Does Natural Deodorant Really Work?

Most people want to stay fresh and clean-smelling throughout the day, making deodorant a common hygienic product found in many U.S. households. But some health experts worry about the chemicals used in deodorants, particularly aluminum, a common ingredient that can be absorbed by the body and potentially harmful in excess. In fact, aluminum has been linked to neurotoxicity, Alzheimer's disease, and certain forms of cancer in high amounts (via Medical News Today).

This has led some health-conscious individuals to reduce their daily exposure to aluminum by switching to a more natural deodorant. Because the aluminum in deodorant works by blocking the sweat ducts, removal of this ingredient means your body will sweat as it should naturally, according to Martha Stewart. Since natural deodorants don't actually prevent you from sweating, it may take a little getting used to. But should you worry about the smell of your sweat with these products?

Why the body smells when we sweat

While many people think that sweat causes body odor, bacteria are actually to blame, according to Cleveland Clinic. In fact, sweat on its own does not usually smell, but rather, it's the byproduct of bacteria breaking down acids within the sweat that cause an odor. Thus, tackling bacteria can often help with excess body odor. And if you're looking to go a more natural route, some deodorants can help your cause. 

If you look on the ingredient list of natural deodorants, you may see tea tree oil listed. Tea tree oil serves as an antibacterial ingredient that can help reduce odor-causing bacteria, according to Healthline. Additionally, other essential oils may be added in order to give your skin a pleasant smell. Things like lavender, citrus, and sandalwood are common replacements for more artificial kinds of scents that can help reduce the number of chemicals you put onto your body. So should you make the switch? Here are a few additional things to keep in mind.

Finding a natural approach that works for you

Since natural deodorants will not keep you from sweating as antiperspirants do, it can take a little trial and error when it comes to finding the one you like. It can also help to keep in mind that your underarms may be experiencing a bacterial shift when you switch to more natural products, which can last days or weeks (via Healthline).

All in all, natural deodorants can help provide a more natural solution to body odor. But if you find your product isn't working the way you hoped, there are additional measures you can take on your own. For instance, you can create your own deodorant concoction at home by combining coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot starch, and essential oils. Another consideration is diet, which also has the ability to impact body odor. By cutting down on foods like red meat, garlic, and onion, you can help improve your own natural scent, according to Healthline.