Smelling Good, Naturally

Why natural deodorants and perfumes are ideal for your customers.

Written By:
Ash Sukumar
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The dynamic era in which we live demands that people be on the run, constantly. So, it is important for your customers to smell good and stay fresh throughout the whole day. What better way to do so than to go natural! Here’s how using natural deodorants and perfumes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Why Go Natural?
Consumers are often oblivious to the real price they pay for using traditional deodorants and perfumes. Synthetic fragrances consist of chemical ingredients that have the potential to pose hazardous threats to the human body. Several commercial products have tested positive for allergens and sensitizers, which can cause enduring allergic reactions that instigate asthma attacks (1).

A class of chemicals called phthalates is used in many fragrance products and has been associated with health issues such as hormone disruption and sperm damage in men. Prior studies also show regular perfume users have increased levels of synthetic musks in their blood. Preliminary research indicates that synthetic musks can disrupt hormones and also increase the production of estrogen-responsive human breast cancer cells (1). Aluminum, which is a commonly found ingredient in mainstream deodorants, has also been associated with elevated estrogen levels, which could, in turn, lead to higher risk of breast cancer (2).

While the results of some studies suggest that such health risks may still be inconclusive, it is important to teach customers about the potential dangers linked to synthetic fragrances and deodorants, not to mention the great benefits that natural products have to offer.

Effective Natural Products
Body odor is not caused by our perspiration itself, but by the bacteria that feast on it. Mineral salts like ammonium alum inhibit the bacterial growth in the underarm area while also eliminating toxins without clogging the pores. These natural deodorants can be used in their original crystallized rock form, but are also available as sprays, roll-ons and creams. Most importantly, these mineral salts are hypoallergenic (i.e., your customers’ skin will stay free of the irritation caused by aluminum in synthetic products). These crystallized deodorants work best when applied to a wet pit; they do not leave a stain on the clothes and offer 24-hour protection. The good news for shoppers is that these crystallized rocks are highly economical and can last up to 12 months (3).

For natural fragrance, your customers can also try essential oils, which are concentrated extracts that are derived from plants. They are also natural deodorizers and offer some health benefits. Commonly used essential oils like geranium, lemon, tea tree oil and lavender have a combination of cleansing, astringent, antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Geranium oil has a floral, sweet aroma and it also acts as a natural deodorant that fights odor-causing bacteria. It is also used in combination with lemon oil and constitutes a fresh-smelling natural deodorant. When sprayed in combination with water, tea tree oil has been found to eliminate unpleasant and offensive odor. Lavender oil, which is often used in aromatherapy, has a floral scent and is an effective natural deodorizer especially when added to a warm bath. For customers who want to try natural deodorizers with healing properties, essential oils serve as great viable options (4).

Other natural deodorants include some commonly used household ingredients such as baking soda. Baking soda has the ability to neutralize odor and soak up excess perspiration, leaving the armpit region dry. It works well in combination with another commonly used product: cornstarch. Coconut oil, which is a natural deodorizer with antimicrobial and antifungal properties, has also been found to work effectively with baking soda and cornstarch (5). With its skin-soothing and astringent properties, witch hazel shrinks the pores in the armpits and causes non-escapable sweat to evaporate. Apart from serving as a natural deodorizer, it can also be used as an aftershave to lessen razor burn (6).

Fragrant Favorites
Natural fragrances such as rose, citrus, sage, sandalwood, tea tree oil, lemongrass, jasmine, grapefruit and rosemary are some of the current market favorites (7). Now, not only can your customers choose from a range of natural fragrances that suit their preference, but they can also nurture a healthier and toxin-free hygiene system. WF

References
1. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “Fragrance,” www.safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=222, accessed Sept. 16, 2011.
2. Mother Nature Network, “Make the Switch to a Natural Deodorant,” April 13, 2010, http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/stories/make-the-switch-to-a-natural-deodorant, accessed Sept. 16, 2011.
3. theFword, “Natural Deodorants,” www.thefword.org.uk/reviews/2004/03/natural_deodora, accessed Sept. 16, 2011.
4. Livestrong, “Essential Oils that Are Natural Body Deodorizers,” www.livestrong.com/article/259183-essential-oils-that-are-natural-body-deodorizers/, accessed Sept. 16, 2011.
5. Livestrong, “Natural Deodorants for Kids,” www.livestrong.com/article/220003-natural-deodorants-for-kids/, accessed Sept. 16, 2011.
6. Howstuffworks, “5 Natural Deodorant Ingredients,” http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/underarm-care/tips/5-natural-deodorant-ingredients.htm,accessed Sept. 16, 2011.
7. The Daily Green, “The 9 Best Natural Deodorants,” www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/best-natural-deodorants-47062903, accessed Sept. 16, 2011.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2011