Natural Alternatives to Antiperspirants
If you regularly apply an antiperspirant to your underarm areas, you might wonder about the effects the product could have on your health. The active ingredient in most antiperspirants in an aluminum-based compound that works by temporarily blocking sweat ducts. Many antiperspirants also include a deodorant, which is a fragrance designed to help mask odors that occur when bacteria break down sweat on the skin.
To some people, the idea of aluminum being “absorbed” by the body is troubling. But, that’s not how antiperspirants work. Instead, when the aluminum ingredient comes into contact with the water in sweat, a chemical reaction occurs. This causes physical plugs to form, which are temporarily deposited into the sweat glands under the arms. As a result, the amount of sweat that reaches the skin’s surface is reduced.
Over the years, antiperspirants have been the subject of numerous scientific studies. To date, researchers have found no conclusive evidence that aluminum or any other ingredient poses a health risk, and many experts maintain that these products can be used with a high level of confidence in their safety. Even so, rumors persist about the role antiperspirants can play in the development of serious health conditions, including breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney disease. This is partly due to the fact that people often search for – and need – concrete answers when they or a family member develops one of these complex conditions. Additionally, the Internet provides a medium for misinformation to spread easily and widely.
While you needn’t be concerned if you use a typical antiperspirant product, you might still be interested in trying a natural alternative for environmental, economic, or other reasons. Maybe you’d simply like to cut down on your over-zealous cleansing routine and smell more like yourself.
There are several gentle deodorants on the market that are designed to work by neutralizing smells and destroying odor-causing bacteria, instead of blocking sweat. Here are some ingredients to look for (you can also make your own formula):
- Tea tree oil
- Witch hazel
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice or lemon peel
After exploring a few of these options, you might find that you don’t even need to wear a traditional antiperspirant – at least not on a daily basis.
If you have questions about antiperspirant use or any other health-related topic, you are welcome to chat with the medical professionals at South Tampa Immediate Care – and you don’t need an appointment to do so.