Natural deodorant or not? This is the debate on one of the most used personal care products on the market. Is it worth it to make the switch?
With questionable effectiveness and ingredients in most of the over-the-counter drugstore brands of deodorant, it’s worth it to take a closer look at what we are putting on our bodies and how this everyday product could affect our health.
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When products go on the skin, they can enter the bloodstream without being metabolized. Substances commonly included in deodorant products can work their way past the epidermis and into the body and even the lymph nodes. Some reports claim that the chemicals absorbed through your skin could cause estrogen-like hormonal effects, and Alzheimer’s and breast cancer have both been linked to aluminum compounds found in antiperspirants. However, both the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute say there’s no “conclusive evidence” linking deodorant chemicals to cancer.
Research performed at the University of Ghent, Belgium, in 2014 found that using deodorant and/or antiperspirants could actually worsen your armpit odor. In this study, they found that subjects who used antiperspirants had higher levels of Actinobacteria, yet another bacterium responsible for armpit odor.
So how do natural deodorants actually work? They have natural disinfectants or antibacterial properties such as tea tree or coconut oil. Absorbent ingredients such as baking soda, arrowroot or cornstarch are used to combat moisture, and essential oils like lavender, sandalwood or bergamot help neutralize the body’s scent.
Natural deodorants will not block sweat like antiperspirants (due to the lack of aluminum in natural products), but they will help with odor. Perhaps more importantly, if you’re worried about health risks, using a natural deodorant could provide peace of mind that you’re using safer ingredients on your skin as opposed to a product that could cause skin irritation and even make perspiration worse.