By: Hannah De Gruchy | July 2020
The UK is currently in the midst of a heatwave (although by the time you read this, the British Summertime may well be back to business as usual – rain). But either way, most of us spray or roll a product onto our underarms as part of our bathroom ritual each morning.
We use antiperspirants and deodorants (there’s a different – antiperspirants are anti perspiring, that is, they stop us from sweating, and a deodorant makes us smell nice) to help us stay fresh, no matter what the daily commute, office politics, the school run, the after work gym session throws at us.
But are we too conditioned into thinking that we simply must use a product that contains certain ingredients, such as aluminium, that prevent us from sweating? Do the words “natural deodorant’ make us think of hippies and tree huggers? (They do me, but I seriously don’t have a problem with either.)
Our main concern when switching from a traditional can of antiperspirant to a natural deodorant is that the natural option might not work very well, and we’ll end up sweaty and smelly. However, this really doesn’t have to be the case. Certainly when I made the switch to natural, I was concerned I’d be talked about as the ‘alternative’ (read: weird) vegan with body odour. But (as far as I know) that never happened, and I’m still smelling fresh. So here’s why you should consider doing the same…
1. Antiperspirants Often Contain Harmful Chemicals
Antiperspirants work by making use of chemicals that stop us sweating. Usually, this is aluminium, which has been linked in numerous studies to a potential increase in breast cancer risk by changing the way the cells that make up breast tissue divide. At best, aluminium and other ingredients that stop us from perspiring can block the sweat pores leading to irritation and uncomfortable skin bumps.
Conventional antiperspirants also contain artificial fragrances, substances called phthalates, that have shown to potentially cause skin irritation and allergies, plus fertility problems and developmental struggles. They also commonly contain an antibacterial agent called triclosan which has been linked to hormone disruption and thyroid dysfunction.
Non-natural deodorants often contain parabens too, a group of chemicals that are consistently found in breast cancer samples and are linked to hormone disruption. What’s more, antiperspirants also often contain propylene glycol (PEG) which helps the product (and it’s accompanying chemicals) penetrate deeper into the skin, like that’s a good thing!
2. Sweating Is Actually Beneficial
It might sound like a good thing that antiperspirants stop us from sweating. But actually, the human body needs to sweat. Remember the old saying, “men sweat, women glow”? Aside from being outdated nonsense, we all sweat and we all need to. Sweating is our natural air conditioning system – it helps us regulate our temperature by helping to cool us down. Perspiration forms on our skin in order for it to be evaporated into the air, taking residual heat with it.
Sweating also helps us to release toxins such as the heavy metals including arsenic, lead and mercury that can enter the body via our food, smoking and breathing in pollution and environmental pollutants. Without sweating, over time, these toxins could build up in our bodies, potentially causing damage to our organs including the heart and brain.
3. Most Antiperspirants Contain Aluminium
Those yellowy stains that plague the armpits of your otherwise pristine white shirts, t-shirts, vest tops and bras? That’s the effects of the aluminium in conventional antiperspirants reacting with your sweat.
So since there’s no aluminium in natural deodorants, there’s no chance of those yellow stains. Plus, as the natural versions contain kind, plant-based ingredients, there’s less chance of developing irritating skin rashes (or serious health problems) too. Instead, your underarm skin will feel smooth, moisturised and free from blocked pores.
4. Using Natural Deodorant Benefits The Planet
Most natural deodorant brands are conscious about their impact on the environment, and so will choose to make their products plastic free and sustainable. Some come in fully compostable packaging, others in packaging that can be refilled, avoiding unnecessarily sending empty cans to landfill.
The ingredients will generally have a lower carbon footprint too, as they tend to choose locally sourced, chemical-free ingredients that are blended in a way that doesn’t send tonnes of carbon billowing into the atmosphere.
5. Natural Deodorants Work Just As Well
A chemical-based antiperspirant isn’t the only way to keep the armpits dry. Natural deodorants contain natural, plant-based ingredients that naturally absorb sweat, keeping the armpits dry, such as baking soda, arrowroot or corn starch.
They also contain natural scents, derived from plants and essential oils, rather than the synthetic fragrances contained in conventional antiperspirants that are linked with all manner of health hazards. Plus, natural deodorants combat odour causing bacteria by containing naturally antibacterial ingredients such as coconut oil and tea tree oil rather than triclosan.
Our favourite natural deodorant
We’ve tried and tested many natural deodorants and by far our favourite is Wild. Admittedly, not all natural deo brands get it right, but Wild have got things spot on.
Wild natural deodorants are free from aluminium, and instead rely on tapioca starch to keep the armpits dry. Tapioca starch is a powdery substance that absorbs moisture without blocking the sweat glands. They’ve also added baking soda which is naturally antibacterial, so it prevents odours forming that are caused by pesky skin bacteria that thrive in the warm conditions that our armpits provide.
What’s more, they’re available in a range of scents including Mint Fresh, Bergamot Rituals (our fave) and Orange Zest. 100% plastic free, Wild consider the environment as well as our own health and offer a subscribe and save option, so you’ll never run out again.
Sustainable, effective, with compostable refills and delivered to your door? Who needs to deodorant shop again? So next time you’re looking for a new deo, indulge your wild side and head on over to Wild. Your armpits, and Mother Nature, will thank you for it.
Wild offers a 15% discount to our readers. To get it CLICK HERE and use code HEALTHNATURAL15 at checkout.
If Wild isn’t quite right for you, here are other high-quality natural deodorants that will keep your armpits healthy: