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No one wants smelly armpits, so it’s no surprise that deodorant is a regular part of our daily routines. Few of us would be prepared to venture out for the day without the protective power of a few swipes of our favorite deodorant.
Since it is such a part of our lives, few of us spend much time thinking about the ingredients in our deodorants. We need to keep fresh and clean, and if it gets the job done, well…
But as you can probably guess, turning a blind eye to the ingredients in your deodorant is a bad idea. While conventional deodorants may be effective in reducing sweat and blocking body odor, most of them contain toxic chemicals that harm not just your skin, but your overall health.
Fortunately, as more people decide to take ownership of their health and eliminate toxins from their personal care routines, safer and cleaner products are appearing on the market.
So far, the best alternative to conventional deodorant and antiperspirant comes in the form of mineral deodorant. Free from the harmful chemicals that can irritate our skin and disrupt our body’s systems, these deodorants use mineral salts to eliminate odor-causing bacteria while allowing the body to sweat (a normal, healthy process) instead of blocking the pores with toxins.
What Are Mineral Deodorants Made From?
Many mineral deodorants are made from a natural mineral salt called potassium alum (the longer chemical name is potassium aluminum sulfate). This form of natural deodorant is often referred to as crystal deodorant or rock deodorant. Potassium alum is naturally antimicrobial, which means it helps to eliminate the bacteria responsible for body odor.
Other natural deodorizers include magnesium – another naturally antibacterial mineral salt – and sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda.
Do Mineral Deodorants Work?
To understand exactly how mineral deodorants work to eliminate body odor and keep us smelling fresh all day, we must understand what causes odor in the first place.
We all know that getting sweaty is a surefire way to increase our body odor. (Hello, sports, workouts, and any summer activity!) However, what many people don’t know is that sweat itself doesn’t stink.
Rather, body odor is the result of our sweat mixing with and reacting to the bacteria that live on our skin.
The reason armpit odor tends to be the most noticeable is that we have two different types of sweat glands. Most of our body is covered in eccrine glands, but some areas (such as our armpits and groins) have apocrine glands instead.
Both types of glands release perspiration to protect our bodies against overheating. But the sweat released by our apocrine glands is more potent than the sweat produced by our eccrine glands. When sweat from the apocrine glands encounters certain bacteria that inhabit our skin, it creates the distinctive smell we associate with body odor.
Many conventional deodorants double as antiperspirants, which make them more appealing to the public. Who wouldn’t want to sweat less? However, these antiperspirants typically contain aluminum, which works by blocking the pores to stop sweat production. This may sound like a dream come true, but in reality, it leads to a dangerous build-up of toxins in your skin.
Mineral deodorants, on the other hand, don’t act as or claim to be antiperspirants. They won’t stop you from sweating. (Remember: Sweating can be unpleasant, but it’s good.) Instead of utilizing chemicals to plug the sweat glands or harsh fragrances to ‘freshen’, mineral deodorant targets odor-causing bacteria to eliminate body odor without interfering with the body’s natural processes.
How Do You Use Mineral Deodorants?
Mineral deodorants come in many different forms. Those that use potassium alum to fight odor are available as crystals or rocks, which need to be dampened before being rolled over the underarms. They can be purchased as a roll-on or as a spray.
Deodorants that rely on sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) usually also have moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, or aloe. As a result, these are too thick to come as sprays and are instead available as a roll-on or cream.
Mineral deodorant can be applied like any conventional deodorant – just shower, swipe, and be on your way! You can reapply as needed, but many mineral deodorants can last all day (although this will depend on your activity levels and propensity to sweat).
It’s very important to note that when making the switch from conventional to clean deodorant, most people experience a ‘transition’ period in which their bodies slowly adapt to the change. Around here, we call this ‘detoxing’.
If you are (or were) a regular use of antiperspirant, it’s probably been years since your body has been able to sweat as it naturally would. When you cut out antiperspirants, it can take a little while for your body to rebalance and expel years’ worth of aluminum and toxin buildup. During this time, you may notice increased sweating and/or increased odor. That’s perfectly normal!
The transition typically lasts between two and four weeks, but you may be able to speed up the process by doing an armpit detox. Simply apply the mixture to your armpits, allow it to sit for 5-20 minutes, and then rinse.
While feeling like a sweaty mess sounds pretty undesirable, it’s more than worth it to expel all the built-up toxins from your system. Once the detox period is over, your body should find its balance again. You may even find you don’t need to apply deodorant as frequently as you did before!
Are Mineral Deodorants Safe?
If your conventional deodorant has been doing the trick all these years, you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of transitioning to a natural alternative.
The reason is simple: Most deodorants and antiperspirants contain chemicals that have been linked with serious health conditions. When applied to our armpits, these chemicals are absorbed into our bodies and may disrupt our endocrine systems, which are responsible for regulating our hormones.
Some of the most common and potentially harmful deodorant ingredients include:
- Propylene Glycerol: A chemical often found in antifreeze, propylene glycerol is a skin irritant and a potential allergen, according to the Environmental Working Group
- Parabens: Common preservatives found in many personal care products, parabens are endocrine disruptors. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners say they may increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
- Phthalates: Another well-known group of endocrine disruptors, phthalates are used as solvents in cosmetics and personal care products.
- Synthetic fragrances: Chemical additives are frequently linked to skin irritation and allergies. Many chemicals used to create deodorant scents aren’t required to be listed on ingredient labels!
As we mentioned earlier, antiperspirants also use aluminum to block our pores and reduce the amount we sweat. This controversial ingredient has been at the center of heated debate for many years.
Although the National Cancer Institute denies the existence of a strong, proven link between aluminum in antiperspirants and cancer, some studies have found a correlation between the two. Meanwhile, the Environmental Working Group lists aluminum as a neurotoxin and allergen that can easily absorb through the skin.
For many of us, these numerous known (and unknown) health risks are what have led us to seek safer, cleaner alternatives to antiperspirants and conventional deodorants. Even if some of these suspicions have yet to be proven, is it really worth the risk? We don’t think so.
Mineral deodorants are usually free from these threats, with brands replacing chemicals with natural ingredients that don’t trigger allergies, cause irritation, or disrupt our hormones. However, you should always read your labels to see exactly what is used in each product.
Crystal deodorants still contain aluminum salts in the form of potassium alum or ammonium alum. While these are thought to be safer alternatives to the aluminum chlorohydrate contained in conventional antiperspirants, those wanting to avoid aluminum altogether might prefer to choose a deodorant with a magnesium or baking soda base instead.
The question of aluminum and toxins aside, mineral deodorants have one major benefit over antiperspirants: They don’t interfere with sweating.
This might not sound like a positive at first, but remember, our bodies are designed to sweat. It is a natural part of how we regulate our temperatures. Blocking up the sweat glands interrupts their healthy, biological process, which is never a smart move when you’re trying to rebalance your body.
It can be frustrating and even a little uncomfortable at first, especially if you are used to applying antiperspirants every day. But it just takes some getting used to! Some mineral formulas contain ingredients that help to absorb sweat. These stop you from feeling wet under the arms, without disrupting your natural sweat production.
Some people – especially those with sensitive skin – find that baking soda irritates their skin. This is partly due to the slightly harsh nature of the ingredient but also the amount in which it is used. If you find that this is the case for you, you may want to look for a brand that uses only a small amount of baking soda or try a magnesium-based formula. At Wellnesse, our deodorant use the smallest amount possible of the baking soda to avoid any irritation. We tested our Mineral Deodorant on many who are sensitive to baking soda and none of them had a reaction to our deodorant and all loved the formula we put together.
Free from aluminum, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or phthalates, mineral deodorant can be an excellent alternative to the toxic, synthetic formulas we find on the market today. Natural mineral deodorants are often scented with essential oils or plant extracts, instead of synthetic fragrances. When paired up with powerhouse ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil, they can fight bacteria, eliminate odor, and moisturize the skin all at once!
Make the Switch
If you’re looking to cut the chemicals while still sticking to products that work, ditching your antiperspirant and choosing a mineral deodorant is a great first step. They work and there’s no need to choose between health and freshness!
At Wellnesse, we understand how important it is to find safe, effective, and toxin-free personal care products for you and your family. That’s why our Mineral Deodorant is made from all-natural ingredients and is 100% aluminum-free. We swapped the toxins, chemicals, and fragrances for tapioca starch (to absorb sweat), shea butter (to moisturize the skin), and a pinch of deodorizing baking soda. (Don’t worry, even our customers with baking soda sensitivities love this!)
With a subtle scent of Palo Santo extract, our deodorant is perfect for both men and women and will keep you feeling and smelling fresh all day long, safe in the knowledge that our formula is as good for your health as it is for your armpits.
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