Why Is Natural Deodorant Better Than Antiperspirant?
Why is natural deodorant better than antiperspirant? Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be the first person to ask this question.
Natural deodorants have been a trending personal hygiene product over recent years, designed to mask body odour without harsh ingredients.
With the increasing popularity of natural hygiene products, it’s no surprise that more and more people are switching from antiperspirant to natural deodorant.
So, why is natural deodorant better than antiperspirant? In this blog post, we’ve covered all the natural deodorant benefits you need to know before making the switch. Find out more below!
How Does Sweat Cause Body Odour?
Let’s start with the basics - what causes sweat & how is this linked to body odour.
There are 2 main types of glands that can secrete sweat from the skin under your arms. They are Eccrine & Apocrine glands.
What are Eccrine Sweat Glands?
Eccrine glands are pretty much located all over the human anatomy, in alternating quantities. They are most concentrated in the palms and feet, followed by the head. However they are limited on the torso and the other extremities. Being mostly a water-based secretion, these glands are primarily associated with cooling the body down.
Eccrine sweat gland secretions are known as "perspiration" or sweat. Sweat is mostly water-containing electrolytes derived from blood plasma. Typically sweat is salty because sodium chloride (aka salt) is secreted along with water.
The main functions of these glands are:
- Temperature Control (Thermoregulation): Sweating leads to cooling of the exterior of the skin as the water content evaporates, taking heat with it. This subsequently lowers body heat.
- Detoxing (Excretion): Sweat can also help to purge waste water and electrolytes.
- Protection: Sweat helps conserve the skin's acid covering (skin is acidic with a pH of around 4.5 to 5.5), which inhibits bacteria and pathogen growth.
What are Apocrine Sweat Glands?
Apocrine sweat glands are mainly responsible for what is termed "body odour". They are mostly located in the armpits and perineal areas. They are larger than eccrine glands, and they tend to secrete sweat into the hair follicle (see diagram below) instead of opening straight onto the skin's surface like the eccrine gland.
These glands tend to activate after puberty, where hormonal changes increase their size & activity. The secretions of this gland is substantially thicker than eccrine glands. The content of this secretion replenishes nutrients for odour-causing bacteria on the skin. Going through stressful events and engaging in sexual foreplay tend to activate Apocrine Glands so you may notice more body odour during these activities.
Apocrine sweat isn't all bad. After all, it contains pheromone-like composites, which may help attract mates. For this reason, completely knocking out Apocrine glands with an anti-perspirant may not be desirable (see further below).
What is an Anti-Persipirant?
Anti-perspirants, by definition, inhibit your ability to sweat. Typically they use one or a number of Aluminium salts like Aluminium Chloride, Aluminium Zirconium & Aluminium Sesquichlorohydrate. When applied to the skin, these salts enter into your sweat pores & combine with moisture from your sweat to form plugs. Once the plugs get large enough they block your pores & inhibit further sweat from exiting the skin.
Each of these Aluminium compounds differ in their ability to enter the pores of your skin & exert their effects. Aluminium Chloride is the smallest molecule so it can enter deep into the pores of the skin & inhibit the sweating where it starts.
By reducing your sweat, the fuel that triggers odour causing skin bacteria is removed.
What are the Downsides of Anti-Perspirants?
One of the main concerns many folks have about anti-perspirants is that they contain Aluminium which has been linked to neurological conditions like Alzheimer's Disease. For this reason, cooking utensils made in a way where aluminium comes in direct contact with food, have been more or less removed from the market. A link between Aluminium-containing anti-perspirants and breast cancer has also been investigated and could eventually be confirmed definitively as a problem as the scientific data comes in over time.
Another downside of anti-perspirants is that they are a bit like an on/off switch. While your sweat is turned "off" by the alumiunium plugs, the toxins and waste material that would otherwise be secreted from the skin is backed up. Once the plugs are finally cleared, those waste materials have had a chance to concentrate and marinate together which releases an unholy stench when finally allowed to exit the skin. The result is that you smell worse after an anti-perspirant has worn off, than if you used no ant-perspirant at all.
Finally we have the environmental issues with anti-perspirants. Typically they all contain petroleum-based propellants like isobutane , as well as solvents like propylene glycol.
What Is Natural Deodorant?
Natural deodorant is an organic personal hygiene product, designed to mask body odour. These products have been around since the 70s, though have been trending significantly since 2010.
Unlike antiperspirants, natural deodorants don’t block underarm sweating. Instead, they contain an assortment of organic ingredients that are designed to absorb any moisture, mask odours, and repel the bacteria that actually cause those funky smells. For example, many natural deodorants contain ingredients like:
Baking soda: Baking soda is a natural odor absorber and can help to neutralize odors. It can also help to absorb wetness, making it a popular choice for those with heavy sweating.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a natural absorbent that can help to absorb wetness and keep skin dry. It is often used in natural deodorants to help inhibit sweating.
Essential oils: Essential oils, such as tea tree oil, lavender oil, and coconut oil, are often used in natural deodorants for their antimicrobial properties and pleasant scent. They can help to neutralize odor-causing bacteria and provide a natural fragrance.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that can help to soothe and protect the skin. It is often used in natural deodorants to keep skin hydrated and nourished.
Why Is Natural Deodorant Better Than Antiperspirant?
Why is natural deodorant better than antiperspirant? Below, we’ve listed 6 reasons why you should make the switch to natural deodorant.
1. It’s Aluminium Free
One of the core reasons why both men and women will turn to natural deodorants is because they don’t contain aluminium-based ingredients.
Traditional antiperspirants contain aluminum, which works to block sweat glands and reduce sweating. However, some studies have suggested that aluminum may be linked to certain health issues, including breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Natural deodorants do not contain aluminum, making them a safer alternative for those concerned about these potential health risks.
2. Doesn’t Stain Your Clothes
Have you ever noticed those yellow stains on the underarms of your white t-shirts? You can thank antiperspirants for this.
When the aluminium-based compounds in antiperspirants combine with the minerals in our sweat, it causes this yellow stain on clothing.
The best way to get rid of these stains is with white vinegar and hand-scrubbing the affected area. Though an easier solution would be to make the switch to natural deodorant. Since natural deodorants don’t contain aluminium, they won’t leave this stain on your clothing.
3. Contains Natural Ingredients
Natural deodorants have become such a popular alternative to antiperspirants, specifically because it’s all-natural.
By using natural deodorant, you don’t need to worry about those harsh chemicals - such as aluminium-based compounds, parabens, or propylene typically found in antiperspirants. .
Natural deodorants contain an assembly of nourishing ingredients, which are brought together to deal with body odour in the most gentle way possible.
4. Allows You To Sweat
It might not seem like it, but sweating is an essential aspect of our general health and wellbeing.
This basic bodily function helps to filter and release toxins from the body to support immunity and can help to maintain our body temperature.
Unlike antiperspirants, natural deodorants don’t suppress sweating. This allows you to reap these benefits of sweating, minus the body odour.
5. Inhibits Body Odour
Contrary to popular belief, sweating isn’t the direct cause of body odour. Instead, those funky smells are caused by the sweat combining with bacteria on our skin.
Natural deodorants are great at reducing B.O. without suppressing the body’s need to sweat.
These products are designed to mask body odour by reducing the appeal of your underarm skin to those odour-causing bacteria. You can enjoy the health benefits of sweating and let your underarms breathe while keeping the smellies at bay.
6. Better for Sensitive Skin
Natural deodorant isn’t only a great alternative for masking body odour, but it’s also great for your underarm skin.
These products contain an assortment of natural ingredients that can help to keep your underarm skin cleaner, softer and healthier.
If you're on the hunt for a natural deodorant that’ll fight off odour while nourishing your underarm skin, keep an eye out for products containing charcoal, magnesium hydroxide, zinc oxide, mango butter, corn starch & arrowroot.
Particularly if you have sensitive skin, or are prone to skin irritation, it might be worth changing from an antiperspirant to a simple natural deodorant.
7. More Eco-Friendly
Natural deodorants are often made with biodegradable ingredients and packaged in recycled or recyclable materials. This makes them a more environmentally-friendly choice compared to traditional deodorants which often use aerosol cans made of metal & loaded with fossil fuel-based propellants.
Key Points About Natural Deodorant
Natural deodorant is a trending personal hygiene product, designed to effectively absorb moisture, mask odours, and repel odour-causing bacteria.
Unlike antiperspirants, natural deodorants won’t reduce sweating to the same degree. This means you can enjoy all the benefits that come with perspiring, including toxin-release and body-temperature management.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, natural deodorants are also much kinder to sensitive skin and won’t leave those pesky yellow stains under your white t-shirts.
With all these benefits up for grabs, it’s well-worth giving a natural deodorant a go.
For anyone hoping to leave antiperspirants behind for good, learning how to switch to natural deodorant properly is essential.
After all, there’s more than meets the eye to this process. To stick the landing and successfully switch to a natural deodorant, you’ll need to understand the process, detox your pits, and get the timing right. Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you’d think.
Want to learn how to switch to natural deodorant? We’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve covered everything you need to know when making the transition to natural deodorant.
How To Switch To Natural Deodorant
Are you ready to ditch antiperspirants? Learn how to switch to natural deodorant with these 5 simple steps below.
1. Be Careful With Timing
Before you make the switch to a natural deodorant, one of the most important things you’ll need to consider is timing. After all, it takes time for your body to become accustomed to natural deodorant.
As you make this transition, you might notice your underarms sweating more, along with some funky smells accompanying them. Though this is completely normal at first, you might consider planning your transition to a natural deodorant when you don’t have any major events.
For example, switching to a natural deodorant when you have a wedding or job interview in a few days might not be a great idea. Instead, consider making the switch when you have some time off work or no major events coming up. It’ll make the process a lot less daunting.
2. Choose A Natural Deodorant
If an opportunity presents itself to switch to a natural deodorant, make sure you seize it. After all, in our busy lives, it’s even easier for these moments to disappear.
So, before you even start using a natural deodorant, consider having one on standby. This will ensure that you’re ready to kick-start the process at a moment’s notice.
When it comes to choosing a good natural deodorant, you’ll find that there are a lot of different products to choose from - each with different ingredients and features. To make your choice a little easier, we’ve recommended a product below.
3. Detox Your Pits
Switching to a natural deodorant is also a great opportunity for you to detox your underarms properly.
For years, aluminium based deodorants have worked by clogging the pores in your underarms to block perspiring. Now that your body is sweating (as it’s meant to), you can draw out those toxins or impurities to help your pits find a natural balance.
Initially, you might feel a little embarrassed by this excessive sweating, though you shouldn’t be. Not only is this completely natural, but this sweating will also help your body detoxify and become accustomed to natural deodorants.
4. Keep Your Underarms Clean
Another important note to keep in mind when transitioning to natural deodorant is to keep your pits nice and clean. This will help to reduce the growth of odour-causing bacteria in your underarms, making it easier for your natural deodorant to balance your pits and mask smells.
All you need to do is gently wash or exfoliate your underarms in the shower. Then, pat dry your underarms with a soft towel before applying your natural deodorant.
It might sound simple, but this step will help to improve your experience with a natural deodorant.
5. Trust The Process
As your body continues to become accustomed to natural deodorant, your pits are going to go through phases of increased sweating and odour.
After all, the pores in your underarms have been clogged for years with aluminium-based antiperspirants - so it’ll take a little bit of time for your pits to fully detox. That being said, it’s during these phases that many people will give up on their natural deodorant and switch back to antiperspirants.
Though, if you’re serious about transitioning to natural deodorant for good, you’ll need to trust the process. Understand that it’s not permanent - it’s just your underarms balancing and getting used to these new products. Just by knowing what to expect, making the switch to natural deodorant becomes much easier.
How to Use Natural Deodorant
Start with clean, dry armpits
For the best results, it is important to apply natural deodorant to clean, dry armpits. This will allow the product to be absorbed more effectively.
Apply a small amount
Natural deodorants often come in solid form, and a little goes a long way. Start with a small amount and apply it to your armpits using your fingers or a small applicator.
Rub it in well
Make sure to rub the deodorant in well to ensure it is absorbed fully. This will help to neutralize odor and absorb wetness effectively.
Reapply as needed
For some folks, natural deodorants may not provide the same level of protection as traditional antiperspirants, so you may need to reapply them throughout the day. If you are prone to excessive sweating, you may want to try using a natural deodorant with baking soda, which can help to absorb wetness.
Where to buy Natural Deodorant
If you’re keen to make the switch to a natural deodorant, we’d suggest trying this Natural Deodorant by Milkman Grooming.
Its formula contains activated charcoal and is made from 100% botanicals and minerals - including zinc and magnesium. These ingredients work to keep your pits smelling great, no matter what your day has planned. Here's a breakdown of how each carefully selected active ingredient will keep you smelling fresh.
1. Zinc to neutralise & absorb odours
Zinc is a safe & natural element that has been used for centuries for a variety of health conditions, including wounds, colds, and skin conditions. It is also a popular ingredient in natural deodorants due to its ability to reduce odour and absorb wetness. Here are some of the benefits of using zinc as a deodorant ingredient:
Neutralizes odour: Zinc has natural antimicrobial properties that can help to neutralize odour-causing bacteria. When applied to the skin, it can help to reduce body odour and provide long-lasting freshness.
Absorbs wetness: Zinc is a natural absorbent that can help to keep the skin dry and reduce sweating. This makes it an effective ingredient in deodorants, particularly for those who tend to sweat heavily.
Non-irritating: Zinc is a gentle ingredient that is unlikely to cause irritation or redness, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.
Long-lasting: Deodorants containing zinc tend to be long-lasting and provide effective odour protection throughout the day.
2. Activated Charcoal to absorb odour & toxins
Activated charcoal works through a process called adsorption, which occurs when a substance binds to the surface of another substance. In the case of activated charcoal, the substance being adsorbed is typically a gas or a liquid.
When activated charcoal is applied to the skin, it acts like a sponge, binding to and absorbing any substances that come into contact with it. This includes odor-causing bacteria, toxins, and excess oils. The highly porous structure of activated charcoal allows it to adsorb a large amount of these substances, making it an effective deodorant ingredient.
Activated charcoal is commonly used in deodorants because it is able to neutralize odor and absorb wetness, keeping the skin dry and fresh. It is also non-irritating and safe for use, making it a popular choice for those looking for a natural deodorant alternative.
3. Magnesium to act as an anti-microbial & sweat absorber
Magnesium is a safe & natural element that is essential for good health. It plays a role in a wide range of bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, energy production, and bone health. In recent years, magnesium has also been used as an ingredient in natural deodorants due to its ability to reduce odor and absorb wetness. Here are some of the benefits of using magnesium as a deodorant ingredient:
Neutralizes odour: Magnesium helps to neutralize odour-causing bacteria via it's anti-microbial activity.
Absorbs wetness: Magnesium acts as a natural absorbent that can help to keep the skin dry and reduce sweating.
Non-irritating: Much like Zinc, Magnesium is a gentle ingredient that is unlikely to cause irritation or redness.
Long-lasting: Deodorants containing magnesium tend to last a long time so you can relax & enjoy a stench-free day.
Other ways to Naturally Reduce Body Odour
Before we close, we thought it would be a good idea to share some other ways to reduce body odour which will enhance the effect of any deodorant you choose to use. In short, you can also make a number of lifestyle changes to reduce your body odour significantly. Here are some examples:
Practice good hygiene
The most effective way to reduce body odor is to practice good hygiene. This includes showering daily, using soap to cleanse the skin, and washing your clothes regularly. Pay special attention to areas of the body that tend to produce more sweat, such as the armpits, groin, and feet.
Eat a healthy diet
What you eat can affect your body odor. Foods that are high in spices, garlic, and onion can contribute to strong body odors. On the other hand, foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, can help to reduce body odor. Additionally, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can help to flush toxins out of the body, which can help to reduce body odor.
Use natural astringents
Natural astringents, such as witch hazel and apple cider vinegar, can help to reduce body odor by balancing the pH of the skin. To use, simply dab a small amount onto a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area.
Use essential oils
Certain essential oils, such as tea tree oil and lavender oil, have natural antimicrobial properties that can help to neutralize odor-causing bacteria. You can use these oils by adding a few drops to a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and applying it to the skin. You can also add a few drops to your bathwater for a relaxing, odor-reducing soak.
Use natural antifungals
Fungal infections, such as athlete's foot and jock itch, can contribute to body odor. To reduce odor caused by these infections, try using natural antifungals such as tea tree oil and oregano oil. These oils can be applied directly to the affected area or diluted in a carrier oil and applied to the skin.
Practice stress management
Stress can increase sweating, which can contribute to body odor. To reduce stress-related body odor, try practicing stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and exercise.
Wear natural fibers: Synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon, tend to trap heat and moisture, which can contribute to body odor. Natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, are more breathable and can help to keep the skin dry, reducing the risk of odor.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary from this natural deodorant.
This information does not constitute medical advice and it should not be relied upon as such. Consult with your doctor before modifying your regular medical regime.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Benjamin De Campo
Ben studied Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Western Australia where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science (with 1st Class Honours) & a PhD. He went on to complete a law degree & spent almost 10 years advising in the fields of medicine, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics & nutrition before starting his own cosmetics company Milkman Grooming Co & white labelling for other personal care brands.