*THIS* Happens After Long Term Use of Antiperspirants

*THIS* Happens After Long Term Use of Antiperspirants

Armpits have been described by scientists as a “rainforest” of bacteria. Most of us grew up being told to use antiperspirant to combat the odor associated with this issue, but in the long run it may actually make you smell worse. Read on to learn the side effects of antiperspirants.


Antiperspirant Causes MORE Odor-Causing Bacteria

Antiperspirant is classified as an over-the-counter drug in both Canada and the U.S. because it uses aluminum chloride that blocks your sweat glands to prevent you from perspiring. Read more about aluminum here. Your body becomes reliant on antiperspirant. If you stop using it, you can experience major changes in the bacteria that grows under your arms, causing you to smell. There is a reason it is classified as an over-the-counter drug, your body becomes dependent on it.


antiperspirants makes me smell - underarm photo by alexa mazzarello

Photo by Alexa Mazzarello.


The “Rainforest” of Bacteria Under the Arms

In a study conducted at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Genomics & Microbiology Lab, 18 subjects were recruited to compare what happens to bacteria under your armpits when you switch the type of underarm products you use. The subjects were divided into three groups: (1) people who used antiperspirant daily, (2) people who used deodorant daily and (3) those that did not use any underarm products. Every day of the study, both armpits were swabbed and the bacteria was analyzed.

After two days, the antiperspirant-users started to develop diverse bacteria under their arms. By the fifth day, there was significant growth of bacteria – in some cases, it was a pungent type of bacteria called Corynebacteria, the smelliest of all bacterial flora.


There are two main types of bacteria in your armpits:

Corynebacteria – The type that makes you smell

Staphlococcaceae –  The least smelly bacteria


What Happens To Your Body When You Stop Using Antiperspirant?

Ultimately, antiperspirant users experienced the most drastic change in bacterial communities when they stopped using any products. At the end of the study it was found that there was an initial increase of smelly bacteria in the underarms of antiperspirant users. Using antiperspirant reduces the amount of staphlococcaceae bacteria (the least smelly) that grows under the arms. This creates more opportunities for odor-causing species to develop.

Deodorant users did not experience the same increase in odor-causing bacteria when they stopped using underarm products. They even had fewer species of bacteria in their armpits compared to armpits of participants who use no product at all.


antperspirants on shelf - image by

Photo by


It Won’t Last Forever

The study unveils that long term use of antiperspirant actually creates more bacteria on your armpits once you stop using them.

If you are an antiperspirant user making the switch to natural deodorant, it is important to know that this odor-causing bacteria won’t last forever, it is just a part of the detox that happens when you discontinue use.

I believe that our consumers should understand what is happening to their body during The Stages of Detox. It can be discouraging when it feels like natural deodorant isn’t working. Basically, your body becomes addicted to antiperspirant and it is harder for it to go without it. Thankfully, after several weeks, the culture of bacteria is able to rebalance and stop overproducing odor-causing bacteria.

What is Pit Priming And Why You Should Be Doing It

What is Pit Priming And Why You Should Be Doing It

You’ve heard about priming your face for foundation. It makes sense and totally works, your primer helps prep your skin to be ready for foundation and even helps your foundation to perform better. However, priming your underarms is a REAL thing. My team kept using this term over and over again, and now I understand why!



When consumers ask me why they get odor breakthrough, I suggest that they try priming their underarms first. Note: Severe odor break-though often occurs when you first stop using antiperspirant and switch to natural deodorant. Read more about how that actually works here.


pit priming before applying natural deodorant - kaia naturals



Underarm priming is the process of removing odor-causing bacteria under your arms BEFORE applying deodorant.

This is a CRITICAL step in making sure that your natural deodorant can do the heavy lifting of managing the bacteria all day long without having to worry about breakthrough odor. So let’s say that the underarm priming helps transform your deodorant into EXTRA-STRENGTH protection!



It is a common misconception that sweat has a very pungent smell, but in reality it is the combination of sweat and bacteria under the arms that creates odor issues. The bacteria that lives on armpits breaks down the lipids and amino acids found in sweat, resulting in a very distinctive body odor smell, which we refer to as B.O.  

The next time you smell B.O, in a crowded subway or at a sweaty concert, you should think, “Oops! Someone has bacteria on their skin!”


pit priming before applying natural deodorant - kaia naturals




Our armpits naturally house a lot of bacteria. In fact, it is one of the most heavily populated areas of bacteria on our body.

There are two main types of bacteria in your armpits:

Corynebacteria – The type that makes you smell

Staphlococcaceae –  The least smelly bacteria

If you are just making the switch to natural deodorant, underarm priming is crucial for a smooth transition. A study conducted at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Genomics & Microbiology Lab determined that long term use of antiperspirant actually results in more growth of Cornyebacteria under the arms when you stop using it.



Many people experience odor breakthrough during the second week of switching to natural deodorant – because there is more odor-causing bacteria present, NOT because your natural deodorant FAILED. It’s the bacteria that IS TO BLAME, so you have to get rid of it!

The good news is as your body detoxes from aluminum in antiperspirant, the growth of Cornyebacteria will begin to decline. However, to ensure you do not get odor breakthrough during this detox stage, it’s important to underarm prime.


pit priming with apple cider vinegar before applying natural deodorant - kaia naturals




I can’t even begin to stress HOW EASY underarm priming actually is. It also doesn’t require an extra step, because who has time for that… I certainly don’t!

Prime the underarms in the shower by cleansing your armpits with a natural, antibacterial soap. Look for ingredients like apple cider vinegar and sodium like the kaia naturals‘ the underarm bar which creates an inhospitable environment for odor-causing bacteria to grow. Let it sit while you do the other steps of your shower routine, and rinse it off.

Other tips to stay fresh during the day include trimming or removing underarm hair, which promotes the growth of bacteria on the underarms.

If you have any questions, ask us in the comments section below!

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6 Spots On Your Body That Hide The Most Bacteria

6 Spots On Your Body That Hide The Most Bacteria

This week, Mary decodes: The 6 body parts that hide the most bacteria.

Did you know? Thousands of bacteria species grow in the cracks, crevices and creases of our body. Research studies have shown that two types of bacteria, Corynebacteria (the pungent type that makes you smell) and Staphlococcaceae (the least smelly bacteria) flourish in moist areas of the body and prefer areas of high humidity.


At a Glance

These moist areas include the navel (belly button), underarms, groin area, top of your buttocks, the sole of the foot, behind the knees and inner elbows.  

Many of these areas are often overlooked while bathing, therefore take extra precaution as these areas are prone to trapping odorous bacteria.



The underarms are the part of the body most commonly associated with body odor.

This area of the body is packed with apocrine sweat glands, which develop in areas dense with hair follicles.

Sweat on its own doesn’t actually have any odor. Sweat + bacteria = odor. The sweat produced by apocrine glands is thicker, contains more proteins and fats, which produces an unpleasant odor. Read more on how using the underarm bar can combat odor in the underarm area here.



Our belly buttons are probably one of the most ignored parts of the body. After birth, they don’t really serve any purpose. This hollow area of the body ends up trapping dirt, sweat, bacteria and germs. According to a 2011 study done at the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the belly button has 2,368 bacterial species. As a result, it needs some extra attention to keep it clean.



Similarly to underarms, the groin area is home to apocrine sweat glands. In addition to this, the area is rarely exposed to open air and often covered in synthetic fabric, which can encourage the production of moisture and bacteria.



In one day, each foot can produce a pint of sweat! It is no wonder that it is such a stinky area on the body. Although sweat itself doesn’t smell, the combination of sweat and bacteria can create a very unpleasant odor. Most people spent the whole day wearing shoes which can encourage both sweating and bacteria growth.



Whether or not we like to admit it, this area of the body both produces and collects sweat rather easily. It is certainly not the most comfortable place to sweat and people generally experience this issue the most when they are working out or on a hot summer day.



You probably never thought about your inner elbows or behind the knees to be areas that may cause odor. However, even these overlooked crevices can collect a lot of moisture, making it an ideal breeding ground for odorous bacteria.


How to combat bacteria in these 6 areas



Pay more attention to these 6 areas when you are bathing and use a natural antibacterial soap to cleanse.  A natural antibacterial soap will help eliminate bacteria on the skin and help control odor, so that you can stay fresher throughout the day.



With clothing, underwear and even your socks, choose natural fibres like organic cotton or bamboo, which will allow your skin to breathe. Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester will trap moisture and increase bacteria growth. 



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