After weeks of careful late-night research, you’ve officially decided to ditch your commercial underarm products to take a walk on the wild side. Soon gone are the days of aluminum and hard to pronounce chemicals; you’re here for the natural goodness that is baking soda, arrowroot, and coconut oil. Let’s face it, you’ve been wanting to tell your old deodorant or antiperspirant to take a hike for a while now, but have had cold feet when it’s come down to making a clean break.
You’ve read a lot about the transition period when switching to a natural deodorant, and part of you wondered if maybe it was just worth staying in your current underarm relationship. We assure you, it’s not. After applying questionable ingredients to your pits year after year, it’s only natural that the area is going to need a bit of time to readjust to its newer, happier climate. The best way to begin your transitional journey to “au naturale” underarms? Practice patience and know what to expect!
What Causes Body Odor
Quick fun fact: Sweat doesn’t stink, it’s the interaction between our sweat and bacteria housed in our underarms that causes an odor. Studies have shown that those who use antiperspirants have a greater number of bacterial species living in their underarms, and the higher the diversity of bacteria, the stronger the odor. If you were applying a commercial antiperspirant, you were using chemicals to prevent yourself from sweating (not normal!). When you switch to a natural deodorant, you’re no longer preventing yourself from sweating (very normal!), but this may lead to a temporary increase in sweat production and change in underarm odor.
Why you ask? When you discontinue the use of your old commercial deodorant or antiperspirant and switch to a natural deodorant, the bacterial population under your arms begin to change and your pits must rebalance to their new “normal” environment. But, have no fear! This is normal, natural, and won’t last forever, so after day two don’t assume your natural deodorant isn’t doing the trick and over apply or throw in the towel.
The Transition Period
Depending on your body chemistry (and everyone’s is different) it may take several days to several weeks for your armpits to readjust, but most people experience no transition period at all. For those who do, however, researchers have found that some of the ingredients in commercial deodorants and antiperspirants can persist in the underarm for up to three to four weeks after discontinuing use, and will only disappear completely once your skin completely renews with normal skin cell turnover (about four weeks). On top of that, our bodies view change as a disruption and often resist it at all costs, so patience is key. Once this process has occurred and your pits have adjusted to their new norm, all should go back to normal. Which brings us to…
And your high school Chem class! The outside of the human body (aka the skin) has a pH value that ranges from 4.5 to 5. Our deodorants are made with baking soda to create a higher pH environment that does not support a high diversity of bacteria. This change in pH, however, may bring with it some degree of skin irritation.
Most people don’t experience a prolonged transition period when adjusting to our baking soda-based deodorant and its pH value, however if you do, it may be that your skin isn’t compatible with a baking soda based natural deodorant.
Instead of immediately switching from old to new, consider giving your pits a few days of much-needed vacation and skip any and all deodorant application. It may stink (literally) but it will make the process of going all-natural that much smoother and more enjoyable.
When it comes time to start using your trusty natural deodorant, remember that a little goes a long way. You don’t need much to smell and stay fresh and clean, so to help avoid possible irritation and ease your way into your transition, gently apply 1-2 light swipes to your freshly clean and dried underarms and then get ready for whatever adventure awaits. Our natural deodorants even come with an “instructions for use” card as well to help make your transition that much easier! We’ve got your back.