How (and Why) I Stopped Using Deodorant

I don’t wear deodorant and haven’t for over fifteen years.

That doesn’t mean I don’t care about personal hygiene or that I don’t shower, I do!

The short of it is I became highly allergic to everything in my early 20s, which is what incited my first going underarm commando.

Prior to this time, I would spend oodles of money on fruity Bath and Body Works sprays, Nordstrom perfume, and flowery scented deodorants.

Back then, I didn’t associate the headaches or rashes with anything other than bad genetic luck.

What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?

Succinctly, deodorant works on smell, while antiperspirant works on smell AND sweat.

Common deodorant ingredients

As I used to use Secret, I thought it would be interesting to see what the ingredients are.

aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly (anhydrous) 15.0%, cyclopentasiloxane, stearyl alcohol, talc, mineral oil, dimethicone, hydrogenated castor oil, ppg-14 butyl ether, petrolatum, fragrance, behenyl alcohol

Not so attractive a list, I’d say.

Aluminum in particular has been linked to issues in breast tissue. When you consider where deodorant is applied, it makes sense that it would travel into the breast.

Many other brands of deodorant and antiperspirants also employ aluminum as the active ingredient, which is definitely not ideal if you’re dealing with any health issues.

It’s not ideal period!

Natural options

From Secret to the crystal stone deodorant I went!

At that time, the natural deodorant market was quite narrow.

Today, many companies are creating natural beauty products, including deodorants, so choices are far greater.

I recently purchased this Acure deodorant for my oldest daughter, and she’s done well with it.

There are also options on various ‘crunchy’ blogs for making your own deodorant! This deodorant recipe is a popular one.

Other natural alternatives include witch hazel, lemon juice, and coconut oil.

Advantages of going underarm commando!

Despite the natural options, at a certain point, I decided to go without anything.

With my sensitive skin, even the natural variety was bothering me, and I wanted to be as ‘clean’ and clear of outside influences as possible.

I did it cold turkey, and what I found in doing this was pretty cool.

I could smell myself!

Yes, you’re going to have a certain musk if you don’t wear deodorant. It’s not something that is necessarily off-putting, but rather your own combination of hormones, phermones, and bacteria.

I noticed my scent would change depending on various hormonal changes, as well as what food or supplements I took.

I know this sounds weird, but I would even notice that strong emotions changed my scent!

smell and phermones

Yet another reason for skipping deodorant altogether, particularly if you’re a woman.


Picture various, intangible molecules emitting from any person and interacting with other various, intangible molecules emitting from another person. That’s a preschool explanation of phermones.

Have you ever been attracted to someone’s ‘aura’ or being without even knowing them?

Chances are, there is some phermonal component to that attraction, which could include something visual, instinctual, or olfactory-driven.

For the record, my husband LOVES the way I smell, particularly after the gym. To me, this is clear indication of scent-driven attraction.

Long-term without any deodorant

I’m still going strong, and, like I stated initially, my husband has gone commando with me.

Sweating is GOOD for you! It’s one of your body’s ways of removing toxins, and it shouldn’t be stifled.

While there was an adjustment phase of removing deodorant from my daily routine, I believe the long-term benefits greatly outweigh any negatives.

Because deodorant affects the bacteria under our arms, it will ultimately affect your overall microbiome (for the better!) to make this switch. I say that to prepare you for the change, which may include smelling worse or just different for a while.

It all comes back to diet, people! If you’re eating well and digesting well, you will smell (relatively) good! At least, that’s my experience.

Further reading:

If celebrities interest you, here’s a list of the ones who have shunned deodorant and antiperspirant.

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