No Sweat: A Review of Natural Deodorants - Public Goods

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No Sweat: A Review of Natural Deodorants

There is a trend toward natural products that don’t include potentially harmful ingredients, and deodorant is no exception.

open natural deodorant container

The skin can absorb these chemicals and allow them to enter your bloodstream, especially when you are rubbing the substance in your armpits.

Different chemicals have different absorption rates. Some chemicals even work to help others enter the bloodstream through skin by breaking them down so they are small enough to absorb. There are also chemicals that act as a barrier between the skin and bloodstream, blocking other chemicals from being absorbed.

Regardless of all of that, not everyone has the same chemical makeup, which makes it difficult to definitively determine absorption rates. That issue makes it all the more important that we’re putting good things on and in our bodies.

Deodorant is one of the many products people apply daily, which makes it a top source of potential chemical absorption. Leading brands, such as Toms and Dr. Schmidts, each have their own natural deodorant lines that range from unscented to a bouquet of aromas that allay body odor without harmful ingredients.

Yuko Hara, Ph.D., Director of Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, notes that aluminum — a chemical in antiperspirants that blocks sweat glands to decrease perspiration and minimize body odor — is a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. Although the studies of the link between deodorant use and these diseases are not entirely conclusive, the fear has been enough to drive people toward natural alternatives.

As mentioned in my last deodorant article, I tried Public Goods’ natural deodorant for a couple of weeks. Formulated with carefully-considered, high-quality, natural and healthy ingredients, the Public Goods deodorant had a slight citrus scent that transferred nicely to my armpits. The deodorant stick had a sort of gel-like quality that allowed it to glide smoothly onto my skin and to create a thick layer of odor protection. The scent dissipated throughout the day, and my sweat output was not affected as is the case with deodorant. As my body acclimated to the deodorant’s formula, I noticed a sort of neutralization of body odor, leaving me nearly without a scent, which is a win in my book.

The Dr. Schmidt’s deodorant I chose for comparison was infused with charcoal, effectively incorporating my previous article on the substance. The stick is black, like most charcoal products, and has a sort of gritty consistency. It is enriched with magnesium and sodium bicarbonate, mineral-derived ingredients that can be a natural substitute for aluminum.

According to the directions, you have to hold it to the skin of your armpit for a few seconds then glide it on. The heat from your body should loosen the grit of the stick, allowing it to slide with relative ease.

The scent is supposed to be reminiscent of freshly fallen rain, according to the Dr. Schmidt’s website; I found it difficult to describe but solidly pleasant. I could still smell it as I put on my clothes, and it covered whatever body odor I had.

The last deodorant I tried was the Tom’s Long Lasting Deodorant in Wild Lavender. It has an intriguing lavender scent I didn’t particularly like and a somewhat clear stick with yellow undertones. This deodorant is also aluminum-free and uses odor-fighting hops to help keep you feeling fresh throughout the day.

The stick glides on smoothly with a sheer application, but the lavender scent was a bit off putting to me. Although the fragrance masked my body odor, I still didn’t particularly like the way I smelled.

Interestingly enough, every time I switched deodorants I experienced a pungent period I had to overcome before really considering the efficacy of the product. It caused a lot of discomfort, but it also allowed for a greater comparison.

Each deodorant was able to remedy the increase in body odor effectively, so it was their scents that really made the difference to me. After years of using just any old deodorant, I have found that natural alternatives can actually get the job done without the potential of harm. The transition period may be rough, but the benefits are definitely worth it. Regular deodorant might not in fact cause harmful chemicals to absorb into your bloodstream, but as the saying goes, better safe than sorry!

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Comments (3)

  • Do you know if the Public Goods deodorant is the same formula as the Morgans deodorant? The Morgans stuff irritated my underarms. Just curious if I should give it another try.

    • Hi Tim,

      I’m afraid they are the same, so the Public Goods one would most likely irritate your armpits as well. I will let our product team know about the problem. Maybe some day they can reformulate it.

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