'They don't work.'
'What if I smell?'
'They make you sweat.'Well, read on, because if me and my formerly stinky pits can convert, so can you.
Why switch to a natural deodorant?Most of us start using deodorant around the age of 12 or 13. If you live to the average age of 77, that's 65 years of deodorant use. Deodorants contain chemicals like parabens, propylene glycol, triclosan, and aluminium. Aluminium is of particular concern. It's been linked to breast cancer in various studies, although there's no definitive link. Yet the number of cancers diagnosed closer to the armpit almost doubled between the 1930’s and the 1990’s. So it makes sense to at least try to make the switch to a natural deodorant.
What to look for in a natural deodorant?It's not the sweating that makes you smell. It's the bacteria that break down the proteins in your sweat that makes the smell. So if you can kill the bacteria, you can kill the smell. There are a few main odour busting ingredients that you'll find in natural deodorants:
- sodium bicarbonate
- zinc oxide
- essential oils with antibacterial properties
What to be careful of with natural deodorantsYou may read that your armpits need to go through a 'detox' period before they adjust to natural deodorant. You may read that getting a rash or irritation under your arms is a normal part of the 'detox'. If you're using a natural deodorant with bicarb soda and it's making your underarms itchy, red or sore, stop using it. It's not a 'detox' period. The MSDS (material safety data sheet) for bicarb soda classifies it as a mild skin irritant, and lists those exact symptoms. A word of warning on crystal deodorants. Crystal deodorants use potassium alum. Potassium alum is a naturally occurring mineral salt, potassium aluminium sulfate. The problem with these natural aluminium salts is that when they're wet, they break down into aluminium ions. These tiny particles can then be absorbed by your skin.
How to make natural deodorants work for you
- Wear natural fabrics. Natural fabrics breathe, and allow sweat to evaporate. Synthetic fabrics don't breathe, and they trap sweat and smells, exacerbating the problem.
- You can try a clay armpit detox mix like this one on Wellness Mama. It may not help, but then it's unlikely to do any harm, so it's worth a shot.
- Keep an eye on your diet. Some people believe that eating spicy foods, garlic and curry, as well as red meat, can make your BO smellier.
- Make sure that you're well hydrated.
- It's claimed that increasing your magnesium intake can help reduce body odour, and that you can use magnesium oil as a deodorant.
- Give it some time. You may need to carry a natural deodorant with you and reapply throughout the day, but you'll gradually find that you need it less and less.