Chemical vs. Natural Deodorants (What You Need To Know)

Why use a men's natural deodorant? Are they better than chemical deodorants? Which is more effective at blocking odor? Are all chemical deodorants bad?

We get asked these questions a lot.

There's a lot of confusing and contradictory information out there and it's time to put the record straight.

In today's article, we're giving you the ins and outs of both options so you can make your own mind up - because after all, you're the only person who knows what's right for you.

Let's start from the top. A Chemical Deodorant is often alcohol based and targets bad odor with compounds like sodium stearate, stearyl alcohol, and sodium chloride. A natural deodorant targets bad odor with ingredients like Blue Cypress Oil, Peppermint Oil, Spearmint Leaf Oil and Lavender Oil.

Men's Chemical Deodorant: The Negatives

Alright, where to begin? First up, the aluminum in chemical deodorants causes those crispy yellow stains you get on your white shirts.

mens natural deodorant armpit stain

For years, we all thought that those were sweat stains. It's actually your sweat reacting with the aluminum. (And it's almost impossible to wash out!)

Chemical deodorants can also make your perspiration worse due to the bacteria build up in clogged pores. 

Some chemicals used in chemical deodorants can also cause allergic reactions. Many of us go through life not knowing we are allergic to something until it causes a reaction. This irritation can cause bumpy underarms, redness, swelling, itching and intense soreness.

Aluminum in Deodorant

Believe it or not, aluminum is used extensively in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. In antiperspirants, aluminum salts are used to prevent sweating. These salts dissolve into the pores of your skin blocking the sweat from escaping.

aluminum deodorant

Another worry of using antiperspirant with aluminum is understanding where all of that aluminum goes. Studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that frequent use of antiperspirants can cause aluminum to accumulate in your body tissue.

It can cause kidney problems and also lead to cause bone diseases or dementia. If you look on the back of any antiperspirant in the US it should contain a warning from the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) for people with kidney disease. 

Parabens in Deodorant

Another harmful chemical in deodorants and antiperspirants are parabens. Think of them as preservatives in prepackaged lunch meat and canned food.

Parabens are used to create a longer shelf life by preventing fungi, bacteria and yeast from growing on a range of products.

Along with deodorants, parabens are found in toothpastes and shampoos. Parabens can be absorbed by the skin and can often mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Estrogen can affect your endocrine system and lead to feminine-like characteristics such as — “chest enhancements.”

To be fair, for this change to happen, it would take years and years of prolonged usage. But — why take the risk?

Triclosan in Deodorant

Triclosan is another artificial ingredient found in deodorants. Used as an antibacterial ingredient, Triclosan is found in many deodorants, cosmetics and hand washes.

triclosan in deodorant

Some studies show that Triclosan disrupts the hormonal pattern in animals. The FDA states that Triclosan is a pesticide and has been banned in many consumer skin care products. 

Silica in Deodorant

Silica is another artificial ingredient used to absorb perspiration. It has been found to cause skin irritation including bright red spots and itchiness.

Silica is typically contaminated with crystalline quartz. Crystalline quartz is a carcinogen. In case you didn’t know, carcinogens promote carcinogenesis which leads to the formation of cancer.

Propylene Glycol in Deodorant

Propylene Glycol is a synthetic compound which is found in a lot of foods and also cosmetic products. This compound is also used to de-ice aircrafts in cold conditions.

airplane deicing men's natural deodorant

Something that thaws aircrafts doesn’t really seem like something that should be against your skin 7 days a week…

So What? — Why are These Artificial Compounds Bad?

While like many of these other artificial compounds and ingredients, it would take a whole lot of ingestion to be harmful. However, the question is whether this combination of substances could cause health issues.

For instance, Propylene Glycol is a penetration enhancer (this is how it helps to de-ice aircrafts). This combined with the harmful ingredients I previously mentioned could cause more of them to invade your body.

Men's Chemical Deodorant: The Positives

The biggest positive of chemical deodorant is how easy they are to find. You can go to any drug store or grocery store or market and find a huge selection of chemical deodorants.

mens deodorant on shelves

They have tons of options in different scents and strengths - at a wide range of low prices. This brings us to our second positive: they are cheap.

Another positive is that chemical deodorants will do a good job of blocking your sweat and bad odour.

The Alternative — Natural Deodorants

Now that you understand the pros and cons of chemical deodorants, it's time to give you some options.

There are tons of “freethinking” articles and blogs about how you should abandon deodorants entirely. To be at one with your natural odor and closer to your natural state-of-being.

stink smell man
Even if you can handle doing that to yourself, we wouldn’t recommend subjecting your family, friends and co-workers to your natural odors.

That’s just impolite. Instead, why not opt for a natural deodorant?

Now, I know what you’re thinking — “Natural deodorants don’t work.” We get it and to be fair some of the natural options are weak. It is important to find one that does work and is long lasting. 

For a natural deodorant to work - it needs ingredients which are shown to fight bad odor - not mask it. 

Men's Natural Deodorant: The Positives

First of all, they don't clog your pores. 

Leaving your pores unclogged allows your body to detoxify, releasing bacteria and chemicals like BPA though sweating. It helps decrease your body's internal temperature - keeping you cooler.

Another advantage of natural deodorants is the ingredients are... well, natural. You know what you're getting - nothing has been manufactured in a laboratory. The following are some natural ingredients that you should look for in your choice of natural deodorant.

  • White Tea Leaf Extract - Uses antioxidants to relieve stress to the skin, reinvigorating it to look younger and shield it from damage.
  • Aloe Vera Leaf Juice - A hydrating substance that helps to heal the skin and combat irritation. It also serves as an antioxidant source that helps protect the skin.
  • Chitosan Lactic Acid - A healing accelerant that can reverse the damage on skin tissues.
  • Blue Cypress Oil - Antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-depressive. This potent oil makes an excellent skin treatment that can go so far as to prevent warts.
  • Peppermint Oil - A natural antiseptic that cleanses the skin. It produces the same cooling sensation that alcohol does without the defects.
  • Spearmint Leaf Oil - It soothes skin problems, reduces headaches, and prevents nausea. It also alleviates respiratory issues and cold symptoms.
  • Lavender Oil - Kills bacteria, reduces irritation, and unclogs pores. You can't beat it!
  • Eucalyptus Leaf Oil - An effective solution for men with overly-dry skin by increasing its Ceramide intake. Ceramides are a fatty acid responsible for keeping your skin moisturized.

Another advantage is natural deodorants are a "greener" product - aka better for the environment. After all, we only have one Earth we can all do our part to make it better.

man in wild natural mens deodorant

Natural deodorants also don't leave those pesky yellow stains on your shirts. This will save you money and prevent you from having to wear an undershirt as much.

A final advantage of a natural deodorant is that they are typically made with high quality. Sure - the product might cost a little more but is saving a few bucks really worth risking your health? 

Men's Natural Deodorant: The Negatives

Now, there are negatives to natural deodorants. While they aren't as serious as the negatives with chemical deodorants, they are worth understanding and knowing. Natural deodorants don't control sweating like chemical deodorants do since the ingredients don't block your pores.

man sweating intensely Don't stress! Once your body adjusts to the natural deodorant your sweat levels will normalize. 

Another negative of natural deodorant is that they may not have the same powerful odor-stopping strength as chemical formulations. This due to using natural ingredients. Artificial ingredients can increase the scent of your deodorant.

Natural deodorants do have a bit of an adjustment time to them as well. Your body will take some time to adjust to the natural ingredients and release the buildup from standard deodorant.

It normally only takes around a week for this adjustment to occur. In this time, it may seem like the natural deodorant is not working. Don't worry though, it will.

The price of natural deodorants is often higher than standard deodorants. This is mainly because the ingredients are more costly to source as they are better.

man-with-money-bagThe money you will invest in a higher quality deodorant will be worth it, unless you like risking your health to save a buck...

Natural deodorants are not mass produced. This also increases the price. The extra you pay is worth it in our opinion. Not only are you getting better ingredients, you are getting a better made product as well.

A last issue is that natural deodorants can be messy because of their eco-friendly packaging and plant-based ingredients.

Chemical vs. Natural Deodorant - Summary

Now that you know the pros and cons of chemical and natural deodorant, what are you going to choose?

The choice is ultimately yours.

If you want to try a long lasting natural deodorant (that actually works!) check out our Natural Body Spray - Ocean Spearmint.

It won't give you painful, stinging underarm rashes, it doesn't block your pores like an anti perspirant and it won't leave your shirts stained and crispy at the end of the day.

Ocean Spearmint kills bad odor with unique, powerful natural ingredients like Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Chitosan, and Lactic Acid. Click here to learn more.