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Natural deodorant was my gateway drug into the world of natural cosmetics/skincare/cleaning products. Why? Because many popular antiperspirants have aluminum as an ingredient, and research suggests that applying aluminum-containing substances to the skin may post health risks:
Since aluminium (Al) pervades our environment, the scientific community has for many years raised concerns regarding its safety in humans. Al is present in numerous cosmetics such as antiperspirants, lipsticks and sunscreens. Al chlorohydrate is the active antiperspirant agent in underarm cosmetics and may constitute for Al a key exposure route to the human body and a potential source of damage. An in vitro study has demonstrated that Al from antiperspirant can be absorbed through viable human stripped skin. The potential toxicity of Al has been clearly shown and recent works convincingly argue that Al could be involved in cancerogenic processes. Nowadays, for example, Al is suspected of being involved in breast cancer. Recent work in cells in culture has lent credence to the hypothesis that this metal could accumulate in the mammary gland and selectively interfere with the biological properties of breast epithelial cells, thereby promoting a cascade of alterations reminiscent of the early phases of malignant transformation. In addition, several studies suggest that the presence of Al in human breast could influence metastatic process. As a consequence, given that the toxicity of Al has been widely recognized and that it is not a physiological component in human tissues, reducing the concentration of this metal in antiperspirants is a matter of urgency.
Before I dive into my favorite natural deodorants, it’s important to define the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. Simply put…
Deodorant stops the smell.
Antiperspirant stops the sweat.
Antiperspirants are a lot more potent, so they usually contain ingredients like aluminum and zirconium, which plug sweat glands. Because of that, you generally want to avoid these.
Deodorants won’t stop the sweat, which is actually a good thing! Excreting sweat is one of the body’s powerful detox mechanisms.
Still, deodorants should help to mask the smell created by the concentration of apocrine sweat glands in the armpit. According to an article from Business Insider:
Apocrine glands excrete fats and proteins which feed bacteria and create a stinky odor. Deodorants work by targeting that bacteria . . . You can also avoid smelling bad by changing your diet. Certain foods, like broccoli or cabbage, can make B.O. worse . . . Showering helps too!
Alright, so in general we’re looking for a non-aluminum, nontoxic deodorant that’ll work to mask any stank.
Many brands now sell products that are aluminum-free…but are they completely nontoxic? This is where Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Skin Deep database comes in. If you know me at all, you know I’m obsessed with checking the score of any product on EWG before purchase. (EWG even has an app! Read my post about its utility here.)
I only ever buy products that are EWG-verified or rated 0-2. When a score doesn’t already exist, I create my own product report. (Like I did for Shmidt’s below!)
All of that being said, here are my three favorite nontoxic deodorants…that are actually effective!
3 Natural Deodorants That Actually Work
1. thinksport (Bergamot Cedarwood)
- Scores a 1 on EWG
- Has a really nice, subtle scent (not overpowering)
- Works well for odor-reduction (Note: Some Amazon reviewers say this scent works much better at reducing odors than other thinksport scents do.)
- Is long-lasting
- Has a perfect texture
- Glides well
2. Arm & Hammer Ultra Max (Unscented)
- Scores a 2 on EWG
- Is unscented (if that’s your thing!)
- Keeps pits dry and odor-free
- Works well for people with sensitive skin
- Lasts a long time (because you don’t need to use much)
- Provides more protection than the standard woman’s deodorant
3. *Schmidt’s (Charcoal + Magnesium)
This natural deodorant is great because it:
- Scores a 2 on EWG (Note: I created my own product report since this deodorant isn’t in the database yet.)
- Is widely available (sold online at Costco and Target)
- Has a fresh scent (not overpowering)
- Is long-lasting
- Controls odor very well
- Is more effective than prescription deodorant (according to some Amazon reviews)
- *Many reviewers suggest that the version sold on Amazon is not the “real deal.” Supposedly, purchasing Schmidt’s directly from their site or one of the retailers above is a safer bet.
For an extensive list of EWG-verified/nontoxic/natural deodorants, visit the Skin Deep database.
Bottom line: When it comes to the armpit region, deodorant is what you want…and these nontoxic versions actually work!
⇒ To optimize every aspect of your health, visit My Favorite Things! There, you’ll find links to healthy packaged foods, toxin-free products, and overall wellness boosters.
⇒ If you enjoyed this post, you’ll like these prior posts:
- “The Best Nontoxic Shampoo For All Hair Types (It DOES Exist!)”
- “Find EWG Verified Products Using Their Awesome App”
- “Dr. Bronner’s: The Panacea For Your Home”