Right around when you hit puberty, you start wearing deodorant. Deodorant, make no mistake, is a great solution; it prevents us from stinking all day long, especially after enjoying an excellent workout at the gym! But it’s also true that some types of deodorant are less than stellar for our skin. Specifically, aluminum deodorant or antiperspirant deodorant isn’t the best thing to use, nor should you rely on deodorant synthesized with artificial chemicals. Instead, it may be a good idea to switch to natural deodorant. But if you want to make the swap, you need to know what to expect so that you aren’t caught off guard. Today, let’s break down how to switch to natural deodorant with a few clever tips.
Why Switch From Aluminum Deodorant, Anyway?
Frankly speaking, aluminum deodorant seems like a miracle solution. After all, it not only stops you from stinking; it also stops you from sweating. What’s not to like? In truth, aluminum deodorant has more problems than benefits. It all starts with a misunderstanding of how body odor works. In a nutshell, your body generates odor when you sweat. But it’s not the sweat that makes the stink overall. Instead, normally harmless bacteria live on the surface of your skin. When you sweat, the salt and protein in the sweat serve as food for the bacteria. The bacteria then reproduce, causing the sulfuric smell associated with body odor. Mix that with any other generic stuff on your skin, and you get your unique BO “fragrance!”
So, while antiperspirant deodorant does prevent you from smelling as much, it doesn’t solve the root problem (nor should it – some bacteria on your skin is actually important for your skin barrier!). Even worse, antiperspirant deodorant blocks your skin’s pores to prevent the sweat from reaching the surface in the first place. This is bad since clogging your skin’s pores can cause irritation and inflammation and even lead to widespread skin redness and discomfort. Many people swap from aluminum deodorant to natural deodorant for these reasons, and aluminum is primarily used in antiperspirant deodorant since aluminum molecules fit within your skin’s pores.
Bottom line: you should switch to natural deodorant from aluminum deodorant since it’s healthier for you and your skin. Now let’s take a look at how you can do just that.
1. Try a Healing Clay Mask
When you switch to natural deodorant, your skin will quickly enter a “purge cycle.” In short, over the next four weeks or so, you may find that your skin sweats more than usual and that you stink more than usual. Why? When you finally unblock your pores and let your body sweat naturally, it’ll start to try to purge the remaining aluminum molecules just beneath the surface of the skin. It’ll also try to purge extra toxins that may remain within the epidermis and lower layers. This, naturally, can cause a lot of discomfort and irritation. To that end, you might consider using a healing clay mask on your armpits.
Clay masks are very useful since they can help to remove the buildup of antiperspirant deodorant molecules. This, in turn, may minimize the purge effects and prevent your skin from reacting quite as harshly as it would otherwise. Plus, it could help to unplug your pores a little more quickly. This will help your skin recover more rapidly as well, making the transition to a natural deodorant smoother and easier.
2. Use a Deodorant With Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch
Next, select a natural deodorant with ingredients like cornstarch or arrowroot powder. These natural ingredients are helpful since they soak up extra moisture. As noted above, once you switch to a natural deodorant, your body will likely produce more sweat than it normally does. This is an overreaction since the pores in your armpits are now unblocked so that sweat can flow freely.
Unfortunately, this can make stains on your clothes more likely and ramp up your body odor significantly. Arrowroot powder and cornstarch can soak up the extra moisture and minimize this effect, plus prevent chafing or irritation under your arms. For a home fix-it remedy, you can also try running a bit of baking powder under your arms if your pits are truly puddling!
3. Wear Loose Clothing
Evaporation is your friend when switching to natural deodorant. To that end, you shouldn’t wear any overly tight clothing, nor should you wear clothing that makes your body heat up more than usual. Instead, wear loose clothing that allows for plenty of airflow, especially toward your armpits. If you do this, you’ll find that your arms are a little drier than usual, which can minimize the purge effect mentioned earlier. Wearing loose clothing will also keep your skin from feeling irritated or constrained. All in all, loose clothing is great just because it’s comfortable and it helps your sweat do its job: keep you cool through evaporation!
4. Consider Your Diet
You are what you eat, which certainly affects your sweat’s molecular content! Indeed, your diet helps to determine what macromolecules and bacterial food are present in your sweat. Eating foods like red meat or sulfurous foods, such as broccoli, may cause your body odor to stink more than usual. This is also true if you eat a lot of processed food, which can add to your body odor over time. In order to switch to natural deodorant with a minimum of fuss and funky smell, try to clean up your diet by eating non-sulfurous foods and minimizing your red meat intake. Instead, try to eat lots of healthy vegetables, eat lean meats instead of red meat, and prioritize non-processed foods wherever possible.
5. Use a Charcoal Bar Soap
Charcoal bar soap is your friend when switching to natural deodorant. Charcoal bar soap can double down on the detoxifying effect of a clay mask by helping to draw out additional impurities from your underarm pores. Furthermore, charcoal bar soap can capably clean away excess bacteria and salt from your skin without irritating the epidermis. Put simply, you should use a charcoal bar soap during the purge so your skin stays clean and fresh without causing your pores to produce more sweat and more body odor by accident.
6. Drink More Water
It may sound counterintuitive, but you could switch to natural deodorant more easily if you drink more water. By drinking additional water, you may sweat more, but that sweat will also be less smelly. Each drop of sweat will have less sulfur content. In a more long-term sense, drinking more water and sweating more will help your body get rid of aluminum and sulfur built up underneath the epidermis more quickly. So you may stink more temporarily, but you could also accelerate the purge and get to the end of the process more rapidly. Then you won’t have to worry about smelling more just because you swapped from aluminum deodorant to natural deodorant!
7. Remember That the “Purge” Isn’t Permanent
Above all else, remember this key tip: the purge from switching from an artificial or aluminum-based deodorant or antiperspirant to a natural deodorant does not last forever. On average, this purge cycle lasts for three weeks to four weeks in total. That means you’ll only have to withstand bad body odor for a short amount of time. The rewards are more than worth it, and once the purge is over, you’ll be able to use your natural deodorant and find that your body smells just like you’re used to. If it seems tough, we don’t blame you. But stick with it!
Ultimately, it’s a great idea to switch to natural deodorant sooner rather than later! The sooner you swap to natural deodorant, the faster your pores will be unplugged, and the sooner your body will be able to sweat normally, reducing the likelihood of skin irritation or even serious skin conditions. However, you will have to go through the skin purge process to do this. Luckily, you can follow the tips above to make the swap to natural deodorant smoother overall. Plus, you can follow additional guides and advice on 1AND1.
Need more tips to clean up your diet, enjoy healthy exercise, or determine what ingredients are truly good for your body and the environment? Check out our additional resources today!
Body Odor: Causes, Changes, Underlying Diseases & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic
Is Deodorant Harmful for Your Health? | Penn Medicine