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Experts in teenage skin and hair care Learn more

When should we start to use a deodorant and are they safe?

deodorant brand options

One of the questions I’m asked the most is at what age should we start to use a deodorant / anti-perspirant and are they safe. Essentially, the answer is when you start to smell and yes, they are safe.

We usually start to use a deodorant with the onset of puberty, (generally between 11 and 13 for girls and 12 and 14 for boys) because during this period the body starts to produce more sweat from the apocrine glands (located in the armpit and groin).  The sweat from these glands contains a complex mixture of compounds that, when broken down by our skin bacteria, smell.

It's become apparent in some of the most recent studies that the amount you sweat is more dependant on body size and has little to do with your gender.  Therefore, we can all use deodorants and anti perspirants, regardless of who they are marketed at, to find a formulation that works for us.

applying sam farmer deodorant

The primary function of deodorant is to mask or eliminate body odour, while antiperspirants, which are often combined with deodorants, work by reducing sweat and are more belt and braces, longer lasting approach to stopping body odour. 

All cosmetic products, including deodorants and antiperspirants, are safe. Every product has to meet exactly the same safety standards under UK and EU cosmetic legislation. Any brand using safety as a selling point, using the word 'Toxic' or ingredient ‘nasty lists’ are misinforming the consumer by exploiting consumer ignorance around safety data, it’s a cynical marketing tactic and should be a Red Flag for the consumer. Of course every cosmetic product ever made is 100% Chemical, as are we, everything we eat, drink and everything we interact with in our daily lives. 

'Natural' Deodorants are also a marketing term, all ingredients used in cosmetics are cosmetic grade meaning they have all been through a synthetic process to refine them and make them safe for use. Aluminium salts are also completely safe and have been used for decades, the scientific evidence is abundant and clear, they are safe and one of the most effective and proven ingredients we use in anti-perspirants. They have been and are used by hundreds of millions of people every single day for decades. 

If you have concerns about skin sensitivity or reactions then try starting with a product and seeing how you get on.   If you have a reaction or simply don't like the feeling then just stop using the product and try something else.

Sam Farmer deodorant info

When it comes to choosing the right age to start using deodorant or anti-perspirant, it varies and should be based on the individual's development and needs. As always, education around these products, personal hygiene and the safe use of deodorants is essential when starting and adopting these changes, it leads to a more confident and healthy approach to looking after yourself and learning to cope with the physiological changes during adolescence. 


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