There are many preconceived notions about natural deodorant. As the founder of a kaia naturals and the takesumi detox® natural deodorant brand, I receive many emails from people asking about using natural deodorant and problems they may experience. Since it is the start of a New Year, and many people are looking to make changes in their routine, I thought I would share the top 3 questions people ask me the most about natural deodorant.
1. Natural Deodorants Make Me Stink, So What Can I Do?
Since the armpits are a dark region with folds, bacteria is more likely to be trapped and produce odor when it comes into contact with sweat. Sweat + bacteria = odor. In fact, studies show that you produce more bacteria than usual in a short amount of time when you stop using antiperspirant. If you have been an avid antiperspirant user, you will notice a big difference in your body odor for this reason.
Thankfully, the Solution Comes in the Form of a Bar.
This is an easy fix. A beauty editor was kind enough to tell us that she started using a special antibacterial soap when she switched to a natural deodorant so she never had to worry about breakthrough odor when she was at the office. However, we found her recommendation to be a little abrasive, so we created our own. Our underarm bar contains apple cider vinegar, charcoal, and sodium, which are gentle ingredients that help keep bacteria at bay.
How to Properly Wash Your Underarms
To guarantee you eliminate breakthrough odor, you must wash your armpits with the bar thoroughly, not a quick “swish”. I count 30 times under each arm to ensure I have removed yesterday’s bacteria and deodorant buildup. Doing this makes it more difficult for todays’ bacteria to grow. Not washing the underarm thoroughly and using a standard bath soap (which is primarily fragrance) will not do the job. This is why you may get breakthrough odor during the day.
2. Does a Baking Soda-Free Deodorant Work As Well?
Baking soda is sometimes the culprit for underarm rashes, Baking soda’s texture is gritty and dry and can cause chafing in the underarm area. For these reasons, I do not formulate our deodorants with baking soda.
While sensitive skin may experience a reaction from baking soda, this may not be the only reason for skin irritation. The rash is more about the pH of your underarm area. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult to know. Most natural deodorants contain baking soda because it is highly effective at controlling odor and bacteria. However, many armpits have a hard time tolerating the ingredient due to its alkaline pH. It also doesn’t help that armpits have a physiologically higher acidic pH than any other skin region.
Despite that, there is no exact reason why some people experience irritation with natural deodorants while others do not. Each body is different and no two body chemistries are exactly the same. All we know is that the typical armpit pH is approximately 5.8 in men, 6 in women, and the maximum odor production seems to occur around 5. Generally, irritation is dependent on your skin’s pH in combination with the ratio of the baking soda and other ingredients like essential oils.
3. Do I Have A Rash? or Am I Allergic To The Deodorant Ingredients?
I am sure you have heard about people who have stopped using natural deodorant due to rashes. This is the most common concern I deal with and the type of rash I see the most often is what I call a “moisture rash”. The scientific name is “intertrigo”, which occurs when skin folds trap moisture due to heat, lack of circulation.
If you were using antiperspirant before, it plugs your sweat glands and prevents you from sweating, therefore moisture does not get trapped under your arm. Since the moisture in your armpits eventually comes in contact with bacteria… bam! – you have a moisture rash. Therefore, skin rashes are not always caused by the natural deodorant itself. They are usually caused from the moisture in your underarm, which means that the deodorant does not have enough powder to absorb the moisture.
Here are some of the steps you can follow if you have a rash:
Note that this is assuming that you may have intertrigo (a moisture rash). So it is key to understand the cause of the rash.
- Call a doctor if the rash does not clear up in 2 days.
- If it is a moisture rash, stop using the deodorant and keep your armpits dry by using a powder or cornstarch until the rash clears.
- Once it clears, try using the deodorant and then adding powder or cornstarch over top of the deodorant as you need something to absorb the excess moisture.
- If none of this works and the rash continues, you should also consider switching to another deodorant as this could be a sign that it is not the right one for you.
There Is No One-Size Fits All Solution
When it comes to natural deodorant there is no one deodorant that will be suitable for everyone, however, it is important to understand what your body chemistry is like so that you can make the best choices when buying a deodorant. As a product developer, I really do understand that there is no way that we can make a deodorant that has a one-size fits all approach when it comes to human body chemistry. One of the best ways for us to learn how to formulate is from consumers feedback, insights, questions and concerns… so please keep the comments, feedback and emails coming!
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