So you’ve decided to ban the Ban and remove your underarm Secret—and switch over to natural deodorant. But does it feel a little off to you? Maybe even a little irritating? Don’t freak out just yet. Before tossing it and moving on, learn why your green transition is making your pits act strangely.
The first thing to bear in mind is you’ve made the right choice! Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants often contain toxic questionable ingredients. People have been switching to natural deodorants for safer, effective ingredients that prevent odor while still allowing your body to expel the bad stuff.
Here are a few things that could be making your underarms unhappy when it comes to your natural deodorant.
- You’re Sweating More
Sweat, of course, serves a biological purpose. It plays a role in cooling down your body and even helps get rid of toxins (and who doesn’t love a good detox?).
If you were using an antiperspirant before switching—a product that physically stops your sweat by blocking your skin’s pores, typically with aluminum—you’ll likely experience an adjustment period when switching to natural deodorant, which means you’ll sweat more. You’ve released the flood gates, so to speak. But this is a good thing! Natural deodorant isn’t an antiperspirant, which means it won’t obstruct your glands from producing sweat.
Pssst! You might also notice some chafing while your body adjusts. Again, all positive yet uncomfortable signs of a healthy transition. Just wait it out.
- You Could Be Sensitive to Some Ingredients, Including Fragrance
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the term “natural” on product labels or marketing collateral.
In some so-called “natural” deodorants, you can still find toxic chemicals. One of the biggest offenders is “fragrance,” sometimes referred to as “parfum.” These words stand in place for nearly 4,000 different chemicals—some of which are truly natural, while others are synthetic and have been shown to be toxic.
Fragrance has been shown to cause contact dermatitis, which is skin inflammation as the result of an allergic reaction.
Contact dermatitis can appear in the form of red, scaly or even blistered skin. Ideally, you want the product to contain scents exclusively from essential oils or no fragrance at all if your skin is super sensitive.
Ultimately, what this means is you have to check the ingredients yourself. If you’re unsure, contact the brand and demand the truth! If they’re legit, they won’t mind at all.
- Not Applying the Deodorant Properly
When switching to natural deodorant, it’s important to apply it properly, particularly during the adjustment period.
For example, shaving can irritate the skin, especially if not done properly (you should always use a sharp razor and shave in the direction of the hair growth!). If you choose to shave, you might consider shaving at night and applying deodorant in the morning.
You could also be putting on too much deodorant. You don’t need a ton of the product, and you should never apply aggressively or directly to wet skin, as this could cause an increased risk for irritation.
- Baking Soda Is Causing a Problem
Baking soda is a common ingredient in natural deodorants, but it’s also known to cause skin irritation.
While some people are fine with a moderate amount of baking soda under their arms, others find any amount is irritating to the skin. The pH—the scale that measures how acidic a substance is—of the underarm for men is 5.6, which is slightly more acidic than that of women, which is around 7.
The pH of baking soda is 9. Since baking soda is so alkaline, it reacts with most acidic substances, including your sweat, which can produce an irritating reaction for some. Combined with increased sweat, toxic fragrance and shaving, you could have a recipe for armpit disaster during your natural deodorant transition!
However, it’s this same reaction—the neutralization of acids—that causes baking soda to be so effective as a natural deodorant. If you want to try a product with baking soda, check to be sure it’s not the first ingredient, and if you continue to have a reaction, it might be time to switch to a baking soda free alternative!
Tips When Transitioning to Natural Deodorant
- Always check the label. Research ingredients before purchasing a product. You have to do your homework. Your underarms are counting on you!
- Apply properly. You don’t need to gob the deodorant on to reap its natural goodness.
- Listen to your body. Contact dermatitis is basically your body telling you it’s sensitive to one of the ingredients—and to stop using it STAT.
- Give it time. Allow your body a couple of weeks to adjust. If you’re still experiencing issues, it could be time to switch to a different brand or follow up with your doctor.
Transitioning to natural deodorant can help your body get better at eliminating toxins while keeping your whitest of white shirts clean and crisp. The change might be tough at first but in the end, it’s all worth it for your health and happiness. Have you tried it yet?