Sweat is a natural body function, but it can also be a sticky, unpleasant-smelling nuisance. Antiperspirants or deodorants mitigate these downsides. And although they’re often used interchangeably, the two are not the same. Actually, they can serve completely different purposes.
For starters, antiperspirants contain a synthetic compound called aluminum salts that temporarily blocks sweat glands. This stops us from sweating, which keeps odor-causing bacteria at bay. While these aluminum salts may help prevent body odor, it does so at a cost to us.
Deodorants, on the other hand, control the body odor associated with sweating and help us maintain freshness. They create a more acidic environment on your skin, which decreases the bacteria that leads to odor. Like antiperspirants, the ingredients can include chemicals which aren’t optimal for us.
Here's good news, though. You can banish underarm odor without aluminum and other harsh chemicals. Many natural alternatives, like aluminum-free deodorant, exist to help us avoid unsafe ingredients.
The Difference Between Antiperspirant and Aluminum-Free Deodorant
Classic antiperspirants use finely-ground aluminum (yes, like the foil!) to form a paste. Once applied, our body heat and moisture emulsify the mixture. As the underarm area dries, the sweat gland absorbs this mixture and forms a physical plug to keep sweat from escaping. While effective, recent research suggests that too much aluminum can have adverse health effects.
Given this, it’s not surprising that more people are seeking aluminum-free antiperspirants. But because antiperspirant formulas rely on aluminum to block sweat glands, they can't exist without that key ingredient.
Aluminum-free deodorants, however, are gaining popularity. Better known as natural deodorants, they are designed to minimize, neutralize, and mask underarm odor. Because they forego the no-sweat guarantee, aluminum-free deodorants are generally safe alternatives. Think of them as the anti-antiperspirant.
However, many conventional deodorants are still made with harsh chemicals that can cause irritation. Chemicals like sulfates, which strip moisture and oils from skin; fragrances that can cause reactions; estrogen mimickers called parabens; and pore-clogging metals.
Finally, the most intentional deodorant formulas nix both aluminum and other potentially harmful chemicals.
Talk about information overload. And with so much of it conflicting, it can be hard to know if switching to an aluminum-free deodorant is right for you. So let’s make it easy to understand.
How Does Aluminum-Free Deodorant Work?
Sweat is a natural body function designed to keep us cool. While sweat itself is virtually odorless, it's the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This is what leads to body odor.
Aluminum-free deodorants contain specific ingredients that make your underarms less hospitable to icky bacteria. By reducing the number of bacteria, they reduce the source of the odor.
Beyond their bacteria-banishing properties, most aluminum-free deodorants also contain gentle fragrances that help neutralize and mask odor with a fresh, clean-smelling scent.
Sometimes, they’ll use baking soda or similar ingredients to help absorb wetness. These safe alternatives stop odor by attacking the bacteria that live in your armpits and using natural ingredients to keep you dry and smelling your best.
Benefits Of Using Aluminum-Free Deodorant
While switching to an antiperspirant without aluminum isn’t an option, we highly recommend natural deodorant for its range of benefits. If you’ve been using an aluminum-based antiperspirant until now, it may take your body some time to adjust. After that, you can expect the following benefits:
Kinder To Skin
If you're prone to rashes and inflammation, switching to an aluminum-free deodorant could bring you some much-needed relief. A recent study suggested that antiperspirants—but not deodorants—negatively affect the human microbiome, the naturally-occurring microbes that keep our skin healthy. Needless to say, switching to an aluminum-free deodorant could be your first step toward irritation-free skin and armpits.
If you’ve ever found dark or yellow stains on your shirts, you have aluminum to thank. When aluminum in antiperspirant mixes with our sweat, it can rub off onto our clothing. Over time, it leaves behind stains that are nearly impossible to get rid of. With aluminum-free deodorant, you can avoid those unsightly stains completely.
No Harsh Chemicals
As discerning consumers, we grow more ingredient-conscious by the day. And as we begin to swap our everyday products for clean ones, this naturally extends to our deodorant choice. Switching to an aluminum-free deodorant is one more intentional way to avoid harsh chemicals both on your body and in the environment. Ultimately the choice is yours, but we can’t find a reason not to give it a try.
Give Aluminum-Free Deodorant A Chance
Still not convinced? Trust us, odor and sweat are no match for clean ingredients. In fact, natural chemical-free deodorants work overtime to help fight odor-causing bacteria while also soothing your skin.
We suggest trying aluminum-free deodorant for a few weeks. During this period, your body will expel all of the aluminum stored in your sweat glands from years of antiperspirant use. Think of it as an aluminum detox.
You can try the Rio Deo Aluminum-Free Deodorant. Its 98% naturally derived formula works with your body’s natural rhythms to lower the skin’s pH and naturally prevent the bacteria that cause odors to form. It will also help even the skin tone and fight ingrown hairs. It softens skin, underarm hair and stubble. In a blind study, consumers reported that Rio Deo specifically does not leave white residue or oil stains on clothing.
If you’re considering the switch, be patient with your body. Your skin will need time to adjust to the absence of sweat-blocking aluminum from your previous antiperspirant. If you stick with it, you'll be rewarded by the full benefits of aluminum-free deodorant.