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We’re here to make a stink about how stinky deodorants and antiperspirants can be. Your body is your habitat, and what you put in (and on) it has a tremendous impact on your health. That’s why your armpit’s microbiome is a bigger deal than you think!
The science of underarm odor can seem personal, but it’s fascinating that each of us has a unique biome of microorganisms under our armpits. Although you can’t see it, you can certainly sometimes smell it! Our armpits can contain as many microbes as our guts or mouths!
There’s a whole ecosystem growing in your armpit: some types of bacteria are good, some bad, and some make you smell - the key is to keep them all balanced. Let’s look at what makes up your underarm’s microbiome and how sweating and deodorant play a role.
Eliminate odor and sweat with confidence (after all, a little sweat is good for you!) with our all-natural, aluminum-free Mineral Deodorant!
Your Underarm Microbiome Is Unique
The underarm microbiome is a rich environment, housing diverse and abundant microbial communities. In fact, some organisms found there can’t be found anywhere else on the human body.
But if you’re like most people, you probably never think about your underarm microbiome. While you don’t usually think about it, scientists have long been interested in the skin microbiome, which has led to exciting discoveries.
For example, it’s known that the underarm microbiome is unique to each person, which means nobody has a microbial community like yours (makes you feel pretty special, huh?) A study in the journal Nature found that the underarm microbiome's bacterial composition differs based on various factors, including gender and the amount of body hair present.
The study found that the microbial population in the underarm microbiome of women is more diverse than that in men. It also found that the microbial population in the underarm microbiome of women with hairy armpits is more diverse than those in women with hairless armpits.
It makes sense that your microbiome is unique to you, but let's talk about one of the primary purposes of the armpit - sweating. Why do we sweat, to begin with?
Why Do We Sweat?
It is essential to understand that your body sweats for a reason. Sweating is the body’s natural cooling method. By sweating, your body prevents you from overheating and becoming ill.
This built-in mechanism is why we sweat so much when we exercise. When we work out, our muscles work harder to perform the tasks they need. This causes our bodies to generate more heat, which is then released through our sweat glands, helping to maintain our body temperature.
Another benefit and purpose of sweating is to eliminate toxins from your system. This natural detox occurs whenever we sweat, but exercise and saunas are two great ways to boost the process.
One of the least known reasons for sweating is that sweat glands in your armpits release perspiration that contains pheromones. These pheromones play an essential role in human attraction, and a healthy microbiome produces pheromones that increase attractiveness!
Now that we know more about why we sweat, let's dive into the armpit microbiome and how deodorant plays a role.
Deodorant and Your Armpit Microbiome
As mentioned above, the goal is to have a well-balanced armpit microbiome.
Many people don’t know that sweat doesn’t have a scent. Body odor results from odorless sweat interacting with harmful armpit bacteria. While some body odor is typical even in healthy people, odor issues are far worse when the skin’s microbiome is unbalanced. Enter Deodorant!
Unfortunately, many conventional deodorants use chemicals like aluminum (which is a big no-no) to kill bacteria. The downside? Most drugstore formulas kill the good bacteria along with the bad.
Many conventional deodorants also use harmful ingredients, promising a 'sweat-free' lifestyle. These products are most commonly marketed as ‘antiperspirants.’ What these brands don't share is that to achieve this goal, they use toxic ingredients that block and clog your pores so you cannot sweat. Blocking sweat is far from the natural design of the body, as we need to be able to sweat to release heat, toxins, and pheromones.
Commercial deodorants have many harmful, artificial ingredients in them including synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, parabens, and other toxic chemicals that can cause harm to your body and your health. The human skin absorbs these chemicals, which can cause irritation, rashes, and other health problems.
Many deodorants today use aluminum, which is linked to Alzheimer's, breast cancer, and other serious health problems.
Switching to natural deodorant is a simple, effective way to support your health (instead of hurting it) daily.
Natural Deodorant Is Best
The question on everyone's mind is, "Does natural deodorant actually work?" The answer is yes! While many fear switching to a natural deodorant, it’s one of the best decisions you can make for your health and skin!
As you switch to natural deodorant, you may notice a few side effects. Aluminum minimizes sweat by blocking your pores, so when you stop using it, your body begins to expel the built-up bacteria and toxins. This process - called ‘detoxing’ - can result in excess sweating, extra or worsened body odor, and minor skin irritation. Don’t worry! This process is normal, healthy, and, most importantly, temporary. And fortunately, you’re not helpless! Here’s a great process you can follow to detox, prep your pits, and make a smooth transition to natural, healthier deodorant.
Our Mineral Deodorant contains a powerhouse combination of ingredients that makes going natural a breeze! Antimicrobial Triethyl Citrate fights and destroys harmful bacteria, Zinc Ricinoleate deodorizes and keeps sweat under control, and Bisabolol calms and soothes irritated skin. Baking soda provides an additional deodorizing punch, but we use a minimal amount so that even our customers with baking soda sensitivities love our formula!
How to Have a Healthy Armpit Microbiome
A healthy microbiome means a healthy armpit!
Here are a few ways you can have a healthier armpit microbiome:
- Keep your armpit dry, fresh, and toxin-free with clean, reliable natural deodorant you can trust!
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes that block airflow from reaching your armpit.
- If you shave under your arms, always use a clean, sharp razor and change the blade regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet (robust gut health is the foundation for everything!)
- Consider adding probiotics into your daily routine!
Piecing It All Together
A clean armpit is a happy armpit! When it comes to choosing a natural deodorant, there’s no need to choose between your health and your peace of mind. Fortunately, making the switch to natural deodorant has never been easier! Our non-toxic, aluminum-free deodorant is potent, gentle, and effective. And with a subtle scent of aloe and driftwood, it’s perfect for men and women! Our Mineral Deodorant checks all the boxes - so what are you waiting for? Your armpits will thank you!
Gildersleeve, Kelly & Haselton, Martie & Larson, Christina & Pillsworth, Elizabeth. (2011). Body odor attractiveness as a cue of impending ovulation in women: Evidence from a study using hormone-confirmed ovulation. Hormones and behavior. 61. 157-66. 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.11.005.
Preti, G. et al. Male axillary extracts contain pheromones that affect pulsatile secretion of luteinizing hormone and mood in women recipients. Biology of Reproduction, 68, 2107 - 2103, (2003).