Natural deodorant is great, despite some rumors and some memes. It’s toxin-free and many brands offer great scents. It’s easier to find these days, and you have more options, as well. But whether you have been using it for years or are considering switching, it may occasionally irritate your skin. Here’s why skin irritation happens with natural deodorants and how you can effectively mitigate the symptoms.

Making the Switch

When making the switch for the first time to natural deodorant, you can just stop using your current deodorant and switch, which works for many people. However, it can take up to two weeks for your body to eliminate aluminum and other chemicals from your previous deodorant, and during this adjustment period your skin may be red and irritated. While not everyone experiences this, some do. You can soothe tender skin by gently washing off the deodorant at night with a damp cloth and using a light, unscented moisturizer on your armpits. Don’t be too rough during washing or shaving during this time, and it’s best not to wax right now. Shaving at night may help in avoiding this irritation, but if you can stop shaving for two weeks, that will also result in less redness.

Don’t want to find out if you are going to experience any side effects? Then try an underarm detox. You can use LAVANILA’s The Healthy Underarm Detox Mask to prepare to transition from conventional deodorants to natural products. This mask features active charcoal to draw out impurities and can be used up to twice per week. It’s also easy to make your own underarm mask—just mix water and bentonite clay and leave on for ten minutes.

If after two weeks of using a natural deodorant, you are still experiencing a rash, it could be due to a baking soda allergy (as this author found out during her switch). Baking soda is a common ingredient in natural deodorants, as it absorbs wetness and odors, and helps pull toxins from the body. Luckily, many natural deodorant brands, such as Native and Primal, offer baking soda-free products.

Current Users

You may have been using a natural deodorant for a while, but still experience the occasional irritation. This happens and there are ways to resolve it. Shaving or waxing at night can help. Also, pay attention to your clothing. Another common experience is that fabric can be irritating, especially if you end up sweating during a workout. Be sure underarms are fully dried when applying deodorant. You may even want to dry brushing, to help with lymphatic drainage and exfoliation. Using a body brush, gently massage dry, clean skin in a circular motion.

Also, allergies can develop at any time, so you may want to switch to a baking-soda free natural deodorant to see if that helps. Plus, the underarm detox, mentioned above, can be an effective reset if you continue to experience irritation. Don’t forget to experiment with other brands as well.