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7 Reasons You Should Switch to Natural Deodorant

Looking for a greener alternative to conventional antiperspirants? Here's why you should consider going the natural route.

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Conventional antiperspirants and deodorants contain potentially harmful ingredients

According alc

o Sophia Gushee, a non-toxic living expert and author of The A to Z of D-Toxing, there are a number of harmful ingredients found in conventional formulas. Aluminum—the active ingredient in antiperspirants that keeps you dry—has raised the most concerns for its potential link to everything from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s. Other questions ingredients include: parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, and triclosan. (It’s worth noting that both the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say traditional deodorants are safe.)

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Natural deodorants are aluminum-free

As mentioned, aluminum keeps you dry, but let’s get scientific for a minute; it actually causing ducts to swell so the sweat can’t get out—effectively trapping it inside. There are some very real concerns surrounding exposure to aluminum. While studies around the long-term health risks are not yet conclusive, there is research to suggest that aluminum may have genotoxic and estrogenic effects and may contribute to breast cancer. Instead of aluminum, all natural deodorants rely on plant-based powders and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to help absorb wetness without any of the controversial chemicals, explains Jaime Schmidt, founder and CEO of Schmidt’s Naturals. (This is why you shouldn’t use deodorant before a mammogram).

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Natural deodorants are free of synthetic fragrance

“Scented deodorants typically contain synthetic fragrance, which can be created from any combination of thousands of chemicals,” explains Gushee. “Many of these chemicals are [potentially] linked to a number of serious health effects.” Instead of synthetic fragrances, all natural deodorants use—safe and effective—pure essential oils to combat odor.

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Sweating is healthy!

A common complaint is that natural deodorants don’t keep you as dry as conventional formulas…but that might actually be a good thing. Antiperspirant doesn’t truly stop you from sweating. It clogs your pores and blocks your body from expelling sweat—that’s why you feel “dry.” Studies show that perspiration may be a vehicle for some toxins to exit the body. “When you sweat, you’re actually releasing toxins and naturally detoxifying the body,” explains Jena Covello, founder of Agent Nateur.

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Natural formulas improve the health of your pits

While some people remark that they notice an odor upon making the switch to natural, it’s not actually your new deodorant that’s to blame. “When switching to a natural deodorant, it takes time for your body to adjust to the product. Depending on your body chemistry, you may experience breakthrough odor and increased sweating during the first few weeks,” explains Mary Futher, founder and product developer of Kaia Naturals. “This is actually a normal sign that your body is going through a detox.”

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Contrary to what you may have heard, natural deodorants are effective

Want to stay fresh and dry sans chemicals? “The mechanism behind natural deodorant is really close to chemical deodorant…kill bacteria that causes the smell,” explains Audrey Christie, RN, RM, CCMA, and wellness educator. “Instead of aluminum and parabens, many natural deodorants use a combination of coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda, and essential oils. The coconut oil and essential oils are antimicrobial, the essential oil also provides some scent, the cornstarch and baking soda change the pH of your armpits to a less friendly environment for the bacteria.”

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There are great all natural options

“With a multitude of natural deodorants available, it’s a lot simpler to find something that’s not only effective, but also delivers peace of mind,” says Kasia Rothe, CEO of Rustic MAKA. Kaia naturals Takesumi Detox Deodorant is crafted with a blend of vegan-friendly, detoxifying ingredients, like bamboo, charcoal, and essential oils. Agent Nateur N°3 Deodorant contains only non-GMO, pesticide-free, food-grade ingredients (coconut, castor and eucalyptus oils, sunflower and avocado butters, raw organic honey, lavender essential oil, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide). Not only does it keep you fresh as a daisy, but it’s great for even the most sensitive skin. Desert Rose Organics Homemade Probiotic Deodorant is formulated with seven ingredients—including live probiotics—to help balance skin pH. Looking for a natural spray alternative? Boscia Charcoal Deodorant relies on purifying black and white charcoal to effectively absorb wetness and eliminate odor, sans talc (a common and concerning ingredient in many conventional spray formulas). In the mood to DIY? Try these homemade deodorant recipes.