Let’s face it, it’s always easier to keep doing things the exact same way than it is to make a change — even if you know that the new routine is better for you (hello, possible links between aluminum and health risks). The research is ongoing, but it raises enough questions that making the switch to a natural or aluminum-free deodorant makes sense to a lot of people. On the other hand, making this switch can bring up a whole bunch of concerns, like worries about smelling weird, dripping sweat constantly or developing creepy underarm rashes.
But it’s hard to ignore a growing pile of research that suggests aluminum-free deodorants are a healthier, safer way to go. When you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s the right way to make the switch, and what you can expect during the changeover.
What to Expect
Maybe you've heard the rumors about a super-sweaty detox period when going aluminum free? After years (or decades) of having your sweat ducts plugged up by the aluminum salts in antiperspirants, your body needs to recalibrate and get used to sweating again. During this 'detox' or transition period - which typically lasts about 2 weeks - you may find yourself sweating more and notice a different, pungent odor from your sweat. Or maybe you're one of the luckier ones that experience no detox at all (everybody is different!).
If you do find that you're going through a detox period, hang in there and be consistent. Switching to a high-performance deodorant that keeps you protected while your body adapts can help. And, as much as you may want to revert back to your old antiperspirant on those sweatier days, try not to as it will make it harder for your body to fully adjust. Be prepared for a mid-day refresh if needed and stay the course. The detox will be over soon.
To help the detox along, you may want to try a charcoal- or clay-based mask under your arms, or a mild acid-based facial toner, to draw impurities from your skin. You can also give your skin a little extra love with some extra virgin coconut oil or Manuka honey as an overnight treatment. The good news is that a lot of people report that, once they pass through the detox period, they tend to sweat less overall.
Consider the Ingredients
Many natural deodorants rely on baking soda as a powerful odor neutralizer. While this is a great ingredient to protect against odor, not all baking soda-based formulas are created equal. Choose a formula with a lower concentration of the ingredient and a soft, smooth texture to avoid irritating delicate underarm skin. Another one to watch out for - essential oils. Many natural deodorants use loads of essential oils which can irritate your skin.
If you find that your skin is irritated when you start using your new deodorant, here are a few tips. Try splitting up when you shave and when you apply your aluminum-free deodorant, spacing it out by 20-30 minutes or shaving your underarms at night and applying your deodorant in the morning. Also you may want to try a fragrance and essential oil-free formula. And lastly, make sure to soothe and nourish your skin to reduce redness and inflammation. You can apply one of those all-star natural remedies mentioned above - extra virgin coconut oil or Manuka honey - or a skin-soothing balm with calendula flower extract to before you go to bed.
Keep It Dry
You’ve heard this one before: Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments. Your #1 weapon to fight off the source of underarm stench? Keeping things clean and dry. When switching to an aluminum-free deodorant, be sure to carefully pat your underarms dry after you get out of the shower, before applying product.
Also, some clean beauty brands include ingredients specifically designed to safely provide a clean, dry feeling. To create type:A’s dry-cream formula, we tested many combinations of starches, including arrowroot powder, cornstarch, and tapioca, to discover the optimal balance for the strongest naturally-based wetness protection.
Looking for the best aluminum-free deodorant for your foray into clean personal care? Click here to learn more about type:A’s aluminum-free deodorant, including both the natural ingredients and the safe synthetics it uses, and how its sweat-activated technology works to keep you feeling fresh during your toughest workouts.
Written by Kristen Geil