The Great Deodorant Deception (And How to Avoid It)

Last Update: September 28, 2022

There’s a reason drugstore shelves are piled high with deodorants. We’re all scared of smelling bad, and marketers know exactly how to push our (self-conscious) buttons.

Baby Powder Blast! Shower Fresh! Tropical Rain! Orchid Bloom! It doesn’t really what the scent under the cap actually is…as long as it’s not our scent.

Whether that’s a healthy mindset is a debate for another day. But what isn’t in question is the terrible list of ingredients in most mainstream brands.

For one thing, most common antiperspirants use aluminum to plug up the pores in your armpits and stop you from sweating. The trouble with aluminum is that some studies have linked it to diseases including breast cancer, kidney failure, and Alzheimer’s disease. Though experts have said some of these links are tenuous at best, the concerns still feel very real for many consumers.

The other super common ingredient in deodorant that’s potentially problematic is “fragrance.” This vague term can mean any combination of several different chemicals, and the Environmental Working Group has flagged it as a known allergen and toxin affecting the immune system.

Of course, these aren’t the only suspicious ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants. Propylene glycol and triclosan, two other common additives in personal care products, can aggravate allergies and reactions and even disrupt the endocrine system.

Since the Food and Drug Administration isn’t required to monitor or test personal care products, it’s up to consumers to do their homework. Luckily, Thrive Market offers plenty of natural deodorant options without all these harmful chemicals and suspicious additives. Crystal deodorants are one of the most popular natural options. These deodorant stones are made from naturally occurring salts that stop the stink-causing bacteria from forming, rather than artificially clogging pores as antiperspirants do.

There are also plenty of gentle deodorants on the market that kill odor-causing bacteria and neutralize the smell of sweat, rather than trying to stop it altogether. Sweat gets a bad rap for making us stink, but don’t forget that it’s the body’s way of cooling down and detoxing. Instead of opting for an antiperspirant, look for deodorants with natural antibacterial ingredients such as tea tree oil, hops, sage, or citrus.

You can even try making your own deodorant at home—it’s surprisingly easy, cost efficient, and effective!

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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Magda Rod

Magda Freedom Rod is a certified yoga instructor, health & lifestyle guide and founder of Visionary Lifestyle and Conscious Eating 101. She helps people activate their highest potential through conscious eating, yoga and sustainable lifestyle guidance. Visit today to join her mailing list and receive recipes and healthy lifestyle tips!

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