What Happens to Your Body When You Switch to a Natural Deodorant?
For many years, people have trusted that companies have their best interest in mind when it comes to their health and well-being. Many have come to learn that not everything on the market is necessarily the best thing for you.
With this discovery has come the emergence of the clean beauty movement. Clean beauty helps to give confidence to the consumer that their products may be a safer alternative to the popular mainstream products that are on the shelves.
Natural or clean deodorant has been one of the biggest clean products that have become more well accepted. People are looking for something that helps to support their body in such a sensitive area.
There is one catch that comes with natural deodorant and that is the initial adjustment to the product. After you get over that hump natural deodorant can be a great alternative to mainstream deodorants. Keep reading to learn more about
What Is Natural Deodorant
You likely imagine whole ingredients that you recognize instead of chemicals or synthetic ingredients when you think of natural products. Natural deodorants aim to eliminate as many of these unwanted ingredients and replace them with natural ingredients that support your body’s natural microbiome.
One of the most common ingredients in conventional antiperspirants is aluminum in the form of aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium. These ingredients can clog your pores and can even seep through your skin and accumulate in the body.
While there is no direct evidence of harm from aluminum, reducing the amounts of metals in your body seems like a good idea when possible. Conventional antiperspirants may also include parabens, which can prevent fungi and bacteria from growing, but they can also accumulate in the body tissues.
Natural ingredients try to limit the amount of aluminum and parabens and instead focus on clean, whole ingredients that you can read on the label.
Another distinction between natural deodorants and traditional antiperspirants is that natural deodorants do not prevent your armpits from sweating, but instead prevent you from smelling bad.
To stop sweating you must plug the sweat ducts which is the role aluminum salts play in antiperspirants. Since the natural deodorant doesn’t include aluminum it likely will not prevent you from sweating.
What Are the Common Ingredients in Natural Deodorant
If natural deodorant is free of so many ingredients from traditional antiperspirants, you may be wondering what ingredients they use instead. Each natural deodorant is a little different, but there are some common ingredients that you may see in common between natural deodorant brands.
Baking soda, coconut oil, zinc oxide, and essential oils are common ingredients used in natural deodorants. You may have heard of these before and perhaps even used them in your kitchen. It is amazing what simple natural ingredients can do to create a practical and clean product to support your hygiene.
Coconut oil is commonly recommended for everything from skincare to haircare and is now used in deodorant. Coconut oil has several beneficial properties, including moisturization and reducing body odor that comes from the bacteria on your skin.
When you sweat, bacteria on the skin surface begin to break down the sweat into fats and proteins. This process releases a smell that we recognize as body odor. This is totally an excuse to blame your extra sweaty and stinky trip to the gym on your bacteria instead of yourself.
Baking soda may help to reduce bacteria on the skin and, in turn, may reduce body odor. It may also help moisturize the underarm area to protect and hydrate the skin.
Zinc oxide is another common ingredient in many cosmetics and skincare items, and it is often used as a sunscreen agent.
In natural deodorant, zinc oxide acts similar to coconut oil by cutting down on the bacteria growth and, therefore, the potential body odor. Zinc oxide may help to keep you smelling fresh throughout your day.
Many fragrances used in cosmetics, candles, and even skincare may be disruptive to the body, causing skin sensitivities, allergies, and other issues. To avoid synthetic fragrances, many natural deodorants feature essential oils as the scents for the deodorant.
Essential oils are extracted from plants such as fruits, leaves, and spices. Essential oils release scents as well as offer potential nutraceutical effects as well.
Alleyoop’s Slow Your Roll deodorant uses tea tree, grapefruit peel, and lavender oils in the formula. This blend of essential oils may work to reduce the scent of body odor. They may also reduce the appearance of hair, which could extend the time between waxing or shaving.
Other oils, like sage and pomegranate, are used purely for aromatics. There is also an unscented option as well if you prefer a less noticeable aroma.
Why Do You Smell Worse When You Switch to Natural Deodorant
If you have talked to anyone that has tried natural deodorants, you have likely heard about the adjustment period that comes along with it. Many people that try a natural deodorant have given up after a few uses because they claim it doesn’t work.
Before the deodorant can work, the body must adjust to a new system since it has become accustomed to antiperspirants that clog pores and prevent you from sweating.
Since your body must detox from the deodorant, there is an adjustment period where the bacterial colonies are changing, and you may experience a little extra stink than usual. Luckily, it won’t stay forever, and your body should adjust to the natural deodorant lifestyle relatively quickly.
How Long Does It Take To Adjust to Natural Deodorant
Each person’s body is different, so it is no wonder that there is no set time on how long it will exactly take to adjust to a natural deodorant. As a general rule of thumb, it typically will take 2 to 4 weeks for your body to fully adjust. Of course, it could take shorter or longer.
The key is to have patience and trust in the process. Sure, it may be a little bit frustrating at times, but in the end, when you fully transition to your natural deodorant, you will likely be happy that you have a new product in your arsenal that supports your vision for feeling empowered in your own well being.
What Happens During the Transition
You know that your body is readjusting its bacterial colonies and eliminating the stored aluminum from your body, but why does it take so long to detox? And what exactly is happening along the way? Take a trip through the first to the fourth week of natural deodorant transition to get a sneak peek into what your experience may be like.
Remember that this is only an example, and your experience will be unique. This can simply serve as a guide to what you can expect and what is happening on the inside that you may not be able to see with the naked eye.
In the First Week
In the first week of your transition, you probably won’t even notice a difference and might be thinking you were one of the lucky ones. This effect is likely due to residual aluminum in your pores that is still acting to prevent sweat from escaping the pores to the surface of the skin.
You will likely not have any additional body odor, and you will likely have limited perspiration from the residual aluminum. As the weeks go on, you will see more changes.
In the Second Week
The aluminum has reduced significantly in the second week, and your body will begin adjusting to the lack of antiperspirant. With this change, even with the use of natural deodorant, you will likely experience increased body odor from under the arms.
When you stop an antiperspirant, there is usually an increased amount of bacteria that lead to unwanted smells.
Over time, these bacteria will decrease in number and will be controlled by the natural deodorant. The detoxification process takes time, and your natural microbiome of the skin needs time to adjust.
In this time, you will also begin to sweat from your armpits, something that you may not be used to if you have always used an antiperspirant.
Sweating is natural and helps to decrease the toxins in the body. Over time the sweating will become less and less noticeable.
In the Third Week
In the third week, you may begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After the second week, some people are fully neutralized, but for most, the journey continues. Things usually begin to seem better with fewer stinky bacteria leading to less body odor.
You will still be sweating, but it may be less noticeable and could even actually be less since your body is used to not having an antiperspirant anymore. Overall, in the third week, you still may be experiencing some unwanted side effects of the transition, but you are almost to the point where you can say you made it.
In the Fourth Week
During the fourth week, your body is likely still making minor adjustments with bacterial colonization and the level of sweat production. But, at the end of the fourth week, you should be completely transitioned and ready to use natural deodorant with no extra hassle.
The fight is finally over, and you get to reap the benefits. By day 30, most people have fully regulated and no longer have excessive body odor or sweat. Your friends can now cool down with the jokes about who forgot to shower.
How Can You Make It Over the Hump
A month may seem like a long time, but it is a small price to pay for a lifetime of natural and eco-friendly products. Even though the means can justify the end, that little extra stink does make life a little more challenging.
There are some things that you can do to make the experience a little more bearable, and these include altering your environment, daily routine, and attitude.
Refresh Throughout the Day
Just because you produce some extra body odor and bacteria during the second week and of transition doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Refreshing yourself throughout the day with extra natural deodorant may help to keep the smells at bay.
The essential oils in the product may help to mask the scent, while the ingredients may help neutralize the bacteria.
Overall, it can’t hurt to reapply throughout the day when you feel like you need it. You may even want to be proactive if you know you will be doing something intense like working out or wearing a large coat that makes you warm.
Take a Shower
There is nothing quite like taking a shower to help you feel clean and refreshed. Every person is different when it comes to how often they can go without showering.
However, in this first month of natural deodorant use, it may be helpful to take a shower daily or even multiple times a day if needed. Taking a shower and using a gentle soap to wash the skin can help to remove excess bacterial growth and sweat.
Opt for a soap that is not too stripping or even just rinse off with some water if that helps keep you moving and comfortable throughout the day.
If you are looking for something a little quicker and more convenient, you may want to try a water-based body cleansing wipe to remove excess sweat and build-up.
Take It Slow
Sometimes the best thing you can do to reduce the effects of the transition is take it slow. Try not to go too hard with things that require a lot of physical effort in hopes of decreasing the amount of sweat and bacterial growth. This is especially true before events that require you to be around a lot of other people.
Take this time as an excuse to take it easy for a little while and let your body adjust. You can try to make use of alternatives, such as taking the elevator instead of the stairs just for this short little while. If changes like these aren’t possible for you with your lifestyle, taking a quick shower will be just fine.
Have Grace With Yourself
Nobody wants to be the person with body odor, but try to be understanding of yourself and give yourself some grace. Create a reason as to why you started this journey. Is it to create a collection of products that align with your values? Or is it because you want to transition to products that support your health goals?
Understanding the whys behind your actions will be helpful when you’re in the middle of your journey and need some inspiration to keep going. This is a skill that can be practiced in many areas of life, and it is an opportunity for personal growth.
Share the Journey
Doing something new can be intimidating when you are doing it alone. Why not share the journey? Invite your friends to join you in the transition to natural deodorant and share in the process together.
This is a great way to come closer together emotionally since you are participating in a similar experience. You can find comfort in knowing that someone you care about is going through a similar experience to you.
It also will be nice knowing that you aren’t the only one blamed for adding a little extra stink to the room. Even if you get started on your transition earlier, you can be a great example to others that you care about to do the same thing in the name of their well-being.
Choose Natural Fabrics
What you wear can make a big difference in your comfort level and how much your armpits can breathe. A linen top in the summertime usually leaves you feeling much cooler than a polyester shirt.
The same concept applies when choosing clothes that will help to cool you down and prevent you from sweating as much. When choosing clothes, go for natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk, and bamboo that can help to keep you cool and wick moisture away from the body.
The transition from antiperspirant to natural deodorant may not be as straightforward as you were anticipating. When you make the switch, your body can regulate itself and adapt relatively quickly to something completely new. Natural deodorant may not be the right choice for everyone, but an assessment of your values and desires can make it clear which products will help support your goals.
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Is Deodorant Harmful for Your Health? | Penn Medicine
Deodorants - an overview | Science Direct
Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work? | Johns Hopkins Medicine