How Does Natural Deodorant Work?

By Laurie Fanelli in Natural Products

A natural deodorant is a good choice for individuals looking for odor protection without using products on their skin that contain artificial fragrances. Natural deodorants are specially designed to help you beat the heat using effective, naturally derived ingredients.

Much like traditional deodorants, the natural variety aims to neutralize odors and discourage bacteria from lingering on your body, helping you smell fresh and clean throughout your day. Brands that produce natural deodorants place an emphasis on using plant-based ingredients that are safe and effective. So, how does natural deodorant work?

Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant

Antiperspirants and deodorants may live side-by-side in store aisles, but they work in very different ways. According to the Mayo Clinic, antiperspirants keep you from sweating by blocking your pores with aluminum-based compounds. Deodorants do not reduce sweat but instead work to reduce or mask the scent associated with sweating. They can also make your skin less attractive to odor-causing bacteria.

Why use natural deodorant? Natural deodorants let the sensitive skin under your arms breathe with fragrances derived from plant-based ingredients. Learning more about the contents of your personal care products allows you to make more informed decisions when choosing the best items for you and your family.

Natural vs. Artificial Fragrances

Both natural and nonnatural deodorants are often scented, but not all fragrances are created the same way. Natural fragrances are derived from ingredients found in the Earth. They're often scented with essential oils sourced from lavender, citrus, or vanilla bean extracts.

Synthetic fragrances are often man-made and developed in a lab. Unscented or fragrance-free deodorant is also an option, but you will still want to check the ingredients list to see if any odor-masking substances were added.

Bottles of essential oils

How Does Natural Deodorant Work without Artificial Fragrances?

Products made with synthetic fragrances may be less expensive, while those that use natural scents may be easier on sensitive skin. In fact, a study published in Contact Dermatitis found that deodorants were the leading cause of fragrance-based allergic skin rashes.

Natural deodorants can give you confidence for the day while taking care of your skin with naturally derived substances. For example, Tom's of Maine's Natural Strength Deodorant lets skin breathe with an exclusive blend of odor-neutralizing botanicals and no artificial fragrances. Additionally, some plant-based ingredients may have residual benefits for your skin, such as aloe vera, which has soothing properties.

Combating Deodorant Rash

Nobody likes a deodorant rash. Not only does it clash with a perfect tank top, but that red, bumpy rash can be itchy, irritating, and painful to the skin. According to DermNet NZ, active ingredients or diluents in antiperspirants can be one of the causes of irritant or allergic contact dermatitis. People with eczema, sensitive skin, contact allergies—to fragrances, preservatives, or dyes—or those susceptible to razor burn are at risk of developing a reaction to antiperspirants.

Switching to a natural deodorant can help you avoid synthetic ingredients used for scent or color—two common culprits of deodorant rash.

When trying out a natural deodorant for the first time, I actually experienced an armpit rash. A bit of online sleuthing helped me realize that the irritation was actually caused by moisture. After years of using antiperspirants—which, as mentioned above, reduce sweat by obstructing the glands with aluminum—my skin wasn't accustomed to the natural process of sweating. In my case, I tried to keep my skin as dry as possible by showering directly after working out and applying a bit of natural cornstarch in a pinch. After a week or two, my skin was back to normal.

Just as some people may need time adopting to a healthy diet or reducing caffeine intake to get beyond certain effects during the detoxification period, so too did my armpits need time to simply adjust to the new natural regimen.

If you experience deodorant rash when switching to natural deodorant, please consult a dermatologist to determine if you are experiencing a moisture rash or if you may be allergic to any ingredients in the product.

Woman stretching with arms over her head

What to Expect When Switching to Natural Deodorant

I am a firm believer of going at your own pace when making a change, and that includes adapting to a natural deodorant routine. There is no one-size-fits-all answer on how to switch to natural deodorant, as this will vary from person to person. Some people may go all in, making the change in one fell swoop, while others may feel more comfortable alternating their old stand-by brand with a new natural variety of deodorant to ease into the transition.

Different types of natural deodorants will feel different on your skin. Some products have a dryer, rougher consistency, while others use more oils for a wetter yet smoother feel. Lavender is my go-to scent, but natural deodorant can be found in a wide variety of aromas, such as lemongrass, sage, and citrus. It's all about finding what works for you.

After initially experiencing a bit more moisture in the armpits, I've since made the full switch to natural deodorant, and I feel like I sweat less. It took me a few tries to find my perfect product—but now, I use natural deodorant every day.

Different deodorants work better for different lifestyles, so try out a new deodorant and see if it suits you. Take a close look at the ingredients label to see where your product comes from and determine if it contains any substances you're looking to either use or avoid.

Whether you're training for a marathon, spending time outdoors with your family, working a full-time job, or doing all three in the same day, you deserve a deodorant you can trust. Ready to make the switch to natural? Learn more about what goes in your personal care products on the Ingredients from Nature board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!

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The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It's Good

If you want to feel good about the products you use from your head to your toes to your armpits, natural deodorant may be a great option. Understanding how natural deodorants work without artificial fragrances allows you to be better informed the next time you're shopping in the personal care aisle.