You’ve made a good decision: ridding your armpits of aluminium salts. You’ve even found your new natural deodorant (hint, hint, it’s called Keep Cool). Great idea! But the problem with aluminium salts is that they’re addictive. For our body and for our minds. Basically, although we know that they’re harmful, it’s not always easy to avoid them… Here are a few tips to help ease your transition from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant.
Danger! Aluminium salts!
To dissuade you from reverting to an antiperspirant, let’s start with a little reminder: aluminium brings nothing to our bodies and is toxic to a certain extent that remains unclear. What we do know is: it’s dangerous in cases of kidney, liver or breathing difficulties, and accused of the development of some neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimers or Parkinsons), bone disease, diabetes, intestinal inflammatory illnesses and certain cancers, particularly breast cancer. And there’s no lack of sources of aluminium. Being the 3rd most abundant element of the earth’s surface, therefore present in the ground and in the water, naturally, our diet is filled with them. And what’s more is that we go on to add in preservatives, colouring agents, water treatment products, food containers and utensils, anti-acid medicines, dental fillings, and, of course, our skincare products. Particularly, deodorants and antiperspirants. In small doses, these aluminium salts aren’t too harmful, but with daily use, their quantity accumulates and ends up being a lot! And our body is not capable of getting rid of them completely. The result: they stay in place and accumulate around our organs.
The situation with deodorants and antiperspirants is particularly alarming: they contain aluminium in the form of salts that are small enough to get through the skin’s barrier and apply themselves to the armpits, a key area of our lymphatic system, to the fine skin which is often made even more permeable by shaving. A real highway for aluminium salts!
Antiperspirants: useless and harmful
So why are they still so widely used? Because they’re inexpensive and they have no real competition in terms of effectiveness. Being astringent, they dramatically reduce our sweat production and, being capable of taking in water, they absorb any sweat that is produced. Is this worth running the risk?
Of course not! Antiperspirants are fighting the wrong battle: sweat is not an enemy that you have to eradicate! Firstly, it doesn’t smell bad in and of itself: the undesirable odours come from the bacteria that multiplies around it. It is even essential for our health. When we sweat, our body regulates its temperature and gets rid of toxins that are harmful to its functioning. Preventing your body from sweating means you accumulate all of this waste just in order to avoid having sweat marks under your arms. What is most ironic is that it’s by sweating that our body gets rid of most of its aluminium.
And that’s not all: do you know how aluminium salts work? They create a slight inflammation which encourages the skin to defend itself by thickening. This is what shrinks your pores, creating a sort of barrier which prevents sweat from escaping. That’s right, we voluntarily aggravate our skin and block our pores.
Ouch – clogged pores and the inflammation of your sweat glands are looming… But it’s not too late to prevent all of this!
I’m giving up aluminium salts: what should I expect?
This noble act is not always easy because of a number of fears which aren’t always justified… Let’s separate the true from the false.
First of all, did you know that you can count on a (good) natural deodorant? It will neutralise the production of bad smells by regulating bacteria multiplication, possibly lightly perfuming your underarms but in no way blocking your sweat. It can, however, absorb the excess sweat thanks to natural powders and lightly regulate it with gently astringent oils or hydrolats. And that’s really good.
Yes, you’re going to sweat. While your body adjusts and regulates, you might even notice a slight overproduction of sweat. But, especially, you’ll rediscover how we naturally produce about a litre of sweat per day or more, depending on our activities or the weather… And you might have forgotten how this feels under your arms. Your body has to re-learn how to function and you’ll get used to its natural function.
But no, you’re not (necessarily) going to smell bad. Honestly, this is a possibility. But it’s in no way a rite of passage. It’s extremely subjective and temporary: you’ll have to get used to your natural odour and get back into good habits to best manage your sweating. However, your body can sometimes pass through a detox phase to get rid of the chemical substances accumulated under your arms every day by your previous deodorant. At the top of the priorities list are those containing aluminium salts. If you have been using them for years, your body will need to unblock the clogged pores to allow your skin to give it back its natural detoxifying role and get rid of everything it has stocked up. It is also possible that during this phase you feel some irritation under your armpits. This is not the fault of your new deodorant (providing it’s well-formulated) but rather that of the chemical substances, like aluminium salt, that your body is going to expel.
The best way to get through this period? Your body knows what it’s doing, trust it. It’s just a question of time, which is helped by a healthy and effective deodorant like our Keep Cool. But nothing is stopping you from giving your skin a little helping hand by adopting a few good habits… Read on.
Help your body kick out aluminium salts
To help your skin in the best way possible, it is essential to use products that are as gentle and respectful: carefully choosing your soap and deodorant.
Be sure to adopt a gentle and thorough routine: clean your armpits at least in the morning and evening. Gently but effectively: choose a sulfate-free soap to avoid any risk of irritation, gentle and rich in natural active ingredients to soothe and balance out your skin that has been aggressed by aluminium salts. A superfatted cold-saponified soap that is rich in anti-inflammatory and balancing plant oils like our Soap Rise is perfect to help with cell renewal and cleaning your underarms. Perhaps opt for the unscented version during the transition phase. Massage it in gently and, if you don’t shave, take special care to ensure you rinse well. Finally, dry yourself thoroughly by dabbing yourself down before applying your deodorant. You want to avoid creating a humid and warm environment where bacteria can grow easily.
But don’t use too much! The internet is overflowing with recipes for masks for your armpits, generally made of clay. But they’re also made up of cider vinegar and essential oils which run the risks of irritation on weakened skin, particularly if you have sensitive or eczema-prone skin. And once blemishes appear on this area, good luck getting rid of them… Most importantly, don’t heed the advice of mechanical exfoliation – you’ll only end up sanding down your skin, that is already fragile. On the contrary, your armpits need softness and strengthening to get through this difficult period.
This is why choosing the right new deodorant is essential. Natural, gentle, enriched with soothing active ingredients – plant oils and butters, hydrolats – which will help you get through without any unwanted odours, by calming and strengthening your skin. If your armpits are particularly irritated by aluminium salts, choose one that is free from essential oils. But don’t go overboard either, a layer that’s three times as thick doesn’t make it 3 times as effective. On the other hand, this will create areas that will favour bacteria multiplication and therefore cause odours to appear. Uh oh! Instead, if you feel the need to, during the transition period, don’t hesitate to re-apply it during the day… If and only if your deodorant really is 100% natural and free from irritant components.
Finally, getting your lifestyle in order can be a great help. You sweat out what you eat! Drink enough water, limit certain products which encourage excess sweating or bad odours (alcohol, caffeine, garlic, spices, meats), and instead go for choices which, with draining properties, help us to relieve our bodies of toxins: green vegetables, citrus fruits, coriander, parsley… Brocolli, in particular, has strong detoxifying powers. Also, be considered in your choices of clothes. Loose and breathable, made from natural materials, they’ll allow your skin to breathe and will limit the spreading of bacteria. In addition, anything that can help you to manage your stress levels, a frequent cause of excess sweating, is good to do: meditation, relaxation, yoga…
Be careful, if you think that your sweat levels remains excessive outside of physical exercise and/or is very strong smelling, try to consult a specialist to try and identify the reasons why. The use of an antiperspirant might be able to mask the symptoms of a problem (another reason why using them is a bad idea!). But otherwise, what you experience to be an insurmountable problem might actually come and go within the space of a few days, two weeks tops. It’s even possible that you won’t notice the difference and can easily readjust to living in harmony with your sweat. In other words, with your body. In any case, what is certain is your health will come out on top!
This post is also available in french.