Sweating is natural-it's your body's way of regulating temperature and flushing out toxins. Most perspiration is odorless and is composed of water, salt, and trace elements. It's secreted by the eccrine sweat glands, which are distributed over the entire body and stimulated by heat, physical activity, or nervous tension.
Unpleasant smelling perspiration is the product of the apocrine sweat glands, which are concentrated in the armpits and activated by pain, sexual excitement, or emotional stress. After puberty, the chemical composition of the apocrine secretions becomes ideal for bacterial reproduction. Within a few hours, bacteria normally present on the skin multiply and decompose in these secretions to cause the body odor that is considered so offensive.
Drugstore antiperspirants promise to keep you dry. They typically contain processed aluminum chlorhydrate or aluminum zirconium as active ingredients that prevent you from sweating. Antiperspirants work by plugging sweat ducts with these aluminum compounds. The problem is that the toxins that would normally come out of these sweat ducts back up in your body. Plugging up your sweat ducts is like plugging up your car's exhaust system. In addition, these ingredients can cause skin irritation, itching, and redness.
Most natural deodorants, on the other hand, contain mineral salts as their active ingredients. Because their molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin, these salts don't block sweat ducts and are gentler to delicate underarm skin. The most widely used mineral salt in deodorants is alum, a natural astringent that kills the bacteria that produce odor. Keep in mind that most natural deodorants don't promise to keep you dry, only odor-free.
Here are some no-sweat tips for getting the most out of your natural deodorant:
- Allow your body to cool down after showering or bathing before applying deodorant. Glide a small amount over your entire underarm area. Wait a few minutes before dressing so you don't wipe it off on your clothes.
- Apply before bed. Most likely, you apply deodorant in the morning. But if you perspire heavily, use it again at night to keep bacteria at bay.
- If your feet perspire, use deodorant on them, too.
- Be consistent. The antibacterial effects of natural deodorant are cumulative.
Sherrie Strausfogel is the author of Hawaii's Spa Experience: Rejuvenating Secrets of the Islands. Writing about beauty, spas, health, cuisine, and travel, Strausfogel's work has appeared in more than 100 magazines, newspapers, guidebooks, and websites. She is based in Honolulu.
Get 24-hour protection with GeodeoNatural Deodorant Plus Detox Complex. Volcanic minerals remove impurities, enzymes neutralize odors, aloe supports skin, and vitamin E fights free radicals.
Smell fresh with Nature's GateHerbal Blend Deodorant smooth gliding stick. Baking soda neutralizes odor, aloe soothes irritated skin, and herbs inhibit bacterial growth.
Stay odor-free with NourishOrganic Deodorant. Plant enzymes prevent odor; cornstarch dries underarm moisture; and shea butter, coconut oil, and beeswax moisturize and protect delicate skin.
Rely on Aubrey OrganicsE PLUS HIGH C Natural Roll-On Deodorant for hardworking odor protection. Bacteria-fighting essential oils, soothing aloe, and drying calamine powder keep you feeling fresh.
Freshen up with EOOrganic Deodorant Spray. Essential oils eliminate body odor. Apply as needed for effective protection. Choose from Lavender, Citrus, or Vetiver scents.