Dove, Secret, Degree, Tom’s, megababe – these names are synonymous in the world of women’s deodorants and antiperspirants.
Many women trust these brands because they are the ones that have been around the longest and promoted the most.
However, you may be surprised to discover that not all deodorants are created equal. Some are ineffective or even downright dangerous to your health.
Not to worry! More and more women around the world are choosing to go deodorant-free, or utilize natural products as opposed to the big name brands that are chock-full of artificial ingredients.
In this article you will learn why many deodorants are unhealthy, and how you can quit deodorant easily and effectively.
Why should women stop wearing deodorant and antiperspirant?
Many top A-list celebrities, such as Kelly Ripa, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Kourtney Kardashian, and Matthew McConaughey all do not wear deodorant. This may baffle you, but there are many benefits to not wearing deodorant.
Consider all of the artificial chemical additives found in deodorant. When you apply deodorant, those chemicals enter straight into your blood stream – there is no filter as there would be when eating these artificial substances.
Let’s take a few minutes to break down these chemical compounds and understand their effects on the human body.
Aluminum compounds are used to plug sweat glands and prevent the release of sweat. These compounds can be absorbed deep into the skin and are linked to an increased risk of serious health problems.
Aluminum also reacts chemically to sweat to create the yellow “sweat” stains that we are all familiar with. If you thought those stains were a direct result of your sweat, think again!
Parabens are used as a preservative to stop the growth of bacteria. Parabens are linked to increased skin irritation, allergic reactions, and hormonal disruptions.
Propylene glycol is a softener used to make deodorant application easier. This chemical is also linked to skin irritations and allergic reactions, even in very small amounts. Another risk is to the heart and liver, as well as the nervous system.
Triclosan is a preservative used to extend the shelf life of products like deodorant. This preservative is linked to compromised immune systems and disrupted hormone production in the thyroid.
Artificial coloring is also found in some deodorants and are, again, linked to allergic reactions and possibly contains carcinogenic properties.
Another negative result of deodorants and antiperspirants is that sweating is your body’s method of naturally regulating your temperature and getting rid of toxins. If you continuously prevent your body from maintaining these natural processes, you can be causing lasting harm to yourself.
Also, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, the harsh chemicals found in deodorant can have negative effects on your baby. Parabens have been linked to birth defects, and the estrogenic properties in them can cause hormonal imbalances. Artificial fragrances are just as dangerous.
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Of course, while breastfeeding, what goes into your body eventually goes into your baby’s body. As a mother, you surely do your best to keep harmful substances such as cleaners far out of the reach of your children. Don’t forget to apply that rule to personal hygiene products as well!
Prolonged use of these products can cause a number of health issues and it can really break the bank. Just think of all of the money you have spent on deodorants, antiperspirants, stain removers, and new clothes when the stains are too stubborn to come out!
Can deodorant actually make you smell worse?
There are several different strains of bacteria that reside in our armpits.
The bacteria that causes the majority of body odor is Corynebacteria. Antiperspirants do not effect Corynebacteria – instead, they kill odorless bacteria such as Staphlococcus.
This causes the odor-producing bacteria to flourish.
Regarding deodorant, it is also linked to an increase of bacteria. If you do not have body odor, and suddenly choose to use deodorant, you might experience an increase in your body odor.
Why is this? Deodorants actually encourage the production of different types of bacteria. If one of these types of bacteria happens to be one that causes body odor, you can expect to be smelly.
My armpits still smell after I put deodorant on! Is this natural?
As just mentioned, you might experience an increase in body odor after deodorant use if certain odor-producing bacteria have suddenly multiplied. However, there are many other causes of body odor.
If you are overweight, consistently eat rich or spicy foods, are on certain medications (i.e. antidepressants), or have certain medical conditions (i.e. diabetes or hyperhydrosis), these things could be contributing to your body odor.
Dehydration and vitamin B or C deficiencies are other leading causes of body odor. Consider changing your diet to one filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water.
Benefits of not wearing deodorant to bed
Wearing deodorant around the clock simply increases the risk of unnecessary skin irritations.
The amount of sweat your body produces should greatly decrease at night, so there is no need to keep your sweat glands clogged with antiperspirants or deodorants while you sleep.
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Remember, prolonged use of these chemical-laden products increases your risk and exposure to a variety of health conditions.
What happens when you stop using deodorant and antiperspirant with aluminum?
The number one concern people have about skipping deodorant is, of course, that they will smell bad. This is a well-founded concern – of course, you will stink for a period of time.
Usually for the first few weeks after quitting deodorant, your body odor will be somewhat persistent. This depends greatly on the temperature outside, your activity levels, your diet, and simply your biology as a human.
As soon as the artificial substances clogging your sweat glands have dissipated, your body and the natural bacteria living in your armpits will start to regulate themselves. You may find that you are still stinky – this is okay! In a moment we will provide suggestions on natural deodorizing products.
One immediate benefit of discontinuing deodorants and antiperspirants is the money you will save. You might be spending hundreds of dollars on specialized products in a desperate search to find something that works. If that’s the case – stop! Save your money!
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Another benefit is that the healthy, natural bacteria found in your armpits will flourish when no longer inhibited by the artificial chemicals in deodorant and antiperspirant.
Additionally, you will no longer be exposed to the health risks associated with prolonged use of these products. Your body will thank you!
How to stop wearing deodorant and antiperspirant
The first step you should take in your journey to living deodorant-free is to throw out all of your deodorants and antiperspirants. If you have these products in your home, it will be very tempting to reach for them during the first couple weeks.
The next steps to combat body odor are just as simple – keep up your personal hygiene routine and wait it out. You may need to increase the frequency of your showers, or freshen up throughout the day by using wipes or sprays.
This is also when you can begin experimenting with different natural products to see what works for you.
Do you have to detox before using natural deodorant?
You don’t absolutely have to detox, but it will help expedite the process of your body regulating its hormones. If you do choose to try a detox, these tips might help you.
Apple cider vinegar and witch hazel are both great options to kill bacteria and neutralize odor. Place some on a cotton pad or spray bottle and apply liberally to your underarm area.
You can also use apple cider vinegar along with bentonite clay in the form of a mask. Mix equal parts vinegar to clay and apply it to your underarms. Leave it to set for around 15 minutes, then gently wipe it away with a warm damp cloth.
Even before you try those methods, you should consider exfoliating your armpits. A good way to do this is by dry brushing. Use a gentle motion towards the heart to aid in the draining of your lymph nodes.
Additionally, remember to keep your water intake at a high level and try to reduce your consumption of stink foods such as garlic and onions.
Best natural deodorants and home remedies
There is an endless list of natural deodorants and home remedies, and, admittedly, some may not be as effective as others.
If you are just testing the waters of natural deodorizing products, choosing which ones to try can be a stressful process.
Here is a list of some of the tried-and-true products loved by women across the world.
Yes to Lavender Scented Natural Charcoal Deodorant (free of aluminum, petroleum, and parabens)
Tarte Clean Queen Vegan Deodorant (free of aluminum, alcohol, soy, and gluten)
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant (free of aluminum, propolyne glycol, parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances)
Native Deodorant (free of aluminum, parabens, and sulfates)
Kopari Coconut Deodorant (free of aluminum and baking soda)
Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick (free of aluminum and gluten; vegan)
Homemade DIY All-Natural Deodorant Recipes
If you would like to go a step further and make your own deodorant at home, here are some recipes you might like to try.
Homemade Deodorant with Shea Butter
3 tablespoons Coconut oil
3 tablespoons Baking soda
2 tablespoons Shea butter
2 tablespoons Arrowroot (optional) or organic cornstarch
Essential Oils (optional)
Place shea butter and coconut oil in a quart-size glass mason jar with a lid. Set this jar in a pan of lightly boiling water until melted (this functions as a double boiler). If you like, you can melt the shea butter and coconut oil in the microwave instead.
When the shea butter and coconut oil are melted and well-combined, add arrowroot (if you have it) or add extra baking soda (or you can skip this step altogether).
Add your choice of essential oils (popular choices are lavender, lemongrass, thyme, cypress, etc.) and choose where to store your homemade deodorant. You can store it in the fridge if you prefer a more solid texture, or in the cabinet for a softer texture.
Homemade Deodorant with Coconut Oil
6 tablespoons Coconut oil
4 tablespoons Baking soda
4 tablespoons Arrowroot or organic cornstarch
Essential oils (optional)
Combine baking soda and arrowroot glass jar with a lid.
Stir in coconut oil until well combined.
Add oils if you wish (more popular choices are grapefruit, tea tree, and sweet orange).
Store in the fridge or in the cabinet, depending on what texture you prefer.
Homemade Deodorant Spray
1 bottle of high proof liquor (vodka, gin, etc. – do NOT use isopropyl alcohol)
Tea tree essential oil
In a spray bottle, combine 10 drops of tea tree oil per 1 ounce of liquor. Spray on clean underarms for maximum efficiency.
There are many more wholesome deodorants to choose from. If you do a little bit of research, you can find excellent products that will be good replacements for the products you currently have in your bathroom.
One product won’t work for every person, especially when it comes to deodorants and antiperspirants. Don’t be intimidated by the long lists! At first it may be a trial and error process to figure out what works best for you.
Feel free to shop around and try a number of different products and recipes. You could even ask your friends and family what natural products work for them!
What do you think?
Have you experienced any of the harmful side-effects of deodorant that were listed in this article? Are you aiming to live a more natural life? Are you trying to do your best to prevent health complications further down the line?
If so, then quitting deodorant might be one big step in the right direction. By now you have gained a detailed knowledge of the dangers of big-name deodorants, and you are aware of what steps you need to take to protect yourself.
Following the steps outlined in this article will put you in the position to take charge of your body and get it back on track with its natural functions.
I’m trying really diligently to stop using aluminum-based anti-perspirant and it’s not easy but I’m making progress. What I’ve found is that short, frequent showers help. I work a normal Monday through Friday week. I don’t wear deodorant on Friday morning or at all on Saturday or Sunday. On the other days I use an all-natural aluminum-free deodorant. I’m encouraging my friends to do the same.
The main reason I want to stop using anti-perspirant is that it’s main function is to block the activity of the body to get rid of toxins. So something I’ve also been trying to do more is get to a sauna and sweat. I feel better already.