Are you self-conscious about your body odour as an ageing woman? Starting at about 40, there is a natural change in our body chemistry.
According to a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, as we grow older, the skin begins producing more fatty acids as its natural antioxidant defences begin to deteriorate. Hormonal imbalances associated with hot flushes and night sweats can make things worse.
Taking Control of Body Odour
Following a healthy lifestyle can help to minimize mature body odour or the so-called “nonenal smell”. This includes a shower or a bathe every day, relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation to help you control the stress that triggers perspiration, avoid smoking and foods with strong odours, such as garlic and onions, drink alcohol in moderation, and make sure to get enough rest. Of course, choosing the right deodorant might be a great help, too.
Coming in a range of formats, from bars to balms, sprays to sticks, deodorants are an important part of most people’s personal hygiene routines. Unfortunately, some of them contain chemicals that are known to cause skin irritation, like aluminium-based compounds that temporarily block sweat pores and might pose health risks.
While there is no scientific evidence linking the use of conventional deodorant with breast cancer, “some research suggests that aluminium-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects,” according to the National Cancer Institute. “And because estrogen can promote breast cancer cell growth, some scientists argue that aluminium-based compounds could contribute to the development of breast cancer“.
The solution to the problem is to avoid using antiperspirants and switch to natural deodorants which generally contain moisture-absorbing ingredients, such as tapioca starch, arrowroot or baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), plus essential oils that are antibacterial and smell good, too.
How should I switch over?
Of course, not all deodorants work for all people and if you sweat excessively, you will find it difficult to ditch your antiperspirant. However, if you want to give a chance to natural deodorants, be aware that it may be a trial-and-error process to find the one that works best for you.
“When switching from an antiperspirant to a deodorant, you are removing the aluminium and releasing waste which has been blocked. This is a natural process as part of our body’s built-in mechanisms, but it may contribute to releasing some slightly unusual body odour in comparison to what you are used to. So when you first make the switch, it’s not that your natural deodorant isn’t working—but your body is—and naturally!” explains Aragona Giuseppe, MD, GP, and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor to Real Simple Magazine.
Keep in mind that you may need to tweak your body care routine to make the transition a smooth one. A detox from previous products can help unclog any residual chemicals the area has accumulated before you introduce a new kind of deodorant. If you find that your natural deodorant isn’t working as well at first, beauty experts suggest exfoliating your armpits once a week.
Don’t rush the process. It usually takes around three to four weeks for the body to regulate itself post-transition. If you need some backup during your transition, charcoal soap to wash under your arms might be an option. You can also use an underarm mask made of bentonite clay and vinegar. Both can help speed up the process.