So, what actually is a deodorant and what is the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant..?? And what’s all the talk about natural deodorant….??
A deodorant is pretty much what it sounds like – something used to deodorise. We apply deodorants mostly under our armpits to prevent the unpleasant smell produced when we sweat. But sweating is not what causes the smell…..it’s what happens to the sweat once it’s been ‘sweated’ that is the problem. Our pits are the perfect place for bacteria to thrive – cosy, warm, and humid, and they love the stuff that’s produced when we sweat. Simply put, sweat + bacteria = BO. Deodorants work to make the underarm environment less attractive for these little bacteria, and with no bacteria to react with the sweat, unpleasant smells are kept to a minimum. Deodorants also contain ‘nice’ smelling things too which helps to mask or dominate any more unpleasant smells.
So, deodorants kill bacteria and make us smell nicer but they don’t stop us from sweating. That’s where antiperspirants come in.
Antiperspirants work by reacting with the electrolytes in our sweat to create a layer of gel that plugs our sweat glands to stop any sweat getting out. With no sweat to eat, the bacteria don’t make such a smell – remember the equation…??
This all sounds great. No sweat, no smells. But sweating is one of the ways our body gets rid of toxins. And if we stop the sweating, these toxins will remain in our bodies.
In addition, most antiperspirants are made up of a plethora of potentially harmful ingredients which we then put on our skin. Different brands will have different ingredients, so it’s always best to check, but the top deodorant and antiperspirant baddies to watch out for include parabens, aluminium compounds, pthalates, triclosan and parfum – usually a mixture of scent chemicals.
The Alternative? You Guessed it… Natural Deodorant!!
Yep, they are a thing. They are made from natural ingredients (obviously), and now come in a range of applications. Some are a course paste that usually come in a jar or tin. These ones are applied using your fingertips. If you’re more of a swipe person, there are also more solid natural deodorants that come in a stick, and lots are available in cardboard tubes like these ones from No.8 Essentials. These natural deodorants are a completely waste free option because you can compost the tube when you’re done – brilliant!!
Natural deodorant contains ingredients like clays, tapioca powder, baking soda or cornstarch which all work to absorb moisture (sweat) – and going back to the all important equation…less sweat = less BO. There could also be essential oils for fragrance and butters or oils for moisture and skin conditioning.
So what happens when I switch…??
After using a chemical based deodorant for so long, your body will be used to it and changing suddenly might cause some alarm (and unwanted smells….)!! But don’t worry…. If you feel like your natural deodorant isn’t up to the job after just a few days, please persevere….!! This is just your body adjusting to the new regime.
Some Tips to Help You Through the Transition
- Use your new natural deodorant sparingly. This might seem at odds with what you’re trying to achieve but more product can actually encourage irritation, so in this case, less is more.
- Check for baking soda. This can be the cause of reactions in some people. Switch brands if you feel this is irritating you.
- Wash regularly with a mild, natural soap. This will help keep bacteria at bay and keep you clean in between uses.
- Drink lots of water!! This will help to flush out your system as it adjusts to your new deodorant.
- Wait until it’s cool outside. Do your transition in the winter when you’re less likely to be hot and sweaty!!
- Persevere. This transition phase won’t last forever. It could be that you haven’t found the right brand for you yet. It’s great to approach a new way of ‘deodorising’ with a friend or partner so if a brand doesn’t suit you, you can pass it on. Trying out lots of brands can get expensive and be frustrating, so doing it with someone you don’t mind sharing a bit of deo with is great!! And it really pays off when you find The One….!!
There really are lots of natural deodorants to choose from. There is something for everyone, so hop on over to the Green Elephant marketplace and see what takes your fancy Shop Natural Deodorants.