Wearing deodorant might have felt like an exciting right of passage when you were 13, but now it’s just another daily task to check off your list.
Do you ever stop to question the deodorant or antiperspirant you’re slathering onto your armpits each day? Perhaps you’ve seen a few social media posts about the dangers of aluminum and now you’re wondering…. Is deodorant bad for you?
Not all deodorants are created equal, and unfortunately, some are definitely bad for your health. Let’s dive into the differences between conventional and natural deodorants and antiperspirants, so you can make the best informed decision for your body.
What Is Deodorant and Why Do You Need It?
This might seem obvious, but how well do you understand your sweat? Other than that it’s stinky and embarrassing, what else should you know about perspiration and your need for deodorant?
Sweat With Purpose
Sweating isn’t merely an inconvenient physiological function. It’s actually a vital body function that controls your internal temperature and keeps you cool. With up to 4 million sweat glands spread across the skin, your body can quickly and easily produce sweat for any of the following purposes:
- Prevent overheating
- Push toxins out of the body
- Protect immune system by killing viruses and bacteria
- Cleanse the pores
Research even shows that some toxins are only released through sweat, not blood or urine. As long as you replace your fluids and electrolytes by drinking plenty of water each day, sweating is a productive and beneficial elimination function.
Why Does Sweating Cause Such a Bad Odor?
If sweating really is so important, why does it smell so terrible? The answer can be found in the purpose of your sweat.
Your body contains two types of sweat glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands cover your forehead, arms, legs, and other common surfaces. They cool your body by producing the clear, salty, odorless sweat that drips from your face during your favorite cardio class at the gym.
It’s the apocrine glands that create the signature stench of body odor. They’re concentrated in areas of dense hair growth like your armpits, so they produce a thicker type of sweat. The combination of sweat, hair glands, and darkness creates the ultimate haven for bacteria. As your body temperature rises, those bacteria alter your apocrine gland sweat into substances like thioalcohols that carry harsh, undesirable odors.
This explains why you don’t use deodorant on your forehead, arms, and legs, even though they sweat. It’s only the armpits that produce enough body odor to require control from deodorant or antiperspirant.
Deodorant vs Antiperspirant
Deodorant and antiperspirant are commonly used interchangeably, but they’re two distinct products. Deodorant targets the odor of your sweat, while antiperspirant stops the action of sweating altogether.
Standard deodorants use chemicals and harsh ingredients to kill the bacteria responsible for your body odor, while standard antiperspirants plug sweat ducts until they can’t produce sweat anymore.
Natural deodorant is entirely different because it uses plant-based oils, clays, and other therapeutic ingredients to balance odor-causing bacteria and neutralize the stink of sweat before it can even begin.
What Are the Most Common Deodorant Myths?
Deodorant is one of the most misunderstood self care products on the market. Since the time that we hit puberty, we’re led to believe that aluminum-based antiperspirant/deodorant blends are the best and the only way to control sweat and odor. Unfortunately, this “truth” is actually just a misguided myth. Let’s set the record straight.
Myth #1: Antiperspirant Is the Best Way to Bust Sweat and Odor
Not at all! Antiperspirant deodorant is the worst way to stop sweat and odor.
Commercial antiperspirant deodorants use potent antimicrobial substances to kill all bacteria — even the healthy, friendly bacteria — and plug your underarm sweat glands with aluminum-based compounds. This process is effective for some people, but at a huge cost.
Standard antiperspirant deodorant products ruin the natural bacteria living in your underarms. Why does the ecosystem of bacteria living in your underarms matter, you ask? For many reasons, especially considering that recent research suggests that interrupting the balance of bacteria in your pits could make odors worse in the long run.
As you kill bacteria and block sweat, you directly change the habitat of your armpit bacteria, ultimately causing worse, even stronger bacteria to appear. Research shows that antiperspirants kill off less potent bacteria and allow aggressive bacteria to replace them with much harsher odors. This creates a vicious circle of dependency on the products that are causing the problem in the first place.
Antiperspirants also plug your most sensitive sweat glands with aluminum-based compounds linked to Alzheimer's Disease, cancer, and other severe health problems. In fact, research shows that aluminum functions as a neurotoxin in the following ways:
- Sneaks into the brain using other transport mechanisms
- Accumulates in selective tissues in the brain
- Promotes inflammation in the brain
- Causes cellular energy deficits
- Triggers neurodegenerative hallmarks that define dementia
Given all of this information, why is aluminum in deodorant at all? Manufacturers have convinced us that sweating is bad, and aluminum makes it possible to keep our armpits dry all day long.
The truth is so much better: sweating is essential to your health, and using an aluminum-free natural deodorant helps you embrace the benefits of natural sweating without the stench.
Myth #2: Natural Deodorant Never Works
False again! A carefully formulated natural deodorant designed to meet the needs of your skin and sweat glands will most definitely work to stop body odor and keep you feeling fresh.
Keep in mind that the term “natural” isn’t regulated by the FDA, so it’s easy for companies to claim their products are “natural”, even if they’re anything but. This makes finding the best natural deodorant tricky, so look for the following ingredients on the label.
Magnesium influences more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. This means that a magnesium deficiency can quickly trigger serious health problems including potent body odor!
By selecting a natural deodorant that contains magnesium, you effortlessly supplement your body’s magnesium to combat the odor of your sweat. Applying magnesium-based deodorant directly on your pits also fights odor externally by killing bad bacteria.
Zinc oxide is a mineral that’s popular in natural sunscreen, diaper cream, and shampoo. It works externally by converting the short fatty acids that create odor-creating bacteria into odorless zinc salts. This safely creates a protective barrier on the skin and reduces odor-causing bacteria by minimizing the growth of new bacteria.
Kaolin and Bentonite Clay
Kaolin clay is a very gentle clay with absorptive properties that pull impurities from the skin without over-drying. It even stimulates circulation to enhance healing of the skin. A natural deodorant containing kaolin clay will leave your armpits feeling silky smooth.
Bentonite clay adds impressive power to natural deodorant with its negatively charged molecules. Those molecules attract positively charged toxins and heavy metals to draw and push them out of the body. Bentonite clay even functions as a barrier on the skin by preventing toxic compounds from entering.
Activated charcoal isn’t just for your toothpaste! This porous natural substance acts like a filter to absorb anything toxic in your body. Its negative charge immediately attracts positively charged molecules like toxins and gases. When added into a natural deodorant, activated charcoal helps keep your sweat clean.
How Easy Is It to Switch From Antiperspirant to Natural Deodorant?
If you’re apprehensive about trying natural deodorant, you’re not alone! Many people avoid making the switch, even if they know the dangers of antiperspirant. They’re worried natural deodorant won't be strong enough to control body odor.
So you might be surprised to learn that natural deodorant is more effective than standard aluminum-based deodorant… as long as you can give your body a few weeks to adjust. If you’ve used commercial antiperspirant for the past 10, 20, or 30 years, your body may need two or three weeks to recalibrate to the function of natural deodorant.
When you start transitioning to natural deodorant, your pores and cells need time to detoxify the presence of toxic ingredients like aluminum, parabens, and other common chemicals. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth it in the end to enjoy a deodorant that delivers results without harming your health.
Pro Tip: Be Patient During Your Natural Deodorant Adjustment Period
The detoxification process that you experience during the transition from standard to natural deodorant can be annoying, but it’s well worth it in the end!
Your body will expel years of accumulated toxins and bacteria buildup. Which is why switching to a natural deodorant is one of the best decisions you can make for your health and wellness. It feels so good to smell fresh knowing that dangerous chemicals aren't involved.
As long as you don’t interrupt your body’s natural sweating process, and you just let it do what it was made to do with the help of a natural deodorant, you’ll reap the (many!) benefits.
If you find yourself sweating more than usual, you might think longingly of the convenience of your antiperspirant. Just re-read the major health concerns associated with regular deodorants and antiperspirants and remind yourself that natural is better!
Will Natural Deodorant Cause a Rash At First?
Remember that not all natural deodorants will be the perfect match for your skin. The term “natural” doesn’t guarantee a specific set of ingredients, so it’s up to you to read the label and purchase natural deodorant from a brand you can trust.
Primal Life Organics Stick Up™ Natural Deodorant is designed to be rash-free because its formula omits the irritating baking soda present in most natural deodorants. Even if you have sensitive skin, you can use this natural deodorant without the threat of a painful red rash.
If you notice signs of a rash upon your first or second use, double check that you’re applying only 3-4 swipes and then massaging the deodorant into your underarms. Slathering too much deodorant could lead to a rash, since the natural formula is thicker than standard antiperspirant.
Also remember that your pits will undergo a detoxification process during the first few weeks of natural deodorant use. The toxins you purge through your sweat could temporarily irritate your skin, but this issue will automatically resolve itself as your body finishes its detoxification.
If you have been using natural deodorants for a while, it is difficult to say why a reaction or rash would happen. Our formula was created to be gentle, yet effective, however you could react to a specific ingredient in the deodorant.
If you’re not new to natural deodorant and not undergoing a toxin purge, but your skin is still red and bumpy, scale back to applying only coconut oil under your pits until your rash disappears. Once it’s all clear, reapply only 2-3 swipes of Stick Up natural deodorant a day. If your reaction still reoccurs, you could have an allergy or sensitivity to a specific ingredient in the deodorant.
The charcoal and essential oils found in the Stick Up Black Formulas might be too strong for your skin, in which case I recommend using the Stick Up White Coconut instead. It’s a gentle formula without any activated charcoal or essential oils.
What’s the Best Deodorant For People Who Sweat a Lot?
Some of us just naturally sweat more than others, plain and simple. If you sweat more than you’d like to admit, natural deodorant is still a perfect match. Don’t assume you need to plug your sweat ducts with aluminum just to escape your body’s propensity for sweat. (Remember, sweat is healthy!)
Since a natural deodorant like Stick Up is formulated with active, productive ingredients like hemp seed oil, magnesium and zinc oxide, it becomes more effective the longer it’s used. You can’t say that about standard antiperspirants!
As your body absorbs the creamy Stick Up deodorant formula, it helps deodorize more efficiently internally. By the time your sweat makes it onto the surface of your skin, odor-causing bacteria is already under control thanks to the action of zinc oxide and essential oils.
If you want to make your deodorant’s job even easier, you can adopt a few simple habits to neutralize your internal body odor and decrease armpit bacteria:
- Eat less garlic, meat, and acidic foods
- Cut sugar intake
- Stay hydrated
- Exercise daily
With a combination of healthy habits and a powerful natural deodorant, excessive sweating doesn’t have to cramp your style!
How Long Should Deodorant Last?
It’s a common misconception that natural deodorant is weaker than commercial antiperspirant and therefore requires heavier application to deliver the same results. Not true at all! The Stick Up natural deodorant is carefully formulated to be more effective when using less.
Our thicker, heavier deodorant has a powder finish when applied correctly to last you through the day. Better yet, since this natural deodorant becomes more effective over time, you can cut back from four swipes, to three swipes, to two swipes per day. Just one stick of Stick Up 3 oz. deodorant will last at least 2-3 months!
It’s true. We tested our deodorant against other natural and commercial brands, and Stick Up lasted two to three times longer than our competitors. Hey, it’s no sweat.
Is There a Correct Way to Apply Deodorant?
You probably apply standard antiperspirant thoughtlessly — just 6 or 7 swipes across each pit, toss the stick back in your drawer, and head outside. Natural deodorant should be applied a bit more strategically for best results.
Natural deodorant delivers optimal efficiency against odor and stains when only apply 3 to 4 swipes per armpit. After your swipe, make sure to massage the deodorant into your skin. This balances application and improves long-lasting results.
If you’re tempted to go overboard with 5 or 6 swipes, you’ll notice the natural deodorant rubs off onto your clothing and feels sticky and wet. When it comes to Stick Up Natural Deodorant, less is more!
Finally, if your stick of deodorant itself feels "hard" to touch, hold it under your arm for 3 to 4 seconds. This allows your body temperature to warm the oils in the stick for a softer, smoother application.
The Bottom Line: Is Deodorant Bad For You?
Your deodorant is only bad for you if you’re using commercial products formulated with toxins. Why compromise your health by using a deodorant that only makes your sweat more potent?
Natural deodorant is entirely different because it can enhance your skin health and protect your body from toxicity! Stick Up Natural Deodorant is formulated to cleanse tissues, prevent wetness, and fight odor, all while helping your body embrace healthy, stink-free sweat. There’s no antiperspirant in the world that offers those benefits.
With scents like vanilla matcha, black lavender, white lavender, black rogue, and white coconut, you’ll be tempted to double your deodorant as a perfume. Give natural deodorant a try today to see exactly why so many people have vowed to never use antiperspirant again.