Whether we are inactive or extremely active, chances are we all have used some form of deodorant or antiperspirant. Body odor occurs when bacteria on our skin mixes with sweat. There are various kinds of odor-causing bacteria that result in different odors based on the reason we are sweating. Sweat caused from stress or hormones will cause a different odor than sweat caused simply from expelling water and electrolytes from physical activity.
A simple and effective way to remove body odor is to shower with anti-bacterial agents. Many essential oils like tea tree, lavender and lemongrass have strong antibacterial properties and are safe to use as natural fragrances. Natural deodorants can also do the trick if we choose the correct brands. Deodorant should still allow for perspiration, our bodies natural form of detoxification. It should also contain ingredients that we recognize which could include coconut oil, baking soda, beeswax and essential oils. Additionally, we can limit foods that cause an increase in body odor like processed foods, refined sugar and dairy, and fried foods. Antiperspirants are another product that can lessen body odor but before we grab one from the shelf, we should make sure to understand the potential risks first.
Antiperspirants aim to do exactly what the name applies: stop us from perspiring. While some people genetically tend to sweat more than others, let’s recall that our skin is a detoxification organ. If we inhibit our body from expelling toxins out of our skin, we are trapping them inside and allowing them to continue causing damage. Our skin also absorbs everything we put on it, and as with deodorant, reading the ingredient label is imperative. Antiperspirants often contain toxins and metals like aluminum which can lead to DNA damage, abnormal cell function and changes in gene expression. Concentrating these toxins and metals in places like our underarms can lead to a higher risk of lymphatic and breast cancer in women.
In order to keep ourselves smelling fresh but also working towards optimal health, it’s best to do our homework when it comes to deodorant and antiperspirants. If we are simply sweating from physical activity, we generally will not produce an odor from expelling just electrolytes and water. Managing stress and eating healthy will also greatly lessen the need for any additional products. When necessary, spending the extra few dollars on a brand without chemical additives that has natural bacterial fighting agents will accomplish the goal and keep us warding off the nursing home for years to come.
- Levy, Jillian. “5 Natural Deodorant Remedies, Plus How to Make Your Own!” Dr. Axe, 15 Feb. 2018, https://draxe.com/health/natural-deodorant/.
- Integrative Nutrition. “A Guide to Natural Deodorants.” Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Integrative Nutrition, 17 Jan. 2018, https://www.integrativenutrition.com/blog/2018/01/a-guide-to-natural-deodorants.