The ongoing debate over the safety of deodorants, especially those formulated with potential toxins, has led to a surge in the popularity of natural, botanical-based alternatives but how effective are these and is it really worth switching? We investigate…
Let’s start with the positives. The main draw of natural deodorants isn’t the nicer smell or the environmentally friendly packaging, it’s the fact that these botanical based formulas don’t contain any of the potentially harmful ingredients that have been pinpointed by experts as ones to be wary of. Aluminium salts and aluminium compounds such as aluminium zirconium, are the biggest concerns with some research warning that these ingredients can cause everything from skin irritations to Alzheimer’s and even cancer, however there has been no definitive study to totally back up these claims which is why the debate rages on.
But what’s the big deal with these ingredients? These aluminium-based ingredients work by forming a seal over the opening of the pores to block sweat as it tries to escape from the skin. While this might be a great way to prevent wetness, this blockage can lead to a build-up of sweat beneath the surface which then becomes inflamed and forms a sore bump underneath the skin. As aluminium is a toxin, this close contact with the inner workings of the skin is what has led many experts to believe that this is how the substance enters the body and causes all manner of health problems.
The biggest plus for natural deodorants is their natural ingredients. The skin under the arms is often very delicate and can quickly develop sensitivities, especially to chemicals and synthetic substances that are regularly applied to the same spot day after day. Natural deodorants use essentials oils and botanical extracts instead of irritating parabens and alcohol, so they are much gentler on the skin and can even help to improve the texture and condition of the skin with every application.
It’s not all good news. In principle, natural deodorants are much kinder to your skin and the environment but in practice, there are some stumbling blocks that you will have to make peace with if you are to become a committed and long-time user.
Ok, what are these stumbling blocks? Most people chastise traditional deodorants for their ability to stain clothing, no matter how careful you are when it comes to their application, but the naturally active ingredients used in botanical alternatives can also cause staining and unsightly tarnishing of many fabrics. As natural deodorants tend to be in either liquid, balm or cream form, they take much longer to dry too so they aren’t always the most practical choice when you need to get ready fast.
But do they actually work? The biggest concern for anyone thinking about switching to a natural deodorant is how effective they are at keeping wetness and odour under control. As a rule, antiperspirants deal with sweat and deodorants deal with odour, and the majority of natural formulas only deal with the latter. Their control over wetness and preventing sweat is very limited. Most formulas use baking soda and natural mineral salts to try and prevent excessive sweating, which can provide some benefits for mild perspiration, but if you want to really make the switch then you will just have to embrace the inevitability of a little bit of sweat.
If you want to give natural deodorants a try, we recommend the True Organic of Sweden Undercover Agent, which is free of alcohol and synthetic aluminium plus it smells amazing!
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