Deodorants vs. Antiperspirants

What is the Difference between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

Deodorants are substances that mask, decrease or eliminate odors – usually associated with body odor.  Deodorants come as ready-made products (usually stick or spray) and are typically marketed as natural and safe.  They do not prevent sweating, instead they simply mask or change the odor associated with sweating.

Antiperspirants actually prevent sweating.  They contain aluminum which is the active ingredient used to block sweat.  The aluminum  absorbs into the skin and when sweating begins to occur, the pH of your skin rises which causes the aluminum salts to precipitate out and they then literally plug up your pores so the sweat cannot come through. 

Are Antiperspirants Bad For You?

There is scientific debate about the safety of applying a metal to your skin on pretty much a daily basis.  Aluminum has been linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease following routine “occupational” exposure to aluminum.  Also, people with chronic kidney disease are not able to eliminate aluminum effectively so the metal will accumulate in the body.  These patients have suffered from an illness known as “dialysis encephalopathy” or “dialysis dementia”.  The illness was called this because the products used in dialysis used to contain high levels of aluminum.  Thankfully, science has found a better solution and dialysis patients do not receive aluminum containing products any longer.

Knowing all of this information, I think that it is pretty clear that it is at least a likelihood that applying aluminum on a daily basis could cause negative health consequences.

But I Think I Smell Bad, so I Really Need Antiperspirant!

Eating a clean, healthy diet will change the smell of your sweat.  My brother-in-law had a brief but intense fling with garlic.  I’m talking cooking with it constantly and taking garlic pills. I think he may have been eating it raw as well. Well, believe me, he smelled like a head of garlic from 15 feet away.  Sweat is just one way that our body rids itself of toxins.  Much of science will argue that sweat is 99% water and that removing toxins from the body is only accomplished via the kidneys and liver. Well, I’m a pharmacist so I’ve spent some time with science and I still know that my brother-in-law smelled like a garlic farm when he was over-consuming garlic, so clearly there was more than water in his sweat.

The reality is that sweat is coming from inside your body to the outside of your body and it will therefore represent how you treat the inside of your body.  If you drink excessive alcohol, and smoke and eat garbage food, your sweat will not be pleasant.  If you eat a clean diet and exercise and stay hydrated, you may not smell like a daisy but your sweat will be more mild. As they say, what goes in must come out.

Using natural deodorant products will eliminate the exposure to aluminum and taking care of your body will decrease the odor associated with your sweat.  There are also other natural deodorizer solutions that you can use to naturally and safely decrease body odor. Certain essential oils can work to assist in reducing body odor.

Coriander essential oil works as a natural deodorizer when used either topically or internally.  When ingested it can reduce bad breath and the odor associated with sweat.

Tea Tree essential oil has significant antibacterial properties. When applied topically it can reduce bacteria on the skin that react with sweat causing an unpleasant smell.

Lemon works to lower the pH of the skin making it less habitable for bacteria that can cause sweat to smell bad.  Simply cut a lemon in half and rub it on your armpit area.  Doing this before bed is a bit more user friendly and leaves you smelling fresh when you awake in the morning.

There are many other natural ways to reduce body odor. If you are not much of a DIYer and prefer to just find a safe natural deodorant product that you can use without all the fuss, I absolutely love Young Living’s natural deodorants.  They are loaded with essential oils that are strategically chosen for their abilities to help reduce body odor and formulated with healthy skin ingredients like coconut oil and vitamin E.

If you have any questions about this article or Young Living’s products, contact me. I would love to talk to you!

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