The Smell Test: How to Make the Transition to Natural Deodorant Without Making a Stink

Illustration for article titled The Smell Test: How to Make the Transition to Natural Deodorant Without Making a Stink
Photo: Studio4dich (Shutterstock)

When it comes to our deodorants, some of us are recognizing that what we’ve been doing for years just isn’t working for us anymore. Have you noticed your deodorant is no longer making you feel safe to be around people? Do you feel like a musty mess? Do you know for fact you put your deodorant on today, but for some reason, it is 10 am and you smell as if you skipped it? It is not you— well, maybe it is you.

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Your body has probably changed pH due to long-term usage of your favorite deodorant. The pH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity. Deodorants contain ingredients that can affect your pH level; when you use products that are too acidic or alkaline it can upset the natural pH levels of your skin—as well as causing skin irritation and long-term skin issues. Have you noticed your armpits darkening? Now you know why. Maybe you have already started thinking about how you can combat both the odor and discoloration, and you are ready to start making changes—you’re thinking about going natural.

What if you are ready to go all-natural but not “au naturel?” Not exactly keen on skipping deodorant altogether? Trying to find the right natural deodorant can be an expensive—and funky—undertaking. How do you know if the product you’ve chosen is strong enough to cover you in all situations?

Before starting with any natural deodorant, you should detox your armpits. Detoxifying your armpits will help your body get rid of toxins that have built up on the skin from your previous deodorant usage. Additionally, detoxifying can possibly reduce the capacity of your sweat glands and the amount of odor they produce.

How to detoxify your armpits:

Mix one tablespoon bentonite clay, one teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and one to two teaspoons of water. Spread onto your armpits and let sit for five to 20 minutes before washing off with warm water. You can repeat this daily until you notice a decrease in underarm odor.

Now that your armpits are detoxified, you can start your natural deodorant journey—which may begin by purchasing different natural deodorants, or you can create your own at home. Simple recipes for natural deodorants can be found online. A word to the wise, though: antiperspirants and deodorants are not the same. Antiperspirants use aluminum salts to block your sweat glands from stimulating underarm sweat. Though most natural deodorants contain ingredients that can help absorb moisture, deodorant is made to decrease the odor in your armpits, not the level of sweat. However, here’s the good news: through the detoxifying process and switching to natural deodorants, you may discover you do not sweat as much as you thought and didn’t need an antiperspirant, after all.

But topicals alone aren’t enough; while you are trying out natural deodorants, pay close attention to your diet. What you put in your body comes out in your sweat. When you eat a healthy diet, that will also assist in eliminating unwanted body odor.

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If you don’t want to make your own natural deodorant or spend a lot of money trying different ones, there are other alternatives. Acne toner, hand sanitizer, or some (diluted) essential oils in your armpits may help also with odor.

Nothing is foolproof, but if you realize your deodorant is irritating your skin or isn’t blocking odor anymore, detoxifying and trying natural deodorant may be worth it—or, if you’re brave, not wearing any at all. Going natural can be quite a journey, but may ultimately have great benefits for you that make it all worthwhile.

Dr. Renee Matthews is a leader in the healthcare industry. She can be seen on "Out of Office with Dr. Renee" in 45,000 doctor's offices. Dr. Renee is the author of "Mommy, I Can't Breathe"

DISCUSSION

whypeepoegottastop
I'mSofaKingSickofWonderBread

Wow, some disappointing comments so far.

Sorry, Dr. Matthews, that this page is apparently the final stop of the internet for a couple of folks, otherwise they could easily have done some basic bare-minimum searching to discover the toxins present in many deodorants (if you haven’t been wary of at least one deodorant in your life, you’re probably doing something wrong), or at least find that yes, people really do have myriad issues with deodorant (think for a minute what the word ‘antiperspirant’ means for one of the most commonly sweaty parts of your body!).

I’m not gonna jump on Murry for the sanitizer comment, even though he clung to what was essentially a throwaway comment for people maybe not looking to get seriously into it, but still looking for SOME possible alternative to try.

Thanks for writing this piece, and may the people who want and need it find it!