Is deodorant bad for you? It’s a question that has been circulating for a while now and still doesn’t seem to have a concrete answer. While some studies have linked antiperspirants to cancer and Alzheimer’s, other articles argue that the evidence is insufficient. Today I wanted to talk about why I chose to stop wearing antiperspirant, how to make the switch, and what to expect.
Why I Stopped Wearing Antiperspirant
When I was in high school, I was a pretty sweaty person. No matter what I tried, I’d always end up with sweat stains on my shirts. And, back then it was the style to wear tiny, tight t-shirts that were glued to my underarms! It was so embarrassing, which of course only made it worse because I became nervous or anxious and sweat even more. I turned to even stronger products that contained a lot of chemicals to try and curb this problem. Since then, I was scared to stop using antiperspirant even when I started hearing that it could be harmful.
Antiperspirants probably get the most negative attention for containing aluminum. This is the ingredient that creates a plug to block your pores and stop the sweat from coming out. However, as I mentioned previously, there is no consensus and a lot of articles (examples here and here) refute the claims that aluminum in deodorant is harmful.
So why did I decide to stop wearing antiperspirant, even though I’d had such a bad experience? In my opinion, there are a lot of other reasons aside from aluminum to go a more natural route. Firstly, there are a lot of other chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants, like parabens and triclosan. I try to stay away from those at all costs, and they are in so many products these days. It’s really important to read the packaging and ingredients. If it’s a long list of words you can’t pronounce, it might be best to stay away.
Another reason is that our bodies were built to sweat. It’s a natural process and a totally normal bodily function. Sweat isn’t made up of anything really nasty – apparently it is mostly water – but if our bodies naturally get rid of it, should we really be stopping it and plugging that natural process? When we wear antiperspirant, we’re blocking the pores and keeping those secretions in our body which otherwise would be expelled.
Finally, how it’s made is important to me. Many natural alternatives to drugstore deodorants are made with recycled packaging, which is better for the environment. There are also brands which use 100% organic, fair trade, ethically-sourced ingredients which you can feel good about putting money towards.
How to Stop Wearing Antiperspirant
So, if you’ve decided you want to try a more natural route, where should you start? The first step is finding an alternative product that works for you. There are plenty of natural options out there which you can find in the organic aisle at your local grocery store or online. Plus, there are so many DIY recipes that you can try, which is fun and also makes it personal to you!
Personally, I use one by Sugar & Spice, which is homemade here in BC. I discovered this brand in a pretty funny way actually. I was waiting in line at the checkout at my grocery store, and the couple in front of me was buying about 20 sticks of this deodorant. They didn’t have a rewards card so they asked to use mine, and I joked that now all I’d be getting was ads and suggested products for deodorant.
As it turns out, this couple was from the states and they came across the border literally just for this deodorant. They said it was the only one that they found that works. So I gave it a try and I loved it! I have tried other natural products before and this one is by far the best. Unfortunately I don’t think they ship outside of the province, but I’m sure that there are other sources local to you if you’re living elsewhere.
Another tip I have is to get your sweat on. Part of a healthy lifestyle is exercise, and it’s something that I try very hard to do every day. I feel so much better when I’m keeping up with it, and it’s good to sweat at least once a day. So get moving and flush out those sweat glands!
Similarly, it’s important to eat a clean diet with plenty of whole foods. You are what you eat! There’s even some out there who say that what you eat can directly impact how your sweat smells, and eating certain foods like parsley and leafy greens can make it smell better. While I can’t prove it, I do feel that since I’ve been eating a cleaner diet, my body odour is a lot less pronounced than when I used to eat a lot more processed and junk foods.
What to Expect When You Stop Wearing Antiperspirant
The first thing you should expect when you stop wearing antiperspirant is that you will sweat! Especially for the first little while, you will sweat more than regular (it took me about a month for it to finally slow down). I feel like this is the body’s reaction to no longer having plugged pores, and it takes a while for it to realize that it doesn’t need to work so hard to sweat anymore.
Other than that, it’s really not that different from before. I have been using natural deodorants instead for almost a year now and I don’t really notice that I sweat a lot these days. It’s a far cry from how I felt in high school when I was using much harsher products. As I mentioned, because I’m exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, I feel like my sweat actually smells better than it did before.
At the end of the day, I’d rather be safe than sorry. While aluminum in antiperspirants might not be terrible for you, I prefer to know that there’s nothing harmful in a product that I’m using, both in the ingredients and how it’s made. The peace of mind and knowing that I’ve done my research and made a conscious decision to use an environmentally-friendly, natural product are worth it to me.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! If you’re looking to learn more, I also found this article really helpful. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week!
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Featured photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash