Ah, deodorant. Most of us probably begin our day by swiping on sticks of the stuff, and have been relying on its body odor-reducing abilities for decades. But while deodorant sticks are easy to use, they do have some downsides: they can leave a white residue on dark clothes, they may irritate sensitive skin, and they only cover up armpit odors (not other body smells).
Another potential problem is the fact that many antiperspirants — a.k.a. deodorant products that don’t just cover up scents, but also make you sweat less — contain aluminum. Some studies have linked aluminum to breast cancer, kidney disease, and other conditions, but research is mixed on whether the amount of aluminum in antiperspirant sticks is great enough to build up in your body and cause health issues.
While using antiperspirants may be mostly safe, some women feel better using natural deodorants. But natural deodorants have their own issues; some people find them less effective, and The New York Times even reports that “there is no definitive evidence that regular deodorants or antiperspirants are worse for your health than natural deodorants.” You may not need to give up on your favorite deodorant, then — but did you know that there’s now an alternative to the traditional stick? These are deodorant pills, and many people on social media claim they magically wipe out body odor (not just armpit smells). So, what exactly are deodorant pills, anyway? And is it a good idea to try them? Read on to find out.
What are deodorant pills?
Dietary supplements that are readily available online or over-the-counter have rapidly grown in popularity as of late. The widely unregulated market of supplements — for everything from weight loss to hair growth to supple skin to stress relief — shows no signs of slowing down, so it’s no surprise that deodorant supplements are having their day in the sun. These pills, available from brands like It Just Works and Body Mint, will supposedly reduce your body odor in a week or less. The companies that sell them also claim that because they’re not topical, the pills will eliminate all kinds of odors, including armpit odor, breath odor, foot odor, and vaginal odor.
What’s in deodorant pills?
The main ingredient in deodorant pills is chlorophyll, a natural compound that occurs in green plants and gives them their color, and chlorophyll has been touted for its odor-reducing abilities for over half a century. While some studies have suggested that chlorophyll reduces odor, these studies are from decades ago, and the results may have been skewed by the placebo effect or the lack of a control group. Ultimately, no scientific evidence exists to support chlorophyll’s deodorizing properties, and further research on its efficacy in eliminating body odor is still needed. Anecdotally, however, many TikTokers who’ve tried these supplements claim to have seen (or smelled) impressive results.
Do deodorant pills have any side effects?
As is the case when starting any supplement, you should discuss deodorant pills with your doctor to make sure they won’t interact with any of your medications or have any other adverse side effects. The chlorophyll in deodorant pills may have the strange (but harmless) effect of turning your bowel movements green, so be prepared for that should you decide to try them.
Should I take deodorant pills?
Our body odor naturally changes as we age, which can lead to feelings of embarrassment and frustration. So if you’re finding that your deodorant doesn’t work as well as it used to, you may want to try switching to pills — but if you choose to go this route, you should know that “there is no scientific evidence that these products are effective,” according to dermatologist Dr. Anju Methil. She also points out that there isn’t yet any information available on potential risks.
Like many dermatologists, Dr. Methil doesn’t think traditional roll-on deodorants and antiperspirants are necessarily unhealthy. In fact, some dermatologists even specifically recommend aluminum-based antiperspirants. Deodorant pills also tend to cost more than traditional deodorants and antiperspirants (a month’s supply can be upwards of $30), so it’s worth considering how much you’re willing to spend to reduce your natural musk.
There are many reasons why deodorant pills might appeal to you, like the lack of white stains and skin irritation, plus the promise of potential full-body deodorizing. But even though many users report that they work, you may want to take these claims with a grain of salt, and wait for the science to back it up.