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What you need to know about all-natural deodorant

What do you think of when the topic of natural deodorant is brought up? Perhaps it is the desire for all-natural ingredients? Maybe you simply have a desire to pursue a non-toxic lifestyle — all-natural, eco-friendly, plant-based, and organic!

For some, it takes a bit to get used to the differences between all-natural deodorant and commercial brands. Any adverse reaction, however, might have more to do with myths and fears than with fact.

For example, maybe you’ve heard it said that natural deodorants:

  • Aren’t appropriate for sensitive skin.
  • Have a kind of unpleasant “detox” period when switching from store-bought deodorants.
  • Require you to use a lot more of it.
  • Don’t work well at all.

If you’ve ever had any of those thoughts run through your head, your immediate reaction might be, “No way! Natural deodorants are not for me!”

Whether your initial impression is positive, negative, or somewhere in-between, below we’ll go over what you need to know about all-natural deodorant if you want to make a smart, educated decision on whether it’s right for you.

Woman Applying Natural Deodorant
Shutterstock/Alliance Images

Why natural deodorant?

Think about it for just a moment. Why do you buy a commercial deodorant in the first place? Don’t most of them promise only two things? Sweat prevention and a pleasing smell. In other words, commercial deodorants usually contain antiperspirants that keep you from sweating, and they also have perfumes designed to make you smell good.

However, is preventing sweat always a good thing?

Well, when you sweat, there are bacteria on your skin that break that sweat down. When that happens, you can develop a pungent smell. Most people agree that over time, the scent becomes stronger and possibly quite unpleasant.

Follow the logic now: Stop the sweat. Stop the bacteria. Stop the smell.

It’s a nice chain of events!

On the other hand, sweating is entirely natural, and it’s part of your body’s mechanism for regulating your temperature and removing toxins. You need to sweat.

However, say you want to stay dry for a while. No problem. Yet, you should know that commercial deodorants with antiperspirants clog up the pores in your skin. Moreover, the ingredients used to do this, such as aluminum and other chemicals and additives, are known to have health risks.

It’s because of those health hazards that some people have started looking for healthy alternatives.

Man Putting On Natural Deodorant

Is natural better?

From a health standpoint, natural deodorants are undoubtedly better. They don’t contain ingredients like aluminum, chemicals with strange-sounding names, or the controversial, cancer-linked parabens.

Still, not everything is better just because it’s labeled “natural” or “organic.”

Remember, there are plenty of natural, organic plants out in the world that will kill you quite fast if you ingest them. There are natural, organic rocks that will kill you with radiation if you get too close and touch them.

Thus, “natural” and “organic” don’t always mean “safe” or “healthy.”

Just as with commercial deodorants, you should always pay attention to what’s put into natural deodorants. (Most of the time, the ingredients will absolutely be safe, but you’ll want to be sure there’s nothing in it that might give you an allergic reaction, etc.)

Some of the more common ingredients in natural deodorants are:

  • Shea butter and/or coconut oil (they have antimicrobial properties).
  • Arrowroot (it absorbs moisture).
  • Baking soda (helps absorb moisture and neutralizes odor).
  • Essential oils (act as perfumes, and some have antimicrobial properties).

In general, natural deodorants are going to be a lot more healthy than their commercial cousins simply because they lack all the industrial chemicals and additives of their commercially-manufactured cousins.

Should you make the switch?

First, that’s a decision that’s entirely up to you.

Commercial deodorants that also act as antiperspirants are quite safe. If you like what you’re buying at the store, there’s no hard evidence that you need to make a switch for the sake of your health.

On the other hand, if you’re sensitive to any of the commercial ingredients, then it might make sense for you to switch to something more natural.

Additionally, keep in mind that even though the commercial deodorants have a clean bill of health, there are detractors, and there’s not much about coconut oil or baking soda that’s controversial.

If there’s a downside to natural deodorants, it’s not that they don’t work. It’s that they won’t stop you from sweating. Still, from a health point of view, that’s a good thing! The thing is, if you strongly object to sweat, choosing a natural deodorant that actually works and that has baking soda as an ingredient will help absorb the majority of it and will help keep you dry.

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