IT’S AN UNAVOIDABLE FACT: when you’re feelin’ hot, hot, hot, sweat happens. While we might
not mind a little glistening, that shirt-drenching perspiration that comes with summer heat (fine
at the gym) is not so fine in other settings. And then there’s the not-so-daisy-fresh side effect that accompanies it. With chemical deodorants coming under fire as potential health hazards, what’s a girl to do? FEMME ROUGE explored the truth about antiperspirants/deodorants and found some healthy options that will keep you smelling sweet!

the physiology of perspiration

It might surprise you to learn that your body has more than four million sweat glands – yes, million! The only place you won’t find them is on your lips. All of these glands help regulate body temperature, detoxify, and maintain salinity in the body. Sweating is good for you!

The perspiration responsible for body odor is secreted by a particular type of sweat gland: the apocrine gland. Located in the armpits, anus, and genitals, they produce sweat that contains protein and carbohydrates – ever wonder why about that yellow pit stain? The protein and carbohydrates are the culprit. The sweat itself doesn’t actually smell. Odor occurs when the healthy bacteria that live on our skin break down these secretions. The more you perspire, the stronger the scent.

smells like trouble

While these products do work to keep us fresh and dry, their ingredients have come under scrutiny. In particular, the use of aluminum has been called into question, and it is thought to be linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, although recent studies suggest these links are unfounded.

Other questionable contents are triclosan, talc powder, and BHT. Triclosan is an anti-bacterial chemical that may encourage bacterial resistance as well as disrupt the endocrine system even in low levels of exposure. Talc is a suspected carcinogen. BHT, a chemical preservative, is believed to create free-radicals that may damage our cells.

banishing BO

Your toiletries are designed to keep you smelling like a rose in two ways.

Deodorants use ingredients such as alcohol and antimicrobials to kill the bacteria on the skin responsible for odor and may also include fragrance to mask unpleasant scents.

Antiperspirants work by creating a thin coating (usually using aluminum salts) to cover the sweat glands, reducing the amount of sweat released. Most products on the market today are a combination of both.


In addition to using chemical-free products try incorporating these healthy habits, especially during the steamy summer months.

◗ Shower more often, but avoid hot water – it dries the skin

◗ Sponge bathe with a washcloth, natural soap, and a drop of essential oil. In a pinch, rub a drop or two of essential oil between palms and wipe on the underarms

◗ Shaving and waxing regularly help decrease sweat production

◗ Dip half a lemon in salt and rub on skin under arms to remove sweat and smell (just not right after shaving!)

Want more? Click here to hear our recommendations for when you’re feeling HOT & BOTHERED.