Don’t Sweat It: A Guide to Choosing the Right Deodorant

Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC


During these warmer summer months, you likely are sure to apply deodorant before leaving the house. Most people use deodorant or antiperspirant to avoid having sweaty and stinky arm pits.  Is there a difference between these two products?  Usually people use the terms interchangeably.  But the truth is they work in very different ways. Deodorants, as the name might suggest, are made to curb odor, while antiperspirants, on the other hand, are created to decrease sweat.


Sweating is good for you.

Aluminum-based products, specifically, work by clogging sweat pores to reduce perspiration. Blocking sweat ducts alters natural perspiration.  This is problematic, though, because sweating is one of your body’s main methods for detoxification. Antiperspirants typically use aluminum in some form.  If you check the ingredients in any antiperspirant, you will probably find aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex or aluminum chlorohydrate. The aluminum in antiperspirant creates a temporary little plug in your armpit sweat glands, which is what keeps you from sweating.


Bacteria is the source of the stench.

Deodorant, on the other hand, provides the fragrance buffer that keeps you from smelling when you’re sweating. Deodorants are antibacterial.  It is actually the bacteria on the skin that causes the sweaty smell we all dread.  It is the combination of sweat and bacteria that produces body odor.


Here are the ingredients to avoid.

Most deodorants on the market are both deodorants and antiperspirants and contain ingredients that are not good for our bodies.  In general, some brands do contain chemicals, which can be harmful.  When shopping to purchase deodorant, here are some of the ingredients that you want to watch out for:


  • Parabens
  • Aluminum
  • P-dichlorobenzene
  • Phthalates
  • Artificial ingredients
  • Fragrance
  • Preservatives
  • Triclosan
  • Triclocarban


Natural deodorants are the way to go.

Natural deodorants don’t block your pores (antiperspirants do—that’s why you don’t sweat). They allow the good bacteria on your skin to work, helping to reduce odor, even when you’re not wearing deodorant. Natural deodorants help control the bacteria, therefore reducing (or eliminating) the stench. These deodorants with ingredients that are safer will only help stop the stink without any health risk. They won’t keep you completely dry, but perspiration is good. It’s how the body helps rid itself of toxins and regulates temperature. Sweat can actually be a sign of a healthy, in-balance body.  Make sure that the deodorant you are applying the best is option for your health and keeps you free of arm pit stains.


Know what to look for.

Since deodorant is something that people usually apply to their skin daily, you want to make sure that you are using a natural option.  With so many sprays, gels, roll-ons, seemingly endless scents, and tons of brands how do you pick?  It’s easy to be overwhelmed when choosing one and stressed about if it will give you the lasting sweat protection that you desire. Typical deodorants and antiperspirants are often made with ingredients that can increase the risk for things like skin issues, clogged pores, and may affect hormones.  Deodorant or antiperspirant is a must-have product for many, and it’s important to know which ingredients you may be exposed to and how they can affect your health.


Research your options.

Luckily these days there are many natural brands on the market.  Since more people are starting to pay attention to labels, and there’s now a wide range of organic and natural products free from potentially harmful ingredients. They are free of these harmful ingredients and are readily available at your local health food stores, even at some larger grocery retailers and certainly can be found online.  However, not all these natural deodorants work effectively for everyone.


Find the product that works for you.

Different all-natural alternatives seem to work differently on people.  You might need to try out some different brands to see which ones work the best for you.  Often these alternatives need to be applied more frequently then traditional deodorants and antiperspirants do.  The good news is when you are shopping for these and confused by ingredient labels you can check out the Environmental Working Group’s website (  It is a great resource when checking products’ labels.  They even have an app that you can download on your phone.

Kristen Barkley
Kristen Barkley
Kristen is a happily married mom to four beautiful and active children and is the co-founder of Marpé Wellness. She has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston and completed extensive coursework in the areas of nutrition and fitness. She is excited to be putting her education to use in an industry that she is passionate about where she can help others live a healthier and happier life.

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