Confession: I stopped wearing deodorant years ago. I’ve been working from home since I became a wellness writer in 2017 and without having to go to an office every day, I ditched things like bras, makeup, and deodorant. I figured why not give my body a break from all of these products it probably doesn’t even really need in the first place?
Now, don’t worry. I still wear deodorant when I’m going out for activities, dates, or plans with friends — but when it comes to my everyday life and routine, I skip the D.O. and embrace that B.O. Here’s why you may want to stop wearing deodorant altogether.
Why I stopped wearing deodorant
TBH, the main reason why I stopped wearing deodorant was that I was WFH by myself. I honestly didn’t even consider the health consequences of wearing traditional deodorant, but I knew aluminum was always an ingredient to potentially be avoided — and for good reason.
“Aluminum has been the defendant in far too many arguments linking it with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders as well as possibly contributing to reduced kidney function and allowing unsafe levels to build up in the body if the kidneys are unable to process it,” explains Dana Gallik, functional medicine nurse practitioner and owner of two functional medicine businesses that help people through their health struggles.
Other ingredients commonly found in deodorants are parabens, phthalates, and propylene glycol. These may contribute to health and reproductive problems, says Gallik. (Yikes!)
Additionally, many deodorants are also antiperspirants. The body is designed to eliminate toxins and one of the ways it does this is via sweat. “If we inhibit sweating we are essentially making the body holds onto its toxic waste,” says Gallik.
What about natural deodorant?
Okay, but what about natural deodorant? Isn’t natural deodorant supposed to be better for you and your health?
Gallik says natural deodorants are a great alternative for those who are a little shy about skipping out altogether. However, they’re not all treated the same. Gallik cautions giving more than one natural deodorant a chance before giving up on minimizing toxin transmission via the underarm.
It’s important to note that many natural deodorants contain baking soda, which may not be the best long-term option for those with sensitive skin. If that’s the case, you may even consider making a homemade blend instead. DIY natural deodorant party, anyone?
Benefits when you stop wearing deodorant
When you stop wearing deodorant, Gallik says you promote detoxification, you minimize the toxins that you’re exposing your body to, and potentially the risk of cancer, cognitive decline, hormonal imbalances, and kidney disease. Ummm, time to ditch the deodorant then, right?
Tips for if you decide to stop wearing deodorant
If you’re looking to stop using deodorant, Gallik recommends not going cold turkey. (Whoops! This is something I did.)
Reason being? “You will stink and find yourself going back to using deodorant because it is just not worth the smell,” she says. “[Instead], taper down, maybe apply deodorant every other day at first. Use deep cleansing methods to detox your underarms while transitioning.”
There are several methods to do this including the use of apple cider vinegar, bentonite clay, charcoal, lemon, and other recipes. Gallik mentions that you’ll eventually find that if you detox your underarms, you won’t feel like you need such a strong deodorant.
The bottom line: “Switch to natural deodorant as a transition point or permanently, but any reduction in chemicals is a step in the right direction,” says Gallik. “Consider homemade deodorant recipes and try a few out. It is a process but worth it.”