Is Antiperspirant Bad For Me?

There has been a lot of discussion about antiperspirants in the press, so you may be wondering “is antiperspirant is bad for me?”

Firstly, this question comes with many answers. What one person sees as ‘bad’ another will see as completely acceptable. We’ve looked at some really interesting research into the long term implications of antiperspirant, so you can decide for yourself!

Making the Switch from Antiperspirant

When it comes to your beauty regime, making the switch can be hard. Yes, you care about the ingredients you’re putting on your skin, but spending the day worrying about body odour is stressful, embarrassing and disempowering.

You’re worried about the effectiveness of natural deodorant, and you’re in two minds about making the switch. We get it! We think our natural deodorant is amazing, but we know that there is a lot of conflicting information. So we want to clear the air. Ahem.

Most of us grew up using antiperspirant to combat body odour, but in the long run, could it actually make you smell worse?

Is Antiperspirant Band For Me?
Healthy Underarms

The “Rainforest” of Bacteria Under the Arms

First, a little science lesson. So grab a slightly-too-high stool, stop fiddling with the bunsen burner, and pay attention.

Our skin is home to an abundance of bacteria and armpits have been described by scientists as a “rainforest” of bacteria (which is a good thing!). Just as we need the right mix of bacteria in our gut to help our digestion, we need the right combination of bacteria to keep our skin healthy too.

As Julia Segre, of the National Human Genome Research Institute says, we should, of course, be thinking about sanitation, but we should steer clear of sterilisation. By trying to banish bacteria entirely with ever stronger antiperspirants and strong soaps we could be doing more harm than good. With this in mind, an underarm product that respects that natural skin balance is the way to ensure healthy pits.

This is what happens after using antiperspirant

After using antiperspirant, underarm bacteria “completely rearranges” according to research.

Antiperspirant stops you from sweating, but because your body is already trying to maintain its own delicate balance of bacteria, this can have far-reaching implications. 

Julie Horvath from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences wanted to find out how using antiperspirant affected the bacteria that grew on underarm skin.

“We wanted to understand what effect antiperspirant and deodorant have on the microbial life that lives on our bodies, and how our daily habits influence the life that lives on us” 


Her researchers recruited 17 people who fit into one of three categories: people who wore antiperspirant, people who wore deodorant and people who abstained from underarm products altogether. For eight days, they swabbed their armpits around lunchtime.

Interestingly but not surprisingly, the types of bacteria found on the swabs varied hugely based on the product worn.

Horvath wants to see more research on this topic.

“Using antiperspirant and deodorant completely rearranges the microbial ecosystem of your skin – what’s living on us and in what amounts,” Horvath says. “And we have no idea what effect, if any, that has on our skin and on our health. Is it beneficial? Is it detrimental? We really don’t know at this point. Those are questions that we’re potentially interested in exploring.”

Whilst ingredients such as ethanol (alcohol) and aluminium are clearly effective at wiping out all bacteria and preventing sweat from leaving the body, is this really what we should be doing? We understand that a delicate balance of bacteria is essential for health on other parts of our bodies…why would our underarms be any different?

It Won’t Last Forever

But what about the worrying stories you’ve heard so much about?

Does natural deodorant really make you smell? Of course not.

What this research proves is that switching from one underarm product to another simply disrupts the bacteria living in your pits. Luckily the majority of our customers report a seamless switch with no breakthrough body odour at all, so we can conclude that our bacteria-busting deodorant balms are powerful enough to stamp it out. And remember, it’s not a ‘detox’, it’s just a bacteria reshuffle 🙂

So, if you are an antiperspirant user Hoping to make the switch to natural deodorant, it is important to know that any odour-causing bacteria won’t last forever, it is just a part of the process when you change products.

You can rest assured that, once your personal “rainforest” has had some time to readjust, the only thing you’ll be smelling is FRESH. Confidence awaits: science says so!

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