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While some of us may choose to wear a signature scent, something others will come to associate just with us, none of us would want that scent to be that of a sweaty, smelly junior high dance. When I thought about ditching my antiperspirant and deodorant a handful of years ago for a cleaner, more natural version, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to lift my arms in any capacity for fear it would take whoever I was with back to their junior high dance experience. But, after learning more and more about the products I had been using and realizing there were a LOT of options out there for more natural deodorants, I felt like I could make the switch.

First, let’s talk definitions. Antiperspirants and deodorants are two different products, even though we often talk about them interchangeably. An antiperspirant works to stop or reduce the production of sweat under the armpit by forcing the pores to close. Many antiperspirants use some kind of aluminum-based complex to achieve this goal. Deodorant, on the other hand, is made to eliminate the odor under the armpit, often using an alcohol base.

But it’s important to remember that our bodies’ functions serve particular purposes. We sweat because we’re overheating and need to cool off, or because some toxins are within us that our bodies know should not be there, and it is releasing them. Using an antiperspirant blocks a healthy function of our body. Yes, we don’t want to smell like we’re at a junior high dance, but let’s establish that we should not use an antiperspirant. Not only for it’s very function, but also for many of the ingredients.

Health disrupter ingredients found in antiperspirants and deodorants

Many ingredients found in both antiperspirants and deodorants are parabens, phalates and fragrance.

  • Parabens are a compound of chemicals often used as a preservative. They are also known endocrine disruptors, actually changing the makeup of cells work, often mimicking estrogen.
  • Phalates are used as plasticizers. They help plastic become more pliable. In personal care products, phlatates help nail polish bend to the shape of your nail and fragrance stick to your skin. Studies have suggested they could damage vital organs like the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive organs.
  • Fragrance, as I’ve written before, is a conglomeration of chemicals that are unique to a product. Through a loophole in our federal regulations, companies do not have to disclose what is in the “fragrance” for a particular product.

If you’re anything like I was a few years ago, you are probably questioning what you’re putting under your arm (and very close to lymph nodes in your body which work to combat infection throughout the body). After all, even products applied to our skin can seep into the bloodstream and wreak havoc in our bodies.

Toxin-free deodorant suggestions

There are so many toxin-free deodorants out there, but here are a few tried and true favorites:

Tom’s of Maine: A good and easy switch, partially because of price and partially because you can find it in a lot of drug stores, Target, Amazon. No excuses for you not to try now!

Native: I have used this for the last several months. I kept hearing rave reviews, and thought that I would give it a try. The free shipping had me, and I’ve really liked the deodorant so far. It’s worked well and the smell (Coconut & Vanilla) is really nice.

Purelygreat: This is my favorite EWG-verified deodorant I’ve found thus far. As EWG-verified, the deodorant meets the Environmental Working Group’s standards of manufacturing, ingredients, and more. Plus, you can find it on Amazon. Score!

Making the switch

If you’ve decided that you might want to try a deodorant that’s a bit more natural, here are a couple of things you’ll want to know.

  1. You may stink for a week or so. Your body is releasing many of the toxins that you’ve been using to cover up stink through your armpits. It wasn’t overwhelming for me, by any means, but I did find that I had to wash shirts I wore once, purely based on the odor of my underarms. It subsided within a week.
  2. You might need to apply more than once a day. I find that on the days that I have something in the evening, I often apply deodorant again. I don’t think I used to do this when I was using non-natural deodorant. But reapplying helps me feel a bit more fresh and put together.
  3. if you’re thinking of switching to a more natural deodorant, now would be a great time to make the switch as the temperatures drop outside. That means less time to sweat and stink!
  4. And my last word here, is, switching to a new natural deodorant may take awhile. Be patient. Try something out for about two weeks before you make a decision. I know that we have a fear of smelling, but honestly, you’re making such a healthy decision by trying this.