Why You Should Use Natural Deodorant

Learn more about the dangers associated with conventional deodorants and antiperspirants, and discover safer, natural deodorants.

| July/August 2014

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick

Naturally occurring aluminum (with molecules too large to be absorbed into the body) helps prevent odors. $4, thecrystal.com

Photo courtesy Crystal

Embracing natural beauty goes beyond creams, moisturizers, lotions and makeup—it encompasses anything we put in and on our bodies, including deodorants and antiperspirants. Although we may be proud to toss body-care products made with harsh ingredients, (understandably) few of us are willing to compromise on the topic of body odor.

Lack of knowledge and a fear of sweaty armpits—a subject no one wants to talk about—may make you shy away from natural deodorants. But you shouldn’t disregard the concerns surrounding some of the ingredients in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants. Every day we slather these products under our arms, an area where many lymph nodes lie close to the surface of the skin. And even though these products effectively block sweat, many of the popular drugstore brands are loaded with questionable ingredients that are worth examining, if not also replacing with safe alternatives.

Analyzing Aluminum

Aluminum is the active ingredient antiperspirants rely on to keep our underarms fresh. This is how it works: Aluminum salts—in the form of aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium, aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum hydroxybromide—prevent us from sweating when aluminum ions are drawn into the cells that line the sweat ducts, causing the cells to swell and squeezing the ducts closed so sweat cannot get out.

Unfortunately, aluminum is also a known neurotoxin that has been linked to breast cancer and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s briefly break down these risks. Most breast cancers develop in the upper outer part of the breast—the area closest to the armpit—and some research has suggested that aluminum compounds absorbed by the skin may cause changes in the estrogen receptors of breast cells. In addition, high levels of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, and a recent study from Saint Louis University found that aluminum may cause liver toxicity, a contributing factor to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Aluminum-Free Deodorants

The most concerning risk factor for many of these ingredients—especially aluminum—is long-term exposure. Although studies about such health risks are not yet definitive, it makes sense to investigate safe alternatives. Fortunately, as more information comes to light on these chemical ingredients, more companies are developing safer alternatives—and with more products come more options. It’s becoming easier than ever to turn to safe, effective alternatives. Here are a few types you will find on the market.

Crystal deodorant stones contain a naturally occurring form of aluminum made up of molecules too large to be absorbed by the skin. This helps make these products effective at preventing bacteria-causing odor found in sweat from developing, rather than artificially clogging pores as antiperspirants do.

1/31/2016 1:00:00 AM

I use Junglewoman All-Natural deodorant. It's 100% all-natural, hypoallergenic, unisex and contains only 4 ingredients. www.junglemannaturals.com

1/26/2016 7:48:20 AM

In today’s time, whenever we go to the market, we find various types of deodorants that belong to different brands. But not all the deodorants are the same. Particularly when it comes to kids, we should always focus on selecting the ones that are safe deodorant for kids. Since some comprise artificial components like triclosan, it prevents the growth of bacteria while giving certain harm to their sensitive skin. http://www.wekeepitkind.com/us/

10/5/2015 1:22:29 PM

Thank you for this article. I recently started looking into deodorant alternative due to my grandmother having breast cancer. I am trying to minimize as much chemicals as possible used in my family. I went to a farmers market here in Brooklyn by the Library and found a nice young lady that sells natural deodorant. I have never seen anything like this before around here. Her webpage is http://kaieteurnaturals.com/ very hard to pronounce the name but her products works great so far

7/14/2015 8:05:12 AM

I like Handcrafted HoneyBee from the Created Collection "Beautiful You" Natural Probiotic Deodorant - Unscented (BAKING SODA FREE) for $11.49 each

5/29/2015 5:55:17 PM

I discovered Best Deodorant Ever (www.bestdeodorantever.com) and it really is the BEST! None of the other natural ones out there kept me stink-free all day, but this stuff does. It really WORKS and I don't have to reapply throughout the day.

4/17/2015 2:08:45 AM

No info abut the 6 recommended deodorants? = Thinly Veiled Promotion. Dermatologist recommended ... plain old alcohol swiped on underarms. You're trying to kill the bacteria that cause stinky pits, not stop sweating. Add your own fragrance if you like.

4/15/2015 2:12:41 PM

I'm working on testing Arm & Hammer unscented - thus far I'm impressed. I've tried many natural deodorants, made some myself and found them somewhat inconvenient to find, pricing was sometimes very high, quality of product not equal to cost, and using them sometimes was not fun. Finding the right wet/dry mixture and scents making them yourself can be frustrating and I don't like cold refrigerated items touching my armpits in the morning especially. Most recently the last one I tried was Tom's of Maine Lemon Grass etc. it made my armpits burn slightly and peel. I hope arm & hammer works out as its easy to find, price is alright and its easy to use etc. thanks

7/29/2014 11:52:14 AM

Ive tried several doederant products;Trader Joes,etc.... and they only last a few hours Looking into concocting homemade odor killer.

7/28/2014 1:26:13 PM

"Crystal" deodorants like Lafe's and Crystal body deodorant actually contain ALUMINUM. These crystals are potassium alum (or ammonium alum), the full chemical name of which is potassium aluminum sulfate (or ammonium aluminum sulfate.) These are pure ALUMINUM salts. You know when you hear not to use aluminum cookware with acidic foods because it leaches out aluminum? That's exactly what these salts are. They take aluminum ore, (bauxite) and leach out the aluminum with sulfuric acid. This solution is then processed and when it dries it forms crystals--the deodorant crystals that are marketed as "safe" and "natural" deodorants. But they're PURE aluminum! They'll market it as "no harmful aluminums" but you'll notice they're never "aluminum-free." There's no such thing as a safe aluminum--it has no place in the body, and is only a toxin--whether it's from "natural" sources.

6/25/2014 5:10:46 PM

I've tried many natural deodorants and they all seemed to come up short compared to aluminum based products until I tried Primal Pit Paste. I was leery to order an online product after having little success with store bought alternatives, but after reading all the raving reviews, I thought I'd give it a try. Was I ever pleased with the results! I finally found something that actually works. I would highly recommend this product to your readers.

6/25/2014 3:54:37 PM

I have been using nothing but lime juice for nearly a year, and it has never failed me. I even tested it when I first heard of it by not showering for a whole week, just using lime juice, and it worked. Sometimes it gets a little sticky, so I dust with cornstarch. Other than that I have no complaints. It's the strong acidity that kills the bacteria that cause odor, and you can use lemon if you get tired of lime. I just juice whole limes, strain the juice through muslin, and put it into a roll-on dispenser, which I keep in the fridge. I also add a little grapefruit essential oil because I like how the scents blend. I find it more convenient than slicing a fresh lime every day, and the juice keeps in the dispenser until the bottle is empty.

6/25/2014 2:28:22 PM

I bought a deodorant 'cream' from a young girl (maybe 10 at most) at my farmer's market 'Kids Vending Day' last month, made of simple mix of (all organic) raw coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and non-alum baking soda. It works great (despite the oil, it dries quickly), and I plan on buying the bigger jar when I get a chance. Plus I love the idea of supporting busy young entrepreneurs!

6/25/2014 8:39:48 AM

I just don't care for the new antiperspirants especially the Clinical Strength it doesn't work as i am going through Menopause and it isn't helping me with odor so could you recommend for someone like me? If you could let me know something I would greatly appreciate it.Thanks So Much For The Advice, Sincerely Frances Barker.....

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