While antiperspirants, deodorants and natural deodorants all have the same objective, the paths they walk to get there can vary dramatically.
At the end of APHA.LAB's long journey of education, research and trials, we’re advocates for natural deodorant. We do appreciate however, that the reasons, values and privileges that led us to our conclusion might not resonate with, or be accessible to, everyone. A case could be made for each category, so we'd like to outline the differences in this article.
Fuelled with the right information, we hope that you will have the confidence to choose which is right for you – but also understand why this might be different for someone else.
As the name suggests, the aim of the game is to stop you perspiring.
Unpleasant body odour is the result of bacteria on your skin eating, and essentially breaking down, your sweat. You are covered in millions of bacterial microbes that play a vital role in your overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, there are some colonies that have their own agenda and a disproportionate amount of any of them can result in some heavy-duty pong.
Antiperspirants operate by plugging your sweat glands (usually with aluminium) in an attempt to prevent this interaction from occurring; stop the sweat and the microbes have nothing to eat.
People turn to antiperspirants for a number of reasons. Stress, for example, is a significant catalyst for BO inducing perspiration. It can also send some people into a negative cycle, where the sweat induced by stress, causes more stress, which causes more sweat and so on.
Those with sweat associated medical conditions may also turn to antiperspirants for support. Around 2-3% of the population suffer from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), with many using a suite of treatment methods, including antiperspirants.
They also tend to be the most widely available and most economical.
Since the funky BO smell is a result of bacteria breaking down the fats and proteins in your sweat, deodorants ‘de-odorise’ by killing the bacteria.
Deodorants use ingredients such as triclosan to turn your arm pits into a hostile playground; basically too salty or acidic to accommodate natural bacteria colonies. The issue is that once you get rid of one set of bad tenants, the next lot are probably going to be worse.
Most commercially produced deodorants are actually an antiperspirant/deodorant combo. Aluminium based products have garnered some bad publicity over the years, with supposed links to breast cancer due to the proximity of the application area. It is suggested that the aluminium may be absorbed by the skin and have oestrogen-like effects on the area. As oestrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have called this out as a potential issue.
There are, however, yet to be any studies that have conclusively confirmed any substantial adverse effects of aluminium that could contribute to increased breast cancer risks.
Natural deodorant uses only natural ingredients in its efforts to combat undesirable body odour. As they don’t contain antiperspirant attributes, like most commercial deodorants do, another benefit is that they allow your body to breath and perspire as it naturally would.
The philosophy behind a lot of natural deodorants is to work with your body, not against it.
Most natural deodorants vary in their ingredients and application. As our skin types are all fabulously distinct, you may need to try a few natural deodorants before you find the one that works best for you – or you might find it on your first go.
APHA.LAB’s unique, hard-gel stick is tailored towards sensitive skin. We are biased, but think it’s the smoothest and most enjoyable application going around, keeping you fighting fit and feeling fresh.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: If you decide to make the transition to natural deodorant after a long period of using commercial products, you should be warned that there is a grieving period. Your body needs time to adjust and reintroduce normal levels and species of bacteria; don’t give up! You can minimise this period by starting with fresh, clean pits.
We recommend simply wiping your pits with apple cider vinegar (use a clean cloth), before a good shower.