6 Things You Can Use Instead Of Deodorant

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't dream of stepping outside without deodorant. Just like brushing my teeth, de-stinking my armpits is one of those things I have to do before leaving home. And yet, the ingredients in them have got me looking for other things to use instead of deodorant.

That's because antiperspirants contain some rather questionable chemicals. If you haven't heard, they've got a lot of people worrying about things like breast cancer, and even Alzheimer's disease, according to Stephanie Watson on WebMD.com. (Scary, right?) "Most antiperspirant worries center on the active ingredient — an aluminum-based compound that temporarily plugs the sweat ducts and prevents you from perspiring. Typically, antiperspirants are coupled with a deodorant, which contains the pleasant scent that stops you from stinking. They may also contain a number of inactive ingredients," Watson noted.

Of course, research on such things is always mixed, so I'm not saying you should scream in horror and throw your deodorant out the window. (I promise I didn't.) Just be wary of what you put on your body, do some of your own research, and figure out what's best for you.

So whether you want to protect your body, or you simply forgot to apply deodorant and are desperately looking for a cure, then here are some other things to slap on your underarms that will leave you smelly sweet.

1. Lemon Juice

I'm not saying you should steal the lemon wedge out of your glass of water and sneak off to the bathroom (unless you're desperate, of course). But applying lemon juice to your underarms in the morning may help stave off smells by killing bacteria. According to Laura Moss on MNN.com, "The citric acid in lemon juice can kill odor-causing bacteria, and there are people who swear by the lemon deodorizing method."

Just remember that this is for deodorizing only. It's not an antiperspirant, so you'll still sweat. But at the very least that sweat will (hopefully) smell lemon-y fresh.

2. Hand Sanitizer

If you ran to work without deodorant and need something to cover your stench ASAP, then consider applying a squirt of antibacterial gel under each armpit. As Joanna Goddard noted on CupofJo.com, "Hand sanitizer will save the day. The alcohol kills the bacteria and neutralizes the smell." Sure, you'll smell like rubbing alcohol for a few minutes, but it should keep smellier smells at bay.

3. Baking Soda & Corn Starch

This is one you can concoct in your kitchen, which I highly recommend since it can get a little messy. According to Moss, "Using baking soda as a deodorant is a simple way to combat body odor without subjecting your pits to a variety of chemicals. Try mixing 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda with a little bit of water — don't dissolve it — and rub it under your arms. You can also create a baking soda and cornstarch mix to fight odor and help prevent wetness. Simply mix one part baking soda with six parts cornstarch and dust a little on your underarms."

The good thing about this method is it will get rid of smells and moisture, so it'll act more like your regular stick deodorant.

4. Essential Oils

If you aren't so excited about smelling like baking soda or hand sanitizer, then essential oils might be more your thing. Look for antibacterial varieties, such as lemongrass, thyme, lavender, and rosemary, and then go to town creating your own unique scent.

Of course, none of these are going to work as well as commercial brand deodorants, but you can reapply them all day long without worrying about any side effects. As Caryn Anderson noted on LiveStrong.com, "... using an all-natural formula is typically gentle on your skin, which means that you can apply it frequently without irritating your skin, and you can tailor the ingredients to suit your exact skin care desires." Sounds good to me.

5. Witch Hazel

T.N. Dickinson's Witch Hazel, $8, Amazon

Witch hazel is one of those things everyone should have in their medicine cabinet. It comes from a flower, and offers natural astringent and anti-inflammatory that soothes sunburns, clears up zits, and helps dry up oily skin. Oh, and it also does a pretty good job as a natural deodorant.

As Heidi Cardenas noted on MotherEarthLiving.com, "[Witch hazel] has many beneficial natural ingredients, including tannins, flavonoids, saponins, choline, gallic acid and bitters. It has antibacterial properties and is a superb astringent, removing excess oil and moisture and constricting tissue to which it is applied. It is a good treatment and toner for oily facial skin. These same properties make it a good deodorant when applied to the underarm area." Pat some on with a cotton ball, and see if it keeps you smelling fresh throughout the day.

6. Coconut Oil

Just like witch hazel, coconut oil is another thing you should keep around, because it does everything. Use coconut oil as a body lotion, a face wash, a hair mask, a lip balm — basically, smear it anywhere and everywhere and it's bound to be beneficial in some way.

And yes, that includes your armpits. As Stephanie Saltzman said on Allure, "The theory is that because coconut oil is an antibacterial, it will protect against odor-causing bacteria. Of course, it is very oily, so use it sparingly. But it will probably keep smells under control, while also leaving you smelling summery.

All of these natural deodorant and antiperspirant methods probably won't work as well as your favorite commercial brand deodorant. But whether you're in a bind, or simply want to go the natural route, they are definitely worth a try.

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