Why We Love Aluminum Free Deodorant

Healthy living. We all crave it. But from fitness practices and sleep patterns to work-life balance, eating habits, and beauty routines, it can feel overwhelming to make lifestyle choices you feel good about.

If you’re looking to make a difference in your personal care routine, swapping your antiperspirant for aluminum free deodorant is a great place to start. So, let’s talk about sweat and body odor because—let’s be real—it’s an important part of our daily health and beauty routine that we all need to manage.


Sweating man running up lush trail

Sweat & body odor

First, a primer on sweat. What it is and where it comes from. Sweat glands cover a good portion of our body and are an essential human process. We have two main types of sweat glands, eccrine and apocrine:

Eccrine sweat glands: cover our palms and the soles of our feet, as well as our face, torso, and limbs. They provide a cooling effect when our bodies heat up through the production of an odorless sweat mostly made up of water and salt.

Apocrine sweat glands: are found in our underarms, but also our face, breasts, and scalp. The fatty sweat from apocrine sweat glands is thicker than eccrine sweat and contains mostly proteins, sugars, and ammonia. Apocrine sweat glands don’t play a significant role in cooling the body. While this sweat has no detectable smell on its own, when it interacts with bacteria on our skin (especially the kind that thrives in our armpits), it creates an unpleasant odor1.  

Man spraying armpit with conventional deodorant

The history of antiperspirant in America

Antiperspirant was first invented in the early 1900s, using aluminum chloride as the active ingredient to stop sweating2. Antiperspirants rose to prominence in the early 20th century, but not without much skepticism around their necessity and safety. Clever and persistent marketing, imagining perspiration as a social faux pas, created a culture of shame around body odor and sweating that persists today.  

Why is aluminum used in antiperspirants?

Aluminum compounds, typically in the form of salts, block pores by dissolving into them so that sweat can’t escape3. The effect can last for several days without reapplication.

Antiperspirant vs. deodorant

So what’s the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant, and why is it so important? The FDA states that any product containing aluminum must be labeled as an “antiperspirant”4. As explained above, aluminum plugs sweat glands to reduce sweating in the area in which it’s applied.

By contrast, deodorant is aluminum free and simply deodorizes the area, as well as may offer some moisture absorption. Antiperspirants and deodorants are sometimes combined for a two-in-one product.

Cautions around aluminum in antiperspirant

There is some uncertainty in the public sphere around the safety of aluminum in antiperspirants. However, to date, the only warnings the FDA has issued around the use of aluminum compounds on underarms are to avoid use on broken skin, and to ask a doctor before using if you have kidney disease. Normally functioning kidneys should have no issues filtering out an accumulation of aluminum in the body5

 Woman walking along a desert sand dune

Why is sweating good for your body?

Whether it’s hot outside, we’re exerting energy by exercising, we’re nervous, stressed, or even when we eat spicy foods—our body heats up. Our bodies were designed to sweat as a natural way of cooling down. This is called evaporative cooling. When you perspire, the little beads of water that appear on your skin have actually absorbed some of your body's heat and will then evaporate, taking the heat from your body6.

We’re proponents of letting sweat happen, rather than stifling it. Embracing the normal human process of sweating means you can enjoy personal care products made with simple, naturally-derived ingredients that let your body do what nature intended.

 Woman hiking in the desert give two thumbs up

Dealing with sweat and body odor

There are choices you can make—aside from preventing perspiration—that can decrease body odor and increase comfort.

    Aluminum free deodorant is a great addition to any and all of the choices above, so that even when you sweat, you smell pleasant and feel your best.

     Woman smelling bergamot and ginger travel size deodorant

    Here at Humble Brands HQ, we’re big believers in simple ingredients to manage, rather than intervene, in our body’s natural processes. When it comes to body care, we’ve got your back… and pits. Making the switch from an antiperspirant to an aluminum-free deodorant, and embracing sweat, can take some getting used to. Check out our article on How to Detox Your Armpits for guidance on going aluminum-free.

    Shop Aluminum Free Deodorant


    Disclaimer: All information provided is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should be interpreted as, medical advice. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and Humble Brands products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your physician or other qualified health provider with questions you have regarding your health. Although every effort has been made to ensure the information published is accurate, Humble Brands accepts no responsibility or liability.

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