Most of us have been wearing some form deodorant since we started noticing a stink creeping up in our pits in middle school. Thankfully, times have changed since those pubescent days and you have a lot more choices for what to use on your pits. If you still use that same synthetic deodorant or aluminum-filled antiperspirant from your angsty teenage years, it’s time to explore the other options. Here’s the quick and dirty on what aluminum has to do with your armpits and potentially your health, the benefits of switching to natural deodorant, and how to transition from regular deodorant to natural.
Deodorant vs Antiperspirant: What's the Difference?
Before we get into aluminum as an ingredient, it’s important to understand that antiperspirant and deodorant are two different types of products. Exactly like how the name reads, anti-perspirants are products formulated specifically to prevent or stop perspiration (sweat). De-odorants prevent or stop you from being odorous (stinky).
Typically, all antiperspirants are deodorants (they block sweat and deodorize), but not all deodorants are antiperspirants. This distinction is made by one ingredient: if it contains aluminum, the product is an antiperspirant.
How Does Aluminum Work in Antiperspirants?
Aluminum is the sweat blocking active ingredient in antiperspirant products, which aims to control or prevent sweat entirely. Metallic salts and aluminum chloride are the active ingredients in antiperspirants. Here’s how they work:
The aluminum in your antiperspirant is activated when you start to sweat. It gets absorbed into your sweat glands, and forms a plug that blocks sweat from leaving your body. So even though sweat is continuing to be produced, it isn’t able to reach the surface of the skin.
Is Aluminum in Antiperspirant Bad for You?
In recent years, there has been growing concern over the safety of aluminum-based underarm products due to some studies that have linked the use of aluminum containing products with the occurrence of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
While these studies have been opposed by major institutions (The American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as not clearly linking aluminum and those conditions, there are other downsides that you can experience from using synthetic deodorant and antiperspirant products:
Are Natural Deodorants Really Better?
Sweating is a natural function of your body to regulate temperature and keep you cool. It can also help your body expel undesirable chemicals and toxins, so those aluminum plugs are preventing your body from doing what it needs to do. When you switch to a natural deodorant, those aluminum plugs leave your body over time and allow your body to function as it should, naturally.
We all know important it is to feel and smell fresh, since B.O can have a negative impact on your daily life and confidence. Thankfully, there are natural deodorant ingredients that are effective in preventing odor and absorbing moisture, so you don’t have to decide between a product that makes you smell good and a product that makes you feel good.
How Natural Deodorant Works
Instead of using aluminum and other harsh synthetic ingredients, our natural deodorant is made up of a proprietary blend of Odor-Squatching™ ingredients like arrowroot powder to help absorb sweat, probiotics to help prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria and charcoal powder, a natural deodorizer to block odor.
What to Expect When Making the Switch to Natural Deodorant
When you switch from aluminum-filled antiperspirants and synthetic deodorants to the natural goodness of Dr. Squatch, your body will need some time to rid itself of the harsh chemicals that you’ve been rubbing on your underarms since the 7th grade. Here’s what you can expect during your initial transition to natural deodorant:
WEEK 1: The detox begins! At this point there will be little to no noticeable change in your body odor.
WEEK 2: Your body starts fighting to flush out the aluminum plugs and toxins from your underarms, and you might start to smell and sweat a bit more than you’re used to.
WEEK 3: This is when the magic starts to happen – you should start smelling less as your body continues to detox.
WEEK 4: You should notice a significant decrease in odor and sweat as your body adjusts to your newfound natural ways.
Everyone is different, so you might have a slightly shorter or longer detox process. Let your body do its thing and keep Squatchin’ with our Odor-Squatching™ system! Continue applying daily for best results.
James Wu (Product Development Manager, Dr. Squatch)
James Wu is a scientist and product development expert with 10 years of experience working on various major brands including Old Spice, Gillette, Ivory and The Honest Company. He has a BS in Microbiology from The Ohio State University and joined the Dr. Squatch team late last year.