A swipe of deodorant prevents embarrassing underarm odor. Drugstore shelves are lined with deodorant powders, sprays and roll-on products that promise to keep your pits smelling pretty and confidence soaring. Included among the deodorant options are natural deodorants that don't contain parabens, synthetic ingredients, aluminum compounds or antibacterial properties. However, even though these deodorants claim to be all natural, you can still suffer some uncomfortable side effects when using them.
The National Cancer Institute has stated no studies conclusively link deodorant use to breast cancer. This is important to know in case the purported link is your sole reason for switching to an all-natural deodorant. Not everyone reacts the same way to deodorant ingredients. The reality is that chemical-free deodorants are not problem-free for everyone.
Consumers should be cautious when purchasing what they think is a natural deodorant for sensitive skin. Aloe, for example, is a plant that can cause burning or a bumpy rash in people who are allergic to the herb. Also, an ingredient listed as "natural gas" may be propylene glycol, which can affect the immune system or cause a skin rash. Read the ingredient labels; just as with foods, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows natural claims on product packaging even when the ingredient list states otherwise.
Dryness and Flakes
Even if your natural deodorant is made up of all essential oils, alcohol could be lurking in the ingredients. Alcohol gives off a stinging sensation, especially when you have a razor cut. It can also be drying, which could lead to flakes, redness and itchiness. You could also be allergic to constituent ingredients, color and preservative components, and fragrance compounds, any of which can create a dry patch on the skin. Because of this, there's no guarantee that even natural deodorants are better suited for your skin type.
Smell Isn't Quelled
You may have to wait a few days before a natural deodorant begins to work on your body. This is especially true for people who use a mineral salt deodorant. These work to prevent the bacterial growth that causes armpit odor but won't actually stop the smell once it's there. The odor doesn't come from sweat itself but is the result of bacteria breaking down protein into certain acids.
- Good Housekeeping: The 9 Best Natural Deodorants
- National Cancer Institute: Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer
- Medical News Today: What Is Body Odor? (B.O.) What Causes Body Odor?
- Totalbeauty.com: Road Test: 9 Natural Deodorants
- Dr. Christopher's Herbal Legacy: Red Raspberry
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Aloe
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.