The Top Three Questions People Ask About Natural Deodorant

The Top Three Questions People Ask About Natural Deodorant

There are many preconceived notions about natural deodorant. As the founder of a kaia naturals and the takesumi detox® natural deodorant brand, I receive many emails from people asking about using natural deodorant and problems they may experience. Since it is the start of a New Year, and many people are looking to make changes in their routine, I thought I would share the top 3 questions people ask me the most about natural deodorant.


1. Natural Deodorants Make Me Stink, So What Can I Do?

Since the armpits are a dark region with folds, bacteria is more likely to be trapped and produce odor when it comes into contact with sweat. Sweat + bacteria = odor. In fact, studies show that you produce more bacteria than usual in a short amount of time when you stop using antiperspirant. If you have been an avid antiperspirant user, you will notice a big difference in your body odor for this reason.

Thankfully, the Solution Comes in the Form of a Bar.

This is an easy fix. A beauty editor was kind enough to tell us that she started using a special antibacterial soap when she switched to a natural deodorant so she never had to worry about breakthrough odor when she was at the office. However, we found her recommendation to be a little abrasive, so we created our own. Our underarm bar contains apple cider vinegar, charcoal, and sodium, which are gentle ingredients that help keep bacteria at bay.


How to Properly Wash Your Underarms

To guarantee you eliminate breakthrough odor, you must wash your armpits with the bar thoroughly, not a quick “swish”. I count 30 times under each arm to ensure I have removed yesterday’s bacteria and deodorant buildup. Doing this makes it more difficult for todays’ bacteria to grow. Not washing the underarm thoroughly and using a standard bath soap (which is primarily fragrance) will not do the job. This is why you may get breakthrough odor during the day.



2. Does a Baking Soda-Free Deodorant Work As Well?

Baking soda is sometimes the culprit for underarm rashes, Baking soda’s texture is gritty and dry and can cause chafing in the underarm area. For these reasons, I do not formulate our deodorants with baking soda. 

skin pH scale - weekly acidic skin goals pH 5 to 6

While sensitive skin may experience a reaction from baking soda, this may not be the only reason for skin irritation. The rash is more about the pH of your underarm area. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult to know. Most natural deodorants contain baking soda because it is highly effective at controlling odor and bacteria. However, many armpits have a hard time tolerating the ingredient due to its alkaline pH. It also doesn’t help that armpits have a physiologically higher acidic pH than any other skin region. 

Despite that, there is no exact reason why some people experience irritation with natural deodorants while others do not. Each body is different and no two body chemistries are exactly the same. All we know is that the typical armpit pH is approximately 5.8 in men, 6 in women, and the maximum odor production seems to occur around 5. Generally, irritation is dependent on your skin’s pH in combination with the ratio of the baking soda and other ingredients like essential oils.



3. Do I Have A Rash? or Am I Allergic To The Deodorant Ingredients?

I am sure you have heard about people who have stopped using natural deodorant due to rashes. This is the most common concern I deal with and the type of rash I see the most often is what I call a “moisture rash”. The scientific name is “intertrigo”, which occurs when skin folds trap moisture due to heat, lack of circulation.  

If you were using antiperspirant before, it plugs your sweat glands and prevents you from sweating, therefore moisture does not get trapped under your arm. Since the moisture in your armpits eventually comes in contact with bacteria… bam! – you have a moisture rash. Therefore, skin rashes are not always caused by the natural deodorant itself. They are usually caused from the moisture in your underarm, which means that the deodorant does not have enough powder to absorb the moisture.

Here are some of the steps you can follow if you have a rash:

Note that this is assuming that you may have intertrigo (a moisture rash). So it is key to understand the cause of the rash.

  1. Call a doctor if the rash does not clear up in 2 days.
  2. If it is a moisture rash, stop using the deodorant and keep your armpits dry by using a powder or cornstarch until the rash clears.
  3. Once it clears, try using the deodorant and then adding powder or cornstarch over top of the deodorant as you need something to absorb the excess moisture.
  4. If none of this works and the rash continues, you should also consider switching to another deodorant as this could be a sign that it is not the right one for you. 


There Is No One-Size Fits All Solution

When it comes to natural deodorant there is no one deodorant that will be suitable for everyone, however, it is important to understand what your body chemistry is like so that you can make the best choices when buying a deodorant. As a product developer, I really do understand that there is no way that we can make a deodorant that has a one-size fits all approach when it comes to human body chemistry. One of the best ways for us to learn how to formulate is from consumers feedback, insights, questions and concerns… so please keep the comments, feedback and emails coming!

You can comment below or email us at

More Blogs on Underarms



Why Am I Getting an Armpit Rash?

Why Am I Getting an Armpit Rash?

When using natural deodorant, ⅔ of us have probably experienced an armpit rash of some sort. It’s actually very common and happens more than expected. As someone who does not have sensitive skin normally, I was shocked that I had developed a flaming red, itchy rash when I was testing a new natural deodorant a few years ago. I’ll never forget that time because I was on vacation and that armpit rash was so painful, it practically ruined the entire trip! I automatically blamed the ingredients in the deodorant for the rash, but knowing what I know now, it could have been caused by something else. Most of us will automatically jump to the conclusion that deodorant ingredients is to blame. While that may be true sometimes, it’s important to recognize other common causes to properly diagnose.



But first, let’s clarify that not all natural deodorants are the same. Ever heard the saying “Calories are not created equal”? Well, it’s the same for natural deodorants. As I talked about in a previous post a few weeks ago, some natural deodorants are formulated with irritating and harsh ingredients. As the skin on our armpits are one of the most sensitive areas, it’s very important that gentle yet effective ingredients are used there.


baking soda can cause armpit rashes

Photo by Schmits.


If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid deodorants that contain baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or essential oils listed in the first or second line of the ingredient list. This means the ingredients are used at very high levels and could cause irritation and rashes.


Natural deodorant almost got me divorced!

Many years ago when natural deodorants were just starting to appear on the market, I wanted my husband to switch from antiperspirant to natural deodorant with me. He was totally on board and the first 3 days were fine for the both of us. Then one morning I could hear my husband yelling in pain (his pain tolerance is quite high I might say). He lifted both his arms to reveal two flaming red rashes under each arm. It was so painful he couldn’t barely move his arms. When I had looked at the ingredients, that’s when I saw that the first ingredient was baking soda, a known skin irritant. Needless to say, I had a very annoyed and angry husband afterwards. Oops, hehe! This is also the main reason why I would never use baking soda in my own natural deodorants, as many people have the same reactions as my husband.



Moisture rash or Intertrigo, is when a rash forms in skin folds, such as armpits and the skin under breasts. The skin folds traps moisture and the skin-to-skin friction irritates the skin, kind of like when babies get a diaper rash. This type of armpit rash is very common because when using natural deodorant, your underarms are more likely to sweat as there is no aluminum chloride plugging your sweat ducts.


Keep skin dry by applying a natural powder like cornstarch or arrowroot powder overtop armpits to help absorb excess moisture.




razor - armpit rashes - kaia naturals

Photo by Patrick Coddou.

We all know that shaving is annoying and sometimes painful, especially when you’re in a rush. Well, good news, I’m here to tell you another reason to drop the blade: It’s also irritating to your skin. Especially when you shave against the grain, the blade of the razor tugs at the hair, pulling it away from the skin causing more irritation. Not shaving properly can lead to razor burns and bumps, causing red rashy irritated armpits.


Shave hair in the direction your hair grows, not against it. Always use a buffer like shaving cream so that it acts like a thin barrier. Never apply deodorant right after shaving, as this can also cause further irritation. Shave at night and let skin heal overnight before applying deodorant.




clothes that give me an armpit rash

Photo by Ethan Bodnar.

Who would have thought… yes, your clothing can also be a cause for an armpit rash. If a top is too tight to your underarms, the sleeves could be blocking your pores, which prevents your sweat from evaporating. Moisture gets trapped under your skin and causes a heat rash. Luckily, heat rashes aren’t serious and they typically go away within a few days. The best way to prevent them is to stay in cool environments and of course, wear loose-fitting clothing. Once again, during the detox transitional phase, you may be sweating more, so it’s important to be wary of this.



Everyone has Candidaa type of funguson their skin, but too much of it can cause rashes called candidiasis. A lot of factors can cause Candida overgrowth: tight clothing, poor hygiene, pregnancy, taking antibiotics, a poor immune system, and even living in a hot, humid climate can cause an infection. These rashes also tend to develop in damp parts of your body. As your armpits could be damper than usual during the 30-day transitional phase and when using natural deodorant, that means they’re especially at risk! Apart from candidiasis, other infections can cause armpit rashes. According to this academic article, for moisture-associated skin damage (MASD) to occur, moisture and bacteria must also be present on the affected area. As we all know, our armpits are a breeding ground for bacteria, especially during the stages of detox. Bacteria plus wetness is a recipe for a body odor…and a rash! To find out if you may have candidiasis, consult with your doctor.



Just like Candida overgrowth, eczema rashes can be caused by different factors such as dry skin, stress, our harsh Canadian winters, and all sorts of irritants like metals, fragrances and household products. Even completely natural irritants like juices from fruits and vegetables can cause a reaction. Researchers believe it’s a mix of an overreactive immune system, gene mutations and triggers in the person’s environment that can cause eczema. To find out if you may have an eczema rash, consult with your doctor. To learn more about how to switch to natural deodorant successfully, read why some of them don’t work.

Let us know if you’ve had an experience with natural deodorants or armpit rashes that you’d like to share.

Feature image by Laura Marques.

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