Natural Deodorant Rash?!
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of great things about why you should make the switch to a natural deodorant but has anyone sat you down to chat about the drawbacks?!
No? Don’t worry – I got you! I’m here to tell you the truth about natural deodorant.
Now, just to be clear, this post isn’t intended to stop you from making the switch (you should totally switch!). I just want you to be prepared for some of the stinky, itchy, drawbacks that you might have to deal with!
What Wrong with Traditional Deodorants/Antiperspirants?
One of the biggest concerns with traditional deodorants/antiperspirants is the use of an aluminum-based compound. This aluminum compound temporarily plugs your sweat ducts and prevents you from perspiring.
Hold up, red flag! Sweating through a shirt can feel embarrassing but is it really worth plugging your sweat ducts?!
Even though no official connection (the studies that have been done contain flaws) has been made between antiperspirants containing aluminum and breast cancer or Alzheimers, I personally prefer to lean on the side of caution when it comes to the products I use on my body.
Plus, aluminum is not the only ingredient you should be concerned about.
Let’s chat about parabens, which can also be found in some traditional deodorants/antiperspirants.
Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives and as food additives. They can be found in many types of make-up (like lipstick, mascara, concealer, and foundation) and skincare products (like lotion, shaving products, and sunscreen). Parabens can be absorbed through the skin.
Intake of parabens is a possible concern because studies have shown that parabens have weak estrogen-like properties. Estrogen is a female hormone known to cause breast cells (both normal and cancerous) to grow and divide. And some conditions that increase the body’s exposure to estrogen (like not having children, late menopause, obesity, etc.) have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. (source: American Cancer Society)
Making the Switch to Natural Deodorant
It’s pretty easy to see why you should make the switch to a natural deodorant!
Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable options online and in stores.
I’ve also noticed that many natural deodorant brands tend to be more environmentally conscious and aim to create less waste with their products. This isn’t always true but I’ve noticed what seems like a more concerted effort from these brands versus others.
So far it seems like natural deodorant is a magical product with no drawbacks, right?
This is basically what I thought! Yes, it was naive of me to think that I didn’t have to think twice about a “natural” product but that’s why I’m sharing my experience. When you’re cleaning up your beauty routine for the first time, these things happen!
So what happened to me when I switched to a natural deodorant?
I GOT A RED AND ITCHY UNDERARM RASH!
The Truth About Natural Deodorant
Not many people are highlighting the challenges you run into when you’re making the switch to a natural deodorant! (Enter me, your little eco bestie – hey boo)
My guess is that no one wants to discourage you from making the switch. I also don’t want to discourage you but I do want to prepare you for some of the most common issues people run into when they switch to a natural deodorant.
Natural Deodorant Problems and Solutions
Problem: Baking Soda Rash
Solution: I bet no one told you that baking soda could turn your pits into an itchy red danger zone, huh?!
Who would have thought that such a simple and natural ingredient like baking soda could cause such an unsightly and uncomfortable rash? Not me.
If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid (or be very cautious with) natural deodorants that contain baking soda and/or certain essential oils.
Check out the ingredient list on your deodorant to see if either is in the first or second line of the list. The higher up an ingredient is on the list, the higher the concentration of that ingredient in the product.
You should also make sure that you’re only applying a small amount of deodorant. Unlike traditional deodorants, less is more! Stick to 1-2 swipes max to ensure you’re not giving yourself an extra dose of baking soda!
*Quick side note: not everyone will respond negatively to baking soda in deodorant (my husband has no issues with it! He actually loves Native deodorant even though most of their bars contain baking soda) but if you already know your skin is sensitive, skip the baking soda!
Problem: You’re Sweaty!
Solution: Listen here sweaty betty, there’s nothing unnatural about sweating. In fact, it’s more unnatural not to sweat.
I know you’re used to antiperspirants minimizing the sweat under your arms but it’s time to unclog those pores and let your body do what it’s made to do!
You may also notice more sweat when you initially switch your deodorant because your body is adjusting. Overall, I noticed after a week or two, the excessive sweating disappeared.
Problem: Clothing Stains from Natural Oils
Solution: There are two things you can try to avoid or minimize the amount of staining on your clothes from the oils found in some natural deodorant.
First, only apply a small amount of deodorant. I know I said this before but a little really does go a long way!
Secondly, after you apply your deodorant wait 10-15 minutes before putting your shirt on. If you can, leave your arms up for a few minutes after application so that you can “air dry” those pits!
If you continue having issues with stains, I recommend trying another brand or purchasing a pre-wash stain treatment.
Problem: Skin Darkening
Solution: There are a lot of different reasons that armpits darken, including genetics! If you’ve only noticed the darkening after switching deodorants, it’s time to double-check the ingredient list.
Fragrances, alcohol and baking soda might be the culprit here.
After you ditch your current deodorant for an alternative free of those ingredients, you can mix up an easy at home lightener to tackle the skin darkening.
Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of aloe vera and apply it to both of your underarms once a week for 15 minutes.
Problem: You Stink!
Solution: Believe it or not your sweat itself doesn’t stink.
When the bacteria on your skin comes in contact with your sweat, the bacteria starts breaking it down and the smell you know as B.O. is released!
If your natural deodorant is leaving you stinky, there are two things you can try.
First, you might want to try a different scent. Different scents work differently with everyone’s unique body chemistry. So while a fruity citrus scent might mask the stink for me, you might need more of a floral scent.
If that doesn’t work, consider wipes like these Pacifica ones. These will allow you to wipe off new sweat throughout the day so that it’s not eaten by skin bacteria. The only downside, of course, is the wasteful nature of wipes. (Maybe we should explore DIY reusable deodorant wipes in a future post?!)
Are you surprised that natural deodorant has so many drawbacks?
I was caught off-guard and never expected to end up with a rash!
Making the transition to a cleaner beauty routine isn’t always easy but I still believe that it’s worth it!
Also, I’ve been super happy with my current deodorant from Ethique (link here). It doesn’t irritate my skin and it’s a low-waste product! I opted for ethique because I already love their shampoo and conditioner bars. (I’m going to do a full feature blog post soon on them soon!)
What are your thoughts on natural deodorant? Are you ready to make the switch?