Do you have any idea what you’re doing to your skin when you apply aerosol (spray) deodorants? The risks of deodorant sprays may not be as well-known as other potentially dangerous health products, but they are VERY real. According to Allergy UK, the risks include:
- Allergic skin reactions and rashes from contact with the aerosol chemicals.
- Asthma and breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling the chemicals.
- Potentially fatal heart problems from inhaling aerosol solvents.
As you can see, your deodorant may be posing a greater danger to you than you realize! Perhaps it’s time to consider changing up…
Sure, you can switch to regular gel, roll-on, or antiperspirant, but why not consider a much more natural option? That’s right, we’re talking about natural deodorant!
Nature has provided a lot of anti-stink remedies, so the good news is that there are a lot of natural deodorants out there. But before you make the switch, it’s important to know WHY it’s a good idea.
Why Choose Natural Deodorant
For many people, just the mention of the word “chemicals” is enough to send them scurrying to their nearest farmer’s market or Whole Foods to bathe in an “organic” environment. But do you know what the chemicals in your deodorant even are, or why they’re bad? Before you make a drastic change in your life, you need to understand the reason why.
Regular deodorants are loaded with chemicals and artificial ingredients that block sweat, combat odor, produce a pleasant scent, prevent the deodorant from being worn away by moisture, and generally protect your armpits. Many of the chemicals are fairly harmless, but there are a few that can do more harm than good:
Formaldehyde. This is used to kill off germs, adding the “antimicrobial” effect to your deodorant. It’s also a known carcinogen that can lead to the formation of cancer cells by causing genetic mutations. No, thank you!
Phthalates. These are often found in plastic products, and they are known disruptors of your endocrine (hormone) system. They can lead to hormonal imbalances and possibly even male infertility.
Aluminum. Not only is aluminum a heavy metal, but it has been linked to Alzheimer’s and a greater risk of cancer. It’s a common ingredient in antiperspirants.
Propylene Glycol. This is the chemical name for a very potent liquid: antifreeze. It’s added to many personal care products (particularly gel deodorants), but the EWG claims that there is a risk of allergic reactions and immuno-toxicity.
Antibacterial Chemicals. Many of the antibacterial chemicals used in deodorants can harm your immune system and throw your hormonal balance out of whack.
Parabens. Yet another common toxin found in plastic products, parabens are a hormone disruptor that can cause the growth and formation of tumor cells.
As you can see, there are legitimate reasons for making the switch from commercial deodorants to natural deodorants. By changing to the more natural option, you reduce your risk of exposure to chemicals that can harm your body.
What You Need to Know About Natural Deodorants
Now that you know why it’s a good idea to make the switch, it’s time to get serious and consider your options. But before we get to the best natural deodorants around, you need to realize a few things:
Natural deodorant is NOT as effective. This is a very real–and very harsh–truth you need to understand. Commercial deodorants are the result of decades of testing and research, and they are made with chemical formulas that are designed to be as effective as possible. That means combining the ingredients that smell good, reduce moisture, eliminate bacteria, and generally promote healthy armpits as effectively as possible.
Natural deodorant, on the other hand, is made using fairly new formulas. Most “natural” deodorants have only been around for a few years (decades at best), so there’s far less research backing them. They just can’t offer the same odor-killing, moisture-reducing benefits of commercial deodorants.
You may stink a lot more. Imagine taking your usual body odor smell, and layering in the smell of eucalyptus, mint, or lemon. It’s not exactly a heavenly delight, is it? Natural deodorants don’t quite combat smells as effectively.
The natural ingredients (essential oils, herbs, and extracts) will help to mask the smells, but they aren’t as effective at killing off the bacteria that cause the smells in the first place. You could end up stinking, just with a hint of lemon grass or rose petals to add to the miasma. You may also walk around smelling like an herbal shop or the farmer’s market!
You could end up with seriously swampy pits. Chemical deodorants contain aluminum salts that essentially block the moisture-producing sweat ducts, keeping your armpits nice and dry. That’s why aluminum is one of the most common ingredients in antiperspirants and deodorants.
With natural ingredients, there’s nothing to block the sweat. Your armpits will produce ALL THE MOISTURE, and the sweat will simply mix with the natural ingredients in your deodorant. If you’re a heavy sweater, your underarms may feel sticky and swampy around the clock.
Allergic reactions are possible. Yes, this is a VERY real risk, even with natural ingredients. You’d be surprised by how many people are allergic to simple things like peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and other essential oils, herbs, and extracts.
Not only is there a risk of allergic reaction with natural deodorants, but there is a risk of irritation due to the higher concentration of ingredients. To make the deodorants work, manufacturers have to add concentrated essential oils and extracts. These can be irritating to sensitive skin, leading to a very uncomfortable rash on your underarms. Not everyone experiences these negative side effects, but they are a lot more common than you’d think.
It prevents long-term damage. As we’ve seen above, there are very real risks of using commercial deodorants. Not all will cause long-term damage (to your brain, heart, endocrine system, skin, etc.), but how can you know which are safe and which aren’t? You can’t ever be truly sure if you’re exposing your skin and body to all sorts of harmful ingredients.
With natural deodorant, you know exactly what you’re applying. The ingredients are listed right on the bottle, and all of them are easy to understand. You know which essential oils, herbs, and extracts are going on your skin, and you can know they are safe for your body. Your risk of long-term health problems (as listed above) will be reduced thanks to your making the change to natural deodorant.
Natural deodorants could eventually reduce odors. One of the “pros” of natural deodorants is that they may ultimately help to reduce odors. Many users have reported that since they began to use natural deodorants, their armpits smell less strongly. This could be due to the antibacterial agents in the deodorant (ingredients like citrus oil or eucalyptus) which help to eliminate the bacteria under your arms. Over time, you may be able to eliminate the majority of the stink-causing bacteria, leading to a fresher, nicer-smelling armpits!
It’s great for detoxing your skin. Your skin has been exposed to chemicals and toxins since you began using deodorant all those long years ago so you can imagine how grateful it will be to get a break! You’ll find that using natural deodorants will help to restore the health of your underarm skin and reduce the build-up of toxins. Even just a few months of detoxing can do wonders to restore the health, freshness, and elasticity of your skin.
It’s worth a try. Even if you eventually return to commercial deodorants, it’s a good idea to try the natural ones. You not only reduce exposure to potentially harmful toxins and chemicals, but you can bring a lot more natural health into your life. It’s a good idea to try a natural deodorant for a few weeks/months. If it doesn’t work for you, you can make the switch back to your regular deodorant, knowing you gave Mother Nature a chance!
The Best Natural Deodorants on the Market
Now comes the fun part: choosing the right deodorant! There are a few types to consider:
Sprays. These are all alcohol-based, similar to your body sprays. They will take several seconds to dry, so you’ll need to keep your arms up after spraying. There’s a bit of sting (courtesy of the alcohol), but they can be effective for dealing with germs and stink-causing bacteria. Best of all, they’re unlikely to cause pit stains.
Creams and pastes. These are thicker than other types of deodorant, and it takes a lot of practice to get the quantity and application just right. It can be a bit messy, and there’s no doubt the creams and pastes can cause pit stains. However, for those with sensitive skin, they’re the least likely to cause irritation.
Sticks. Most natural deodorant sticks contain baking soda, which is highly effective at eliminating odors but which can cause skin irritation. However, they’re easy to apply and unlikely to stain your clothing.
Which type appeals to you the most? Ease of application, effectiveness, or cleanliness? Think about which type suits you best, and buy accordingly.
We’ve done the research to help you find options to consider when shopping for natural deodorants. Here are our “top picks”:
Le Couvent des Minimes Everyday Deodorant. This deodorant is nicely affordable (just $11), and it’s 100% free of alcohol and aluminum. It’s a simple roll-on deodorant that has a beautiful, gentle citrus smell that masks unpleasant odors without overwhelming your nostrils. (Find it on Amazon)
Dr. Hauschka Fresh Roll-On Deodorant. This natural deodorant contains jojoba oil (a potent antimicrobial agent), witch hazel (and antiseptic), and glycerin to make the roll-on deodorant easy to apply. It’s pricey at $24 for just 1.70 fluid ounces, but it has a gentle rose smell that makes it a beautiful addition to your body odors. (Find it on Dr. Hauschka)
Lavilin Bio Balance Underarm Deodorant Cream. For those who prefer the heavier creams or pastes, this is the option for you! It’s thick and effective, and will last A LONG time (up to 7 days, according to the company). You’ll find that it will give you whole-day protection against odors with a single application, no matter how much you sweat, swim, or shower! (Find it on Amazon)
EO Organic Deodorant Spray. This spray contains a mixture of essential oils designed to reduce odor, and you’ll find the spray is highly unlikely to cause pit stains. It’s 100% natural, free of any chemicals, and designed to offer aromatherapeutic effects. Worth a try at just $8.50 for 4 fluid ounces! (Find it on Amazon)
Natural Remedies to Deal with Body Odor
If you want to go the full-on natural route, here are a few deodorant-free remedies to help you deal with body odor:
Baking soda. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with warm water and apply the mixture to your underarms to kill any smells.
Cornstarch. Mix a teaspoon of cornstarch with half a teaspoon of baking soda, and apply the mixture to your underarms. The combination of baking soda and cornstarch is a potent odor-killer!
Rubbing alcohol. Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and warm water, and apply a spritz any time you need to kill off germs.
Lemon juice. Slice a lemon and use it to wipe your underarms. It shouldn’t sting (unless your pits are freshly shaven), but it will help to kill off bacteria.
These odor-killers can help you keep your armpits stink-free all day long!