MARCH 2023 | 5 Minute Read
I cannot count how many times people have told me, “Mary, natural deodorant just doesn’t work for me.” What a lot of people don’t realize is that your body goes through a detox phase when you swap out aluminum-laden antiperspirant for a natural deodorant. The truth is, your natural deodorant isn’t making you smell worse – the bacterial communities under your arms are changing and it doesn’t happen overnight! It can take up to 30 days for your body to fully detox from aluminum.
A 2 to 4 week transition period can be expected when transitioning from antiperspirant to natural deodorant. Each stage of the detox may vary depending on your body chemistry.
What to expect when switching to natural deodorant. Comment questions below! #underarmdertox #takesuimidetox #bodyodor #armpitdetox♬ Just a Cloud Away - Pharrell Williams
Antiperspirant is classified as an over-the-counter drug in both Canada and the United States. If you have been using antiperspirant since you were a preteen, your body will definitely be dependent on it.
You may go a couple of days or even a week without noticing much difference between your antiperspirant and natural deodorant.
This is due to the fact that the aluminum compounds in antiperspirant form a gel-like plug and constrict your pores in the underarm. This prevents you from sweating and getting wet and takes time to clear out.
When you stop using antiperspirant you will experience a substantial increase in growth of odor-causing bacteria in the underarm area.
You may also feel additional moisture because your body is sweating, which is completely normal and natural.
A study conducted at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Genomics & Microbiology Lab found that there was an initial increase of smelly bacteria (Corynebacteria) in the underarms of antiperspirant users when they stopped using it. Deodorant users did not experience the same increase in odor-causing bacteria when they stopped using underarm products. They even had fewer species of bacteria in their armpits compared to armpits of participants who use no product at all. It is important to know that this increase of odor-causing bacteria won’t last forever, it is just a part of the detox that happens when you discontinue use.
Bacteria levels may begin to subside. The culture of bacteria is able to re-balance and stop overproducing odor-causing bacteria. What this means is that you will likely notice excess odor starting to decrease.
Underarm moisture levels will also normalize. It will take some time to get used to sweating under your arms. Powder in natural deodorant can help absorb that moisture.
Natural fibres like cotton, bamboo and linen are your new best friends, as natural fibres are much more breathable and both sweat and bacteria will not remain trapped inside.
Your body should have fully adjusted to natural deodorant. It can take up to 30 days for your body to regulate itself, though for some people the detox stage is shorter or longer. You can now continue using natural deodorant every day to neutralize the smell of daily body odor.
For some people, the stages of detox may seem too scary to embark on, but it is so worth it when you realize you are making a healthier life choice every single day for the rest of your life. Thankfully, there are also a few things you can do to to help you get through the detox.
This two-step method is a proven method that will not only help you switch to natural deodorant, but will help you prevent odor-breakthrough throughout the day once you have switched.
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Clean beauty industry maven and product developer Madame Sweat (Mary Futher) founded kaia naturals after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. She now shares advice on modern hygiene etiquette for grooming, hosting, home and travel on Instagram, TikTok and her popular blog called The House of Hygiene.