Harmful Effects of Deodorant and Natural Ways to Stay Fresh

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You exercise to stay in shape, but all that sweat can leave you feeling less than fresh. What’s the answer? Most of us reach for deodorant. 

However, could grabbing that stick undermine your hard-won health gains? Possibly, depending on the ingredient list. Here are the harmful effects of deodorant and eight natural ways to stay fresh without toxins. 

How Deodorant Can Harm You

Commercial deodorants can contain multiple toxic ingredients, which may be absorbed through your flesh. In the 1980s, officials feared mass accidental overdoses of hallucinogens like LSD from temporary tattoos coated in the substance. Your skin is an organ that can absorb both medicine and poisons. 

That stick you grab off store shelves to protect you from stinky pits can contain the following five potentially toxic ingredients, so beware: 

  • Aluminum: This ingredient should scare women in particular, although men are not immune. Researchers found an association between the use of deodorant that includes this ingredient and breast cancer. Applying it to broken skin can be particularly problematic as it can directly enter the bloodstream. 
  • Parabens: Parabens impact human hormonal function, including estrogen production. Your breasts also contain this hormone, and imbalances could promote cancer growth. 
  • Triclosan: This ingredient likewise messes with hormonal function. As critically in today’s COVID-19 world, it can upset your intestinal microbiome. These beneficial bacteria send signals to your immune system, and an imbalance could result in more frequent illnesses. 
  • Phthalates: These substances affect androgens, the female version of testosterone. While imbalanced testosterone levels can affect male fertility, they also impact strength and muscular endurance in both sexes — not an effect you want if working out. 
  • Fragrances: Some people are sensitive to fragrances. If you ever taught sixth grade and had a student break out the spray can after gym class, you might sympathize more than most. Scents can trigger migraines, and drying alcohol can cause skin irritation in some. 

The potentially harmful effects of deodorant sound dreadful. However, so does the prospect of offending your date with a case of B.O. How can you stay naturally fresh? 

8 Natural Ways to Stay Fresh Without Harmful Chemicals 

You don’t have to resort to potentially harmful deodorant to mingle in polite society. Here’s are eight ways to stay stink-free without chemicals. 

1. Wash 

You can’t go wrong with old-fashioned soap and water when it comes to busting body odor. Plus, you can find the supplies you need in nearly any public restroom. 

Take the time to shower after the gym. Don a cap if you don’t want to wet your hair. Alternatively, use a cloth — just please, make sure to wipe down the sink for the next person. 

2. Shave

Please don’t scoff if you are a guy — shaved pits on a male look much more appealing than underarm dreads. Although the evidence for cutting stink is mainly anecdotal, you will notice fewer sweat stains on your dress shirts when you trim those bushes. 

Shaving your pits may increase your confidence. Studies show that you feel less confident when you know you have B.O., although why research was needed to confirm this fact remains unknown. 

3. Witch Hazel

If you previously used spray deodorant, you might have noticed alcohol among the ingredients. Any astringent will help ease odor because it dries up perspiration and kills bacteria. 

However, rubbing alcohol can dry your skin, causing it to flake and itch. Scratching your pits makes you look like a monkey, so stick with a milder astringent. Witch hazel is less harsh than alcohol, and you can pick it up for pennies at nearly any drug store. 

4. Apple Cider Vinegar 

Here’s another natural astringent for deodorizing. You might find it works even more effectively at killing odor-causing bacteria. 

You can add apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle. Spritz a bit under your arms post-shower to kill any lingering germs. 

5. Coconut Oil

If you have dry skin, coconut oil may be your ideal deodorant. This thick, solid-at-room-temperature stuff makes a glorious skin balm. 

That’s not where the magic stops, though. Coconut oil also has antibacterial properties to keep your armpits fresh for hours. 

6. Baking Soda 

What if you want to stop both sweat and stink? Why not add absorbent and nontoxic baking soda to your armpit repertoire? 

You can blend baking soda with coconut oil to make a creamy paste. If you are acne-prone, do the same using witch hazel to achieve the desired consistency. 

7. Hand Sanitizer 

It’s 2020 — do you know where your hand sanitizer is? It’s probably hanging on your keychain — and in your purse, your car’s glove box, your briefcase — you get the point. 

Guess what? Anything that kills bacteria will deodorize your pits. A squirt of the gel stuff might sting a bit, but you probably have gentle wipes that don’t burn. 

8. Activated Charcoal 

If you must have deodorant in stick form, take heart. Some folks sweat more than others. 

If Botox injections for excess sweating exceed your price range, look for brands that use activated charcoal as a primary ingredient. This nontoxic substance will banish sweat and odor without harmful chemicals.  

Stay Fresh Naturally and Shun the Harmful Effects of Deodorant 

The harmful effects of deodorant can undo your gym gains if you slather it on after a workout. Instead, use one of the natural remedies above to stay stink-free and safe. 

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