Why you should switch to natural deodorant
If you’re in the process of eliminating chemicals and plastics from the bathroom, then you might have pondered the switch to a natural deodorant. You’re not alone if you feel a reluctance to make the change though.
Personal hygiene is a sensitive area and moving away from a reliable product can strike fear into hearts of even the most open-minded eco-warrior. Your personal health could be at stake, however, and many big name brands of deodorant contain a hefty dollop of controversial chemicals, not to mention the single-use packaging that’s harmful to our planet.
Understanding sweat, and the risk of aluminium salts
Sweat itself doesn't actually smell, but when mixed with the bacteria under the arms, body odour can develop. Antiperspirants work by clogging your pores so that you can't sweat in order to avoid this problem, but they often contain aluminium. There are concerns that aluminium could cause an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in later life but this has not been confirmed.
Aluminium based antiperspirants have long been controversial and the EU caution that antiperspirants containing aluminium salts should not be used on irritated or broken skin. There are also some correlations between breast cancer and prolonged use of aluminium based antiperspirants. However, it’s worth pointing out that the jury is still out on the causal links between aluminium antiperspirants and both cancer and Alzheimer’s and no studies have conclusively connected the dots.
Why natural deodorants are better for you
Antiperspirants keep you dry, but they prevent your body from doing the job it’s supposed to do. Many well known deodorant brands also contain parabens and known carcinogens, as well as being saddled with animal testing and other questionable development practices.
Natural deodorants can be incredibly effective not only because they don't clog your pores and prevent sweating but they can also help to manage the bacteria and dead skin cells in the armpit. Essential oils like tea tree are naturally antibacterial and work to control armpit bacteria effectively.
The incredible Himalayan Salt deodorant works by forming a topical layer on the skin, creating an environment that is impossible for bacteria to grow on. The deodorant eliminates the odour-causing bacteria and prevents body odour.
Many natural deodorants also contain a wealth of moisturising properties that repair and nourish your skin. Ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil deliver these benefits and make things like shaving easier and less irritating to your skin.
Don't forget to look out for plastic-free packaging. Brands like Earth Conscious are packaged in a recycled cardboard tube (and donate 10p of every sale to MCS), and Blushberry Botanicals package their deodorant in a recyclable and reusable aluminium tin.
The transition period
If you have been a long time devotee to conventional deodorants, particularly antiperspirants, then you may go through a short transition phase as your body (and you!) acclimatises to its natural balance.
The residue from aluminium salts can take a few days to become unclogged and during this time, you may find the bacteria under your arm also needs time to adjust.
However, many people won't even experience a transition period, and those that do should expect it to pass very quickly (much quicker than when switching to shampoo bars or going no-poo).