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Sweaty underarms. Ew. Just the thought of that is enough to screw up your face in an unpleasant grimace, isn't it?
Nobody wants damp, smelly pits, so just about everybody turns to antiperspirants and deodorants to solve the problem. Antiperspirants are designed to stop you from sweating, and deodorants are intended to help you smell good even if you do sweat. Most conventional products are antiperspirant-deodorant combinations.
So what's the problem? Nasty, unsafe chemicals, that's what! Most of the antiperspirants and deodorants at your local store are chock full of downright awful ingredients that might keep you smelling daisy fresh but will deliver a whole host of unhealthy chemicals in the process.
There's good news for those of you who want to make safer personal care choices but can't imagine going through life stinky. Natural deodorants promise to keep you smelling fresh and clean without compromising your health.
Here is the best natural deodorant for men or women alike! (Yes, any of these can be used for either men or women. The main difference is the scent you choose. 🙂 )
Top 5 Natural Deodorants For Men or Women
Browsing the aisles of your local megastore, you'll probably find an entire row of antiperspirants and deodorants from which to choose. Many of these will be effective at reducing the amount you sweat and helping you smell good throughout the day.
Unfortunately, these products achieve those goals with a lineup of not-so-great chemicals. In fact, some of the main ones are downright scary. They have the potential to interrupt your normal bodily functions--such as sweating--and also disturb your hormone levels. Some may even have the potential to cause cancer.
What Chemicals and Materials are Found in Most Deodorants?
There are some common ingredients in most formulations of antiperspirants and deodorants. They are put there to keep you from sweating and smelling, but that doesn't mean that they're good for you. In fact, they might be quite the opposite. Here are a few that you should be on the lookout for.
Chemical or Material
Safe to Use?
More research needed - We lean towards NO
This metal is a standard ingredient in most conventional deodorants because it is used to keep wetness at bay. Thanks to the work of aluminum, your sweat glands are temporarily blocked, so the sweat can't get out and leave your underarms wet. That sounds good, but plugging up your body's normal methods of functioning isn't particularly healthy.
Plus, aluminum use may be linked to cancer. The research isn't yet conclusive, but there is evidence that people who use traditional deodorants may get cancer, particularly breast cancer, more frequently or at an earlier age than those who don't.
There is speculation that this is because aluminum affects hormones, especially estrogen, and the proximity of the underarms to the breasts might also be at play.
No?? More research needed, we lean toward no
Compared to other scary ingredients in conventional deodorants, propylene glycol is one of the less disturbing ones. The FDA even says that propylene glycol is safe to injest.
Like aluminum, parabens have the ability to replicate the effect of estrogen on the body, which may affect normal hormonal functioning. Therefore, there is speculation that parabens might be linked to cancer.
Parabens mimic estrogen and affect your hormone function. They are also in deodorant...
Fortunately, parabens are becoming less common in commercial deodorants, but they haven't yet been entirely eliminated.
This chemical is used kill bacteria so your sweat won't turn stinky. However, it's a dangerous way to knock out odors because studies have shown that triclosan affects hormones in the body. It may even be carcinogenic. EWG's Skin Deep database lists triclosan as a "high risk" substance.
If that weren't enough reasons to avoid triclosan, there's also concern that this chemical may be a factor in bacteria resistance and the development of superbugs. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and avoid this ingredient in your household products.
Learn more about the dangers of triclosan in the video:
Non Toxic Deodorants
The good news is that you don't have to subject yourself to a slew of harmful chemicals or resign yourself to a life of stinkiness. An increasingly large natural deodorant market gives you plenty of lower-chemical options from which to choose.
Keep in mind that most of these natural products are simply deodorants and not antiperspirants like you might be used to. Antiperspirants block sweat, but a deodorant's primary goal is to cover or neutralize odor.
Really, this is a good thing because sweating is a natural bodily function. However, the wetness can be uncomfortable if you're not used to it, and some people find it embarrassing. If that describes you, seek out one of the non toxic formulas on that market that absorb sweat without blocking your sweat glands.
I choose natural, non toxic deodorant!
What Chemicals and Materials Usually Make Up Non Toxic Deodorants?
Formulas for natural deodorants vary widely, so to really know what's in a non toxic variety, you'll have to read the ingredient list on the individual package. However, the following list will give you some idea what you might find in the best organic deodorant varieties.
Helpful for its absorbent properties, cornstarch is a handy ingredient in natural deodorants. It's there to help keep you dry even if you sweat.
Cornstarch is a natural, plant-based material. Also known as corn flour, it's made from the endosperm of corn plants.
Adding essential oils to natural deodorants can serve a few different purposes. For one thing, they smell good. Their pleasant scent can mask any body odor you might have. Juniper and lavender are just a few of the essential oils that are good for covering sweaty scents.
Some essential oils also have antibacterial properties. These can keep you from getting as smelly in the first place. It's not the sweat itself that smells; the odor comes into play when the sweat mixes with bacteria. By helping control the bacteria in your pits, essential oils can help keep nasty smells in check. Tea tree oil is one of the best oils for this.
You know how it's suggested to put a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to neutralize strong odors? The same principle applies to your underarms. Baking soda is a common ingredient in natural deodorants because of its ability to knock out stink.
Fair warning: Some people's skin doesn't react well to baking soda formulations. For one thing, it can alter your skin's pH level and leave you irritated. On top of that, some users report that it darkens their skin.
Exfoliating regularly and treating your skin with apple cider vinegar before applying baking soda products is sometimes enough to counter these troubles. If that doesn't solve the problem for you, you might need to seek out options that don't include baking soda in their ingredients.
The dreaded deodorant rash...
Some users report that a rash develops when they start using natural deodorants. This could be for a variety of reasons:
- Your pH may be changing and adjusting
- You might be detoxing and sweating out the the nasty chemicals that have been plugged in your body
- You may just be plain old allergic to an ingredient.
If you get the dreaded deodorant rash, try these tricks and see if they help:
Apple Cider Vinegar Wash:
- Combine 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of distilled water.
- Apply under arms and let dry before applying deodorant.
- Repeat for 1 week and see if it helps!
Diatomaceous Earth Method:
- Mix 2 tsp. food grade diatomaceous earth into your deodorant jar (works best with a jarred paste like the Primal Pit Paste below).
- Apply the deodorant as you normally would.
If these don't help, it might be an allergy. If that is the case, you will need to try some different deodorants until you find the right one for you. Try the sensitive skin varieties of some of the products that I point out below. 🙂
Made from the spores of ferns, lycopodium powder is amazingly effective at knocking out moisture. This makes it a great ingredient for natural deodorants because it will help take of underarm sweat before it ever gets a chance to start stinking.
What You Should Know
Natural deodorants can take some getting used to. That's because they just don't work quite the same as conventional ones, and sometimes they're applied differently too.
Non toxic deodorants may soak up sweat, but they don't stop up your sweat glands to keep any moisture from coming out. Some of these natural products don't have any drying properties; their entire purpose is simply to cover the sweat odor.
As for application, there are stick and roll-on nontoxic deodorants, but some of the best natural deodorants are applied by hand. This includes a wide variety of creams and powders.
Also, you may have to try a few of these non toxic deodorants before you find the one that's best for you. Sometimes it's not a matter of finding the one very best natural deodorant but finding the one that works best with your body chemistry, and what works great for your friend might not do the trick for you at all.
It may get worse before it gets better...
If you are switching to an all natural deodorant for the first time, keep in mind that it is probably going to get worse BEFORE it gets better. Your sweat glands have been getting plugged up for years, and suddenly your are letting them free! They are going to go through an adjustment period of sweating more because of it.
Don't give up. If you are like most of us, your body will correct itself with this detox and be healthier for it.
Make your switch in the Fall/Winter when the weather is cool and you won't be sweating as excessively. Also, don't make the switch right before an important event that requires your confidence to be at its best. 🙂
The Top 5 Non Toxic Deodorants… Reviewed
Written by Ashley
Chief editor here at Nontoxic Reboot. I'm passionate about providing you with the best and easiest ways to make your world healthier and a little less toxic.
Sweaty underarms. Ew. Just the thought of that is enough to screw up your face in an unpleasant grimace, isn’t it? Nobody wants damp, smelly pits, so just about everybody turns to antiperspirants and deodorants to solve the problem.