OUR DEODORANT CENTER
Congratulations on taking the plunge towards healthier and cleaner armpits.
While talking about our armpits might seem like “the pits”, its an important subject that deserves a little consideration. Sweating is an important function of the body which helps to cool our bodies, remove excess salts and other trace compounds, and remove oils and build up from our pores. Unfortunately, our modern society has made any amount of moisture around our pits taboo.
So, marketers have convinced us that clogging our pores with aluminum salts is a good thing. However, we know that clogging our pores can lead to serious inflammation and irritation, can promote undesirable microbial growth, and there are numerous studies linking aluminum to serious health concerns.
Every body is different. What works for you isn't going to always work for the next person. We hope to provide you with as much information as possible so you can make the best decisions for yourself.
Our Deodorant Center is a compilation of important information, resources, updates with regards to underarm and pit health as well as the newest information and research about deodorants. Check back here over time; we will keep updating this page along with our blog for the most up-to-date research and information!
Are organic (natural) deodorants antiperspirants?
Short answer is no.
Technically deodorants aren't antiperspirants to begin with. Although many people use the terms deodorant and antiperspirant interchangeably, there is a huge difference between the two. Deodorants help block body odor but aren't formulated to stop you from sweating. Antiperspirants typically contain aluminum, which blocks sweat glands and reduces sweat excretion.
It's extremely important to remember that the reason why "conventional deodorants" are antiperspirants. When they are applied to the skin and come in contact with sweat, the rise in pH causes aluminum salts to precipitate out and form a plug over sweat glands. So these conventional deodorants work by blocking the sweat ducts and reduces the amount of sweat that reaches the skin's surface. The over-the-counter clinical strength antiperspirants contain even higher concentrations of aluminum to be more effective.
Deodorants work by masking odor with scents or using properties to combat the bacteria that break down sweat. When sweat is present, the bacteria eats up dead skin cells and causes body odor.
Antiperspirants prevent bacteria from even seeing sweat, so the odor isn't created.
Why is it important to ditch the conventional deodorants and antiperspirants for an organic one?
I was a teenager when I bought my first deodorant at a big box store. I was so excited to become a young adult and to be able to choose my favorite scent. As if it was a perk to growing up and becoming a woman.
What I didn't expect was a few weeks later, both of my pits began to darken. It wasn't irritated, developing rashes, itchy - just literally darkening. A little skin color change didn't frighten me, but when my underarms were really dark, I begin to wonder what I was putting on my skin.
I stopped using a conventional deodorant. My pits cleared up and looked normal once again. Even in my teens, I knew better. To me, I was putting on something harmful on my pits, and my body obviously gave me clear warning signs to stop.
That's my experience... But I did wonder if anyone else have battles with their conventional deodorants and antiperspirants. Conversations around this with many consumers like yourself have led me to believe that even though all of our experiences may not be the same, they are quite similar.
One. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain aluminum.
Most of us by now already know that aluminum-containing products used on a daily basis near our lymph nodes is just not wise. There are a surprisingly large number of lymph nodes near each of our underarms. These lymph nodes are crucial to your body's immune system and serve to filter toxins out of tissues. They also products lymphocytes, a variety of immune cells that fight infections. Affected lymph nodes sometimes have to be surgically removed for certain breast cancer, which then really impairs the immune system.
While these ingredients may not seem highly toxic, high doses of aluminum accumulated from repeat use for years can be dangerous, leading to possible tumor formation according to studies.
Two. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants change your underarm microbiome.
In case you don't already know this, it's not your sweat that stinks. It's certain bacteria that break down the sweat that stinks. These odor-causing bacteria produces thioalcohols, which smells like oniony, meaty scents.
Here's the thing: your skin is home to so many different kinds of bacteria, some of which are very beneficial. This collection of bacteria is called a microbiome, and it can vary depending on your body part. Your underarms is a nice home for so many different kinds of bacteria due to the amount of sweat secretion and oil and the dark, damp conditions (when we sweat).
Ever wonder why one person smells more than another? Or you smell differently from the next person? Our microbiomes all vary - types of bacteria and their composition.
Something that you may not know is that conventional deodorant may change your underarm microbiome (and not always for the better either). The deodorants you use change the composition of the microbiome. Antiperspirant formulations reduce the number of bacteria in your underarms but also encourages more diverse microbes to grow there. Interestingly, conventional deodorant seems to increase the number of bacteria compared to people who don't wear deodorant.
Studies have shown an overabundance of Staphylococcaceae, bacteria notorious for causing staph infections, growing on people's underarms when they stopped using conventional antiperspirants and deodorants for a few days after normal, repeat use. On the other hand, people who normally don't use conventional antiperspirants and deodorants have underarms dominated by Corynebacterium, a much friendlier yet stinkier bacteria.
You have taken the first step to “freshen” up your armpits. Here is a timeline of what to expect.
You have been using a modern antiperspirant or deodorant to for years, so don’t expect overnight results by switching to a natural deodorant. In fact, the aluminum and chemicals in modern products will actually persist on your skin for a few days after switching to a natural deodorant.
After a few days of use, your pores will become unclogged and release built up oils, sweat, and microbes, so expect some above average sweating and musk 1-2 weeks after converting.
After 4-6 weeks of use your body should adjust to the new routine and regulate to your new norm. You will now smell like you, which is a great thing and not something to hide and diminish.
Our product’s goal is to freshen the scent of your armpits, provide moisture absorption, and prevent undesirable microbial growth. This product will not keep your armpits dry as Death Valley and smell like bakery fresh cinnamon rolls (you don’t really want that anyway). You may find that you might need an extra application during those muggy days of summer or after a board meeting when the AC isn’t working properly.
Why don't you use ingredients like baking soda? Most other brands of natural deodorants use it.
Let’s talk about one of best naturally occurring deodorizers. You probably have an open box in your fridge right now. Yes, we are talking about baking soda, that magical product that is in the same box it was when your grandparents first met. Baking soda is a great deodorizer with many other beneficial properties.
However, many people’s skin is irritated and inflamed by the amount of baking soda that is typically in natural deodorants. It is for those reasons that we chose to leave the baking soda in the fridge. Our deodorants use several odor fighting essential oils like bergamot and tea tree to keep your armpits fresh throughout the day.
A quick note on shelf life. We rely on the antimicrobial properties of the natural nut/seed butters and essential oils to preserve our products. Please complete use of product within six months after opening.
The pitfalls of marketing - why crystal deodorants aren't actually aluminum-free
There is a lot of misleading information out there. Unfortunately, the general public doesn't always have the knowledge to discern the bad information from the good.
One of the most misleading marketing tactics is around crystal deodorants. Consumers are now looking for aluminum-free deodorants but forgetting that the marketing folks sometimes find loopholes and get creative. There are reasons why crystal deodorants have front labels that say "free of aluminum chlorohydrate" or "no harmful aluminums" instead of "aluminum-free" - the front label is regulated, so any mention of aluminum-free would be false. And when you turn over to the back label, you'll see "mineral salt" listed as the ingredient.
Crystal deodorants are absolutely not aluminum-free. Let's dive deeper. What exactly is this "mineral salt" that they are referring to? One of the widely-used form of aluminum in cosmetics is actually potassium aluminum sulfate. While potassium alum does naturally occur in mineral deposits, this ingredient is synthetically manufactured for cosmetics. The most common way to synthesize potassium alum is through hydrometallurgy, where sulfuric acid is reacted with bauxite ore to form potassium aluminum sulfate.
While Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates both potassium aluminum sulfate and aluminum chlorohydrate as 2 and 2-3, it does state for both that one or more animal studies show tumor formation at high doses. Because deodorant is applied daily in an area of the body near lymph nodes, it's really important to avoid using any aluminum-containing products.
Consumers do not know that although aluminum chlorohydrate is used in many conventional antiperspirants, there are other forms of aluminum in cosmetics formulations. Not all natural-occurring or natural ingredients are created equal, and unfortunately greenwashing products that contain these natural ingredients have confused the general public.
Tips and Tricks for transitioning from conventional antiperspirants and deodorants TO organic deodorants:
Transitioning during cooler weather will be best. Summer is probably the worst time to do this (unless you live in an area that doesn't get hot) only because you are more prone to sweating. Winter is the best season to transition while Spring and Fall are also good seasons.
For those of you facing health concerns, we urge you to take that first step and transition no matter the circumstances! You living the best quality of life is much more important, and we do have some tools and tricks to help with that transition - so read on!
- It is extremely important to stick it out! Don't quit. Many conventional products are formulated to trick you into thinking that the organic products don't work... And that just isn't true. Once you grit through the transition periods and allow your body and skin to adjust, you'll find that organic products using natural ingredients perform much better - and is much healthier! Your body thanks you for it.
- We highly suggest using some kind of detox mask especially formulated to help pull out the aluminum salts, toxins, and more during this transition period. The mask will also help kill off the odor-causing bacteria. We have one that is ready-to-use and not messy, click here to purchase. If you have extremely sensitive skin (highly prone to breaking out, rashes, etc.), we recommend the regular formula without the charcoal. However, for everyone else, we highly recommend the charcoal formula, which is still great for sensitive skin. It is extremely effective at detoxing and does wonders for the skin.
- Choose the scent that sparks joy the most! It may seem super gimmicky or silly, but we are totally serious about this. The scent you are attracted to most will work best for your body chemistry. Not every scent is going to work for everyone. Some scents may make you even more smelly, not in a good way. Again, don't give up; change scents if one doesn't work for you and give it another go. You'll be surprised how changing scents can help.
- If you do need a little more protection/strength, go with one of the charcoal deodorants. Charcoal is a very effective deodorizer. Even though the charcoal deodorant sticks are dark gray and aren't "white", they do apply on the skin clear! So don't worry about that.
- To avoid any type of clothing stains including sweat stains, wear looser clothing, natural fabrics like cotton, and avoid lighter colors such as white and bold colors such as bright pink.
Did you know there are other ways to prevent sweaty armpits other than using antiperspirants?
Ditching the antiperspirants to avoid aluminum can be painful, especially if you're really bothered by how much you sweat. Sweating is really important for body function and is good but we totally get why excessive sweating can be uncomfortable. Here are some ways and lifestyle changes you can try to prevent from excessive sweating:
- Shave or wax your pits. Since hair holds moisture, pit hair obviously can retain all that sweat. For the heavy sweaters, shaving is essential. This may help reduce or eliminate body odor along with the sweat.
- Did you know that certain foods and drinks can impact on how much you sweat? Reducing or eliminating certain sweat-inducing foods may help. Avoid foods and drinks with low fiber content, high sodium, high in fat content, processed foods, garlic, onions, hot and spicy foods, caffeine, ice cream, and liquor and beer.
- On the other hand, certain foods and drinks can actually help reduce the amount of sweat your body produces and calm overactive sweat glands. Eating more sweat-reducing foods that won't put a strain on your digestive system while calming your nervous system may help. Include these more into your diet: almonds, bananas, vegetables and fruits with high water content, sweet potatoes, oats, olive oil, water, and green tea.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and eat foods with high water content. This helps regular your body temperature and prevents excessive sweating from the pits.
- This won't be a popular one. Reduce or, better yet, skip the caffeine. As much as it keeps many of us awake, caffeine does stimulate the nervous system while increasing sweat. Blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, and sweat glands are kicked into high gear.
- Just like caffeine, another culprit is nicotine. You guessed it - smoking actually raises your body temperature, raises your heart rate, and causes your sweat glands to kick into high gear. If you're ready to reduce excess sweating and improve your overall health, stop smoking may just be the answer you're looking for.
- We don't normally think about this, but wearing tighter cloths that are snug in the underarms can actually make you sweat more (and cause pit stains). Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing, which allows the pits to cool properly and prevent excessive sweating and clothing stains. Lightweight cotton or fabric made with natural fibers is highly recommended. Cotton, chambray, linen are all great options. Avoid clothes with polyester, rayon, spandex, denim, etc.
Remember that every body is different. Some methods may work better for you than others. Try making an adjustment at a time to see what works best. No matter which improvements you are making, we will be cheering you on from the sidelines!