Is chemical deodorant bad for you? It’s a question The Well Store team has been asking recently, and we’ve been doing our own research to make sure we make informed decisions about what we put into (and onto) our bodies. Because NEWS FLASH: skin is our largest organ of the body and we need to look after it!
So, you won’t be surprised to learn that we believe natural is best, especially when it comes to skin care. But there’s no hard and fast evidence to say that chemical deodorant or antiperspirant will make you sick. What we do know for sure is that when you apply one of these products to your delicate underarm region, you’re messing with the body’s miracle ecosystem.
How do we sweat?
Sweating is our body’s way of expelling toxins and regulating the body’s temperature. The hotter you get, the more you sweat. Our armpits are jam-packed with lymph nodes, which are small lumps of tissue that contain white blood cells. It’s their job to filter harmful substances like bacteria and cancer cells from your body, and to help fight infections. Another important role of these lymph nodes is to carry oxygen and vital nutrients to our cells. And lastly, these lymph nodes help to cool us down by releasing sweat.
And it’s that sweat that we’re fighting against when we roll or spray on deodorant every morning, and sometimes more than once a day. You may be surprised to learn that sweat, itself, does not smell! Sweat is the combination of proteins, water, potassium and salt being released from the body. But when that liquid comes into contact with the bacteria that live very happily on our skin, it produces a tangy and pungent odour. Some of us call this odour BO.
When you apply conventional deodorant to your underarms, it kills the natural bacteria on your skin – and we know that killing your body’s good bacteria doesn't end up well. (Antibiotics are a case in point.) Deodorants also work by masking the odour with fragrance – often chemically based.
When you apply conventional antiperspirant, which often contains aluminium, its purpose is to stop the glands producing sweat by blocking the ducts from working at all.
So neither of those options is a great way to control body odour. Which is why we believe it’s worth making the switch to using a natural deodorant. It may seem like a drastic and potentially scary move – what if it doesn't work? How long does it take for your body to get used to a new way of body odour control?
All these questions can be answered by trialling a few different natural deodorant products. So how do these good things work? The Well Store’s alternatives use a range of natural and certified organic ingredients to neutralise the bacteria that cause the odour and help to absorb perspiration. So they will not stop you sweating altogether (which is not what we want, right?) but with ingredients such as arrowroot powder they help to absorb sweat and keep you dry. Remember, sweating is good! It's a sign our body is working as it should be.
And a word of warning – the first product you try may not be the one for you. All our bodies are different, with varying amounts of glands, sweat production and body odour – so trial and error is the way to go.
See The Well Store’s list of recommended products below, but in the meantime, if you need further convincing, read through this list of 5 Reasons to Swap to Natural Deodorant.
5 Reasons to Swap to Natural Deodorant
1. Embrace natural ingredients – natural deodorants contain natural ingredients such as arrowroot, vanilla, fruits, magnesium and bicarb soda. No aluminium, parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, or any of the nasties that are simply not good for you. So natural deodorants are less likely to cause any health problems after long-term use. We recommend you try the gentle yet hard working Woohoo Deodorant pastes. See Woohoo deodorant pastes.
2. Avoid pesky yellow stains – after applying antiperspirant for a fair amount of time, the aluminium can cause the underarm fabric on your clothes to turn yellow. Any marking from natural deodorants should wash out easily.
3. Cause less underarm irritation – conventional deodorants can clog your pores and cause discomfort, itching, redness, and strip your skin of its natural topical properties. While many natural deodorants can actually make your skin softer and smoother. However, if you have a reaction check out the blog I wrote here about ways to soothe and move onto a new deodorant or if you react to the bicarb in some of the natural deodorants then check out our bi carb free deodorants.
4. Undergo a detox – natural deodorants do not interfere with the body’s ecosystem of sweating and flushing the body of toxins, whereas conventional deodorants clog your pores in order to prevent sweating, which is the opposite of the body’s intentions. A great way to get your pits ready topically is by prepping them with a charcoal-based paste like Detox a Pit which can help to get your skin natural deodorant ready!
5. Bask in a natural aroma – hands up who likes chemical fragrances? We certainly don’t – read our blog Why You Need to Break Up With Your Perfume. Many conventional deodorants use synthetic fragrances, which can cause allergies, organ system toxicity and irritation. But natural deodorants use essential oils and natural ingredients to add a gorgeous aroma to the product.
Shop the range of natural deodorants from The Well Store here.