Is switching to natural deodorant worth it?

Natural deodorant is no better or worse for your health than traditional deodorant or antiperspirant. And where sweat accumulates, body odor follows, and armpits are one of the biggest offenders of body odor. Bad-smelling armpits and sweat stains can be embarrassing, but thankfully, deodorant can help curb underarm odor. And today we're so dependent on deodorant that forgetting to put it on in the morning can be as disgusting as forgetting to brush your teeth.

Speaking of putting deodorant on your skin every day with that long list of unpronounceable chemicals on the list of ingredients, should you consider changing your old deodorant stick to a new, natural one? Let's start with the basics. One thing all deodorants have in common, whether they're natural or not, is why we use them and how they work. The armpits are a fairly warm and welcoming home for some of the bacteria that naturally live on the skin. When armpit sweat is added to the mix, these bacteria get down to business, metabolize sweat and, in the process, create some by-products with an unpleasant odor.

But that's where deodorant comes into play. Deodorants use alcohol-based ingredients and antimicrobial agents to prevent bacteria from growing and accumulating, resulting in less odorless sweat that turns into wave after wave of body odor. They also often contain pleasant-smelling scents to help mask any odors that still occur. However, some supermarket deodorants aren't just deodorants, they're also antiperspirants.

Antiperspirants use aluminum-based ingredients to temporarily prevent pores from releasing sweat, preventing bacteria from fully feeding on the source of these stinky by-products. When antiperspirant ingredients are combined with deodorant ingredients, the result is an effective solution to reduce both sweat and armpit odor. In fact, most of us apply antiperspirant deodorant every morning. There are many reasons why a person might consider changing, but ultimately, the underlying reason most people opt for a natural deodorant over a conventional one is because of the chemicals on the ingredient list.

So when it comes to antiperspirant deodorants, are there ingredients you should avoid? The reality is that many beauty and hygiene products are made with long lists of chemicals, and deodorant is no exception. The ingredients in your conventional antiperspirant deodorant are safe, but it's understandable that you need some peace of mind. One of the most controversial claims against antiperspirant deodorants is that the aluminum-based ingredients and the parabens they contain can be absorbed by the skin and cause breast cancer. However, there is no scientific evidence that aluminum or any other ingredient found in deodorants causes breast cancer.

Still, just as some people prefer organic products, others may opt for a deodorant that uses only natural ingredients. In addition, people with sensitive skin may find that the chemicals in conventional antiperspirant deodorants can cause skin itching and irritation. While natural deodorants can help reduce armpit odor, don't expect them to actually reduce sweat as an antiperspirant. Natural deodorants often contain ingredients that can help absorb moisture, but these ingredients aren't as effective as antiperspirant products, which actually clog pores and create sweat.

Food & Drug Administration, conventional antiperspirant deodorants are safe, so there's no need to worry or switch to a natural deodorant because of your overall health. However, personal preferences or sensitivity to ingredients may lead you to consider switching to a natural deodorant. With your support, Houston Methodist provides exceptional research, education and care that are truly leaders in medicine. Before we can continue to discuss the switch to a natural deodorant, we need to clarify something.

Antiperspirants and deodorants work differently in their methods to reduce body odor, says Aragona Giuseppe, MD, GP and medical advisor to Prescription Doctor. In a nutshell, an antiperspirant will contain aluminum. The function of aluminum is to reduce perspiration by preventing sweat from leaving the body, thus stopping adverse odor and keeping the body dry. Conversely, a deodorant works to neutralize the body's natural odor by masking it.

While this transition is very common and completely normal, it can be very disturbing. Giuseppe suggests giving your body time to adapt. Your body should have fully adapted to the natural deodorant. My choice to switch to a natural deodorant was simple, but the transition didn't go as well as I had planned.

While the evidence doesn't support the idea that conventional deodorants and antiperspirants have negative health effects, some people prefer to use natural products made without artificial ingredients. For example, Tom's of Maine, a brand known for selling natural products, offers some antiperspirant products that do contain aluminum, along with its many aluminum-free deodorants. But are natural deodorants really better for you than the regular Speed Stick? This is what experts and scientific evidence suggest. Some brands of natural deodorants have tools, such as pastes, that you can apply to your armpits while you “detoxify” to make the sweaty and smelly period more bearable.

I discovered more than I could have imagined about my body when I decided to switch to a natural deodorant during quarantine. Now, 10 years after my transition to natural deodorant, I finally see natural varieties that give conventional hygiene a chance. Beyond that, there is no consensus or evidence that certain ingredients in natural deodorant products are more effective than others. An article published in Nature Medicine in 2004 called the email chain a deception and pointed to a study published in 2002 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that analyzed data from 1,600 women and found that the use of deodorants was not associated with breast cancer.

In terms of personal care, natural alternatives, from toothpaste and deodorant to shampoo and body lotion, seem to be everywhere. You may go a couple of days or even a week without noticing much difference between your antiperspirant and your natural deodorant. . .

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