, which may cause irritation and won’t mix well with the baking soda that’s in most natural deodorants. If you’re not comfortable going deodorant free (or you’re like me and know that’s not a pleasant option for the sake of humanity), consider dabbing on a combination of tea tree oil, lavender or thyme essential oil, and coconut oil for a natural and irritation-free mixture that will protect against unwanted smells.
- Exfoliate underarms weekly and wash daily, to assist in the detoxification and prevent body odor.
- Try to stick to fabrics with natural fibers (like cotton, hemp, and silk) during the transition period. Polyester and acrylic fabrics trap moisture and can cause mold to grow on clothing, which results in a foul smell.
- When you look for a natural deodorant that works for you, look for an equal balance of baking soda and essential oils, which is helpful for odor control and irritation for sensitive skin.
- Steer clear of deodorants with parabens or propylene glycol, which are likely to irritate skin.
- Remember that deodorant is not one-size-fits-all. Try each deodorant for a couple weeks, as it takes your body time to adjust. Know that it might take a few different tries and some time before finding the right natural deodorant for you. But once you do, you’ll never go back.
Have you tried using a Natural Deodorant? Which ones have worked best for you?
This post was in partnership with Primally Pure, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.