Who doesn’t want a deodorant that actually works—that’s why your deodorant pH is so important. However, not all deodorants are created equal. In this post, learn what pH is, why it matters in deodorant and how to choose a deodorant that keeps skin healthy AND odor free.
For EVERYTHING you wanted to know about natural deodorant, read this post.
Why pH Matters to Your Skin
You’ve probably heard of pH before, but why is it significant when it comes to your skin? To get a bit sciency, pH stands for ‘potential to free hydrogen ions’ and measures how acidic or alkaline a solution is. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with a pH of 7 considered neutral. High pH (above 7) is alkaline and low pH (below 7) is acidic.
pH is relevant to skin because the skin’s surface is covered by a thin, protective layer called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is made up of fatty acids combined with lactic acid and amino acids and sits at a pH around 4.5 – 5.5. A healthy acid mantle helps to keep potentially dangerous irritants out (like bacteria) and moisture in. It also activates certain enzymes that are necessary for skin health. A damaged acid mantle leaves the skin susceptible to injury.
What pH Should Underarms Be?
The skin on our underarms is prone to sensitivity, so it’s important to maintain a healthy pH balance. Like the skin on the rest of our body, the ideal pH range for underarms is between 4.5 and 5.5. This slightly acidic environment helps to maintain the skin’s natural barrier, prevent bacterial growth, and reduce odor-causing bacteria.
Why is pH Important in Deodorant?
Deodorant pH is important because it can affect the health of your skin and the effectiveness of the product.
Highly alkaline (high pH) deodorants disrupt and weaken the skin’s acid mantle, strip away its natural oils and kill bacteria that help keep our skin healthy. This includes cleansers with stripping agents (like sodium lauryl sulfate) and deodorants that contain ingredients like baking soda or magnesium hydroxide. With a pH around 8-10, these products can lead to skin dryness and irritation over time. They may also contribute to conditions including eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
On the other hand, a deodorant that is too acidic can also cause irritation and inflammation.
What is the Best pH for Deodorant?
The best pH for deodorant is one that is slightly acidic, between 4 and 6. This pH range helps to maintain a healthy skin barrier, prevent bacterial growth, and reduce odor-causing bacteria.
Highly alkaline (high pH) ingredients disrupt the skin’s acid mantle, strip away its natural oils and kill bacteria that help keep our skin healthy. This includes cleansers with stripping agents (like sodium lauryl sulfate) and deodorants that contain ingredients like baking soda or magnesium hydroxide. With a pH around 8-10, these products can lead to skin dryness and irritation over time. They may also contribute to conditions including eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.
A deodorant pH of around 4 – 6 makes most sense when it comes to your skin’s health. Formulated with odor neutralizing enzymes and lactic acid, Apothekari’s natural deodorants are in that pH range. They are formulated without baking soda, aluminum and parabens and your skin’ pH will not be disrupted.
What Does pH Balanced Mean in Deodorant?
A pH-balanced deodorant is one that is formulated to have a pH level that is compatible with the natural pH of your skin. This helps to maintain a healthy skin barrier, prevent bacterial growth, and reduce odor-causing bacteria.
Does pH Balance Affect Underarm Odor?
Yes, pH balance is important in preventing underarm odor. When the pH balance of your skin is disrupted, it can create an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth, leading to an increase in odor-causing bacteria.
Does pH Balance Affect Body Odor?
Yes, just like pH balance affects underarm odor, it can also affect body odor. This includes odor on your feet and genital area. When the pH balance of your skin is disrupted, it can create an environment that is conducive to bacterial growth, leading to an increase in odor.
How Do You Fix Underarm pH Balance?
Irritated skin, including redness, dryness, irritation or a rash under your arms are signs that your natural deodorant may be a problem. You may develop an immediate reaction or even a few months after you start using a deodorant.
Baking soda or magnesium hydroxide are often problematic because their alkaline nature alters your skin’s pH, taking it out of its comfort zone. Baking soda rashes are VERY common (do a search on the internet). Other ingredients that may be problematic include coconut oil (blocks pores) along with essential oils.
There are several ways to maintain a healthy pH balance in your underarms. One of the most effective ways is to use a natural deodorant that is pH-balanced. Additionally, you can help to restore your skin’s natural pH balance by avoiding hot showers, using gentle cleansers, and moisturizing your underarms with soothing creams.
How Do You Know if Your pH Level is Unbalanced?
If you’re experiencing underarm odor, itching, or irritation, it may be a sign that your pH level is unbalanced. Other signs of an unbalanced pH level can include dryness, redness, or flakiness of the skin.
However, there’s no need to panic. Reactions usually go away on their own after a few days once you stop using the product. You can try applying cool compresses as well. Depending on how bad your reaction is, consider seeing a doctor. This may sound like overkill, but if the reaction sticks around for more than a few days, you may require medical attention.
What is the Healthiest Deodorant to Use?
When it comes to choosing a healthy deodorant, look for one that is pH balanced and free of ingredients like aluminum, baking soda or magnesium hydroxide:
- Aluminum stains white clothing yellow and can cause sensitivity in many individuals
- Baking soda and magnesium hydroxide are high pH ingredients that disrupt your skin’s barrier system leading to irritation
Apothekari avoids the use of aluminum, baking soda and magnesium hydroxide. Our formulations are also paraben-free, synthetic colorant and synthetic fragrance free.