The Natural Deodorant Option
With the growing sense of alarm about the hazards of chemicals used in deodorants and antiperspirants, we embarked on a project to develop a lightening deodorant that will avoid the safety issues and provide maximum consumer benefits using natural alternatives.
Controversial chemicals that we decided not to use are triclosan, a very popular but controversial antibacterial agent; parabens, which are preservatives, added to most cosmetics; and aluminum salts, the antiperspirant actives which close the pores to prevent sweat from coming out, which is not exactly a good thing. Aluminum chlorohydrate is used in most antiperspirant products.
Published reports have been circulating on the possible links between these chemicals to impaired thyroid function (triclosan) and altered estrogen levels progressing to breast cancer (aluminum salts and parabens). Although regulators find that there is not enough body of evidence to ban these ingredients, we decided to follow the dictum, “When in doubt, don’t! “
There is one other serious concern why we cannot use aluminum actives in a whitening product. Aluminum salts cause skin irritation, which can lead to darkening of underarms. In fact, people with sensitive skin are advised to stay away from antiperspirants and use instead deodorants. Antiperspirants with alcohol and strong fragrances, which are likewise strong skin irritants, can be the worst offenders causing dark underarms.
Providing a natural deodorant that will keep people smelling good is our challenge. Human perspiration is actually odorless, until introduced to bacteria that thrive in warm, dark, moist places. The bacteria will break down sweat through fermentation. This chemical reaction causes the malodor. A good antibacterial agent can prevent this from happening.
The natural antibacterial ingredient we settled on is Sopholiance S from France. The ingredient is clinically proven to target body odor-causing bacteria. It is an organic fermentation product from rapeseed oil, with ECOCERT certification. This means the source is free from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Ethyl ascorbic acid, the most potent of all the vitamin C derivatives, is added to lighten dark underarms and for overall skin nourishment. Rounding up the formula is hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring moisturizer and collagen booster.
The final product, we proudly called the DERMAX Deowhite natural deodorant. Now, if your antiperspirant is causing your underarms to go dark, or if you have doubts about their safety, you have now a safer and better alternative.
This was published in the May 29, 2012 issue of the Manila Bulletin, Lifestyle Section. The author is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry. He can be reached at