Deodorants and antiperspirant are widely used to avoid the bad smell from the armpits. We use them every day, even though a research has shown that 80% of all people genetically do not need deodorants and antiperspirant. When we sweat a lot we smell because of the armpit bacteria that makes the sweat stinky- the sweat itself does not have any smell. These bacteria break down the amino acids and lipids from the sweat and turn them into a substance that leaves an unpleasant odor.
Using deodorants and antiperspirants often has negative side effects.
The armpit as an ecosystem
The armpit, like the gut, has beneficial bacteria that live there, which can be destabilize by some foods or antibiotics. When this happens, bad microbes take charge and destroy the good bacteria. We need to maintain balance, just like with every other ecosystem.
The smell is not the only problem
These microbes are connected to the whole body- our digestion, mood or attention can influence the microbial world.
These tips will help you work with your microbiome:
- Don`t use aluminum: it obstructs sweating and it causes other health problems, that is why many natural companies sell aluminum free products.
- Parabens and triclosan: strong antibacterial agents with the worse effect on the armpit microbiome, because they destroy the beneficial bacteria
- Labels check: even though crystal deodorants are being sold as aluminum free, they still contain alum in the form of potassium aluminum sulfate. So they are not 100% aluminum free, but are still a better choice than other antiperspirants.
- Use mild soaps: most of the soaps contain strong surfactants like SLS or SDS, which stop the production of protective sebum rich in fats good for the skin. Milder soaps create better environment for the good bacteria.