The Ultimate Guide to Natural Deodorant

The Ultimate Guide to Natural Deodorant

Let’s face it...we all sweat. Sweating is completely normal, natural and a great way for our bodies to regulate body temperature and release accumulated toxins. One of the primary ways our body releases accumulated toxins is through our largest detox organ, the skin, which if you can believe it has four million sweat glands! The most highly concentrated areas of sweat glands include: armpits, palms of hands, soles of the feet, groin and face. Both excessive sweating and lack of sweating are a cause for concern. Excessive sweating would indicate overactive sweat glands or an underlying medical condition like thyroid abnormalities, diabetes or infection. Lack of sweating would signify an increased amount of toxins being trapped in the body with nowhere to go. 

While we know sweating is a normal bodily process, it can come with unpleasant side effects of wetness and odour. The odour is caused by the bacteria that are present on the skin. When these bacteria break down sweat into fatty acids, it causes odour. Underarm odour can result in feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious, and so we turn to deodorants! 

Deodorants are a great place to start when trying to avoid consuming unnecessary toxins and moving to more natural personal care products. 

 

Why Choose Natural Deodorant?

Conventional deodorants may not seem like a big source of toxins, but they are actually one of the biggest ways you can accumulate toxins in the body. Chemicals found in deodorants can make their way past the skin and into the body. Some of these chemicals can even find their way into fat cells, which are very prevalent in the underarm area.  Deodorants contain harmful chemicals like, fragrances, phthalates, aluminum and parabens. Let’s take a closer look at these.….. 

Harmful Ingredients in Conventional Deodorants:

  • Fragrances 

    • ​Too many people think 'fragrance' means smelling nice and fresh, but what people don’t realize is that ‘fragrance’ simply means a collection of synthetic chemicals. Fragrances are the number one cause of cosmetic allergies.

    • The chemicals found in fragrances can contribute to poor air quality and is linked to various health concerns like, headaches, nausea, seizures, respiratory symptoms and loss of coordination.

    • Look out for words like: “fragrance”, “parfum” and “perfume” on the ingredient list

  • Phthalates

    • ​Phthalates are chemicals that soothe the application of deodorants. They are linked to disrupting hormone production by acting as estrogens, have the ability to impair reproductive ability in men, and can impact fetal development in women.

    • Look out for words like: “1,2 Benzenedicarboxylic acid”, “Dibutyl ester”, “Benzendicarboxylate”, on the ingredient list.

  • Aluminum

    • ​Aluminum is an antiperspirant that blocks sweat ducts to prevent sweating altogether. This means less odour, but it also means the body is not able to release its toxins through sweat. Note there is a difference between antiperspirants and deodorants - antiperspirants stop you from sweating (you don't want this!) vs. deodorants which target the bacteria causing odour! 

    • Aluminum is a neurotoxin that has been linked to heavy metal toxicity and can play a role in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Armpits are close to the breast tissue and some research has shown that aluminum can be absorbed through the skin, and be deposited in breast tissue leading to inflammation and possible cell changes. 

    • Look out for words like: “Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY”, “Aluminum Chlorohydrates” and “Aluminum Chloride” on the ingredients list. 

  • Parabens 

    • ​Parabens are found in deodorants and other personal care products and are used as preservatives. Some parabens can interfere with the way the body produces/regulates estrogen and other hormones.

    • Look out for words like: “4-hydroxy-methyl”, “ester benzoic acid”, “methyl ester”, “methylparaben”, “propylparaben”, “butylparaben” and “ehtylparaben” on the ingredient list 

 

What to look for in a natural deodorant?

Now that we have talked about why we want to make the switch to natural deodorant and what ingredients to avoid, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common ingredients in natural deodorants. 

  • Natural Oil Base

    • First and foremost, make sure the natural deodorant you chose to buy has a natural oil as its base. Most will have coconut oil, as this is also considered to act as an antimicrobial which would help to kill some of that bacteria lying on the skin. As mentioned earlier this bacteria mixing with sweat is what creates that undesirable odour. You may also find vegetable oils and butters like shea and cocoa that can help to moisturize and soothe irritated skin.

  • Powder or Starch

    • Next, ensure the natural deodorant you chose has a powder or starch to absorb the moisture. Powders like baking soda and arrowroot helps to absorb moisture and neutralize odors through killing the bacteria present on the skin.

  • Essential Oils

    • These oils are responsible for adding natural scents to deodorants and help you smell nice! Some essential oils also have antimicrobial properties that once again can kill the bacteria responsible for the odour. These essential oils include, tea tree, rosemary, and sage

  • Wax

    • Beeswax or candelilla wax help to create that glossy texture and act as an emulsifier, which stabilizes any compound that it is added to. This helps with soothing the application of deodorant, which is especially useful for those who have dry skin! 

  • Other beneficial ingredients that may be present:

    • Vitamin E - Is an antioxidant which acts as a natural preservative

    • Activated Charcoal - Charcoal is highly porous and helps to absorb bacteria, toxins, oil and dirt from clogged pores. This helps to reduce moisture and kill unwanted bacteria that can contribute to odour.

    • Magnesium - Magnesium is crucial to regulating more than 300 biochemical functions in the body. More than half of the population has a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is actually also absorbed through contact with skin! So, magnesium that is added to natural deodorants is a great way to give the body this highly desired mineral. Magnesium has also been shown to minimize odour caused by excessive perspiration - BONUS!

 

How to best transition to a natural deodorant

Making the switch to a natural deodorant requires time for the body to adjust to a toxin free life. Often, this transition will deter people from making this switch long term, but it is important to be patient. 

5 simple tips to transition to a natural deodorant:

1. Take a break

Most natural deodorants contain baking soda which can kill bacteria and prevent odour. However, it can sometimes cause irritation if your body is not ready for it. After coming off conventional deodorants, give yourself at least a week to wear nothing. I know you might be apprehensive about this however it will allow your body to release all the accumulated toxins so you can get a fresh start. This break will also allow your skin to breathe.  When you have detoxed, you are ready for natural deodorant!

2. Be patient

Experiencing a detox period for a couple weeks when transitioning to a natural deodorant is completely normal. During the transition, the glands will release all the built up toxins, which means increased sweating and increased odour as the armpits get used to the idea of sweating again. Everyone is different but the ‘deodorant detox period’ can generally last anywhere from 1-4 weeks. Don’t give up during this period and be patient with your body, it will be worth it.

3. Sweat on purpose

Sweating helps to promote healthy removal of toxins. This is especially important during the transition period when your body is trying to release all of the built up toxins. Seek out activities that you know will make you work up a sweat.

4. Try multiple natural deodorants

Make sure to try various brands before giving up all together! There is no one perfect deodorant that will work for everyone, so make sure to try different options to see which one works best for you. If you aren’t sure which brand to try first for fear of buying one that might not work well with your body, we suggest asking your health store what they recommend. At Vitamart.ca we have found Schmidts natural deodorant to be really popular and an effective brand. In fact, our founder/CEO, Mark Holowaychuk swears by Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium deodorant as the “best natural deodorant he has tried.”

5. Whole body detox

If after a couple weeks there is still no improvement in sweating and odour, consider looking at other avenues of detoxification. A whole body detox which would include eliminating processed/refined foods, sugars and caffeine, while increasing fiber, greens and protein content can help to support the body’s detox pathways.

Increased sweating is a sign that the other organs involved in detoxification are overworked and so the skin works harder through sweating more to eliminate those toxins. Thus, reducing the amount of toxins your body is exposed through removing certain food groups can help to decrease the work our detoxification organs need to do which would help to decrease sweating overall.

 

 

If you chose to make the switch to all-natural deodorants, let that be the first step in leading a completely toxin-free life! Remember to be patient during the transition, and embrace detoxifying through sweating! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.