One of the latest trends in the beauty and wellness space is whole body deodorant. However, while deodorant that you can use all over may sound appealing, there are some safety concerns with the product.

Many women aren’t sure if they should trust whole body deodorant, stemming from previous misconceptions about other household staples. Products, like baby powder and box perm, were proven to have ingredients that are linked to cancer.

Know The Difference: Deodorant and Antiperspirant

Board certified licensed dermatologist Dr. Shauna Higgins said it’s important to know the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant. Higgins believes that is the first step to understanding the health risks.

“While whole body deodorant just makes you smell better and is likely very safe, whole body antiperspirant decreases the amount that you sweat and safety data in this context is quite limited,” Dr. Higgins said.

Many consider the two to be interchangeable; however, each product has a different effect. Body odor, which many people falsely attribute to sweat, is the largest focus when purchasing deodorant.

“Sweat itself is odorless; it’s the combination of sweat and bacteria that becomes the issue,” Dr. Higgins told 21Ninety. “Anything that increases the amount of bacteria on the skin can contribute to odor, and things that decrease it may help improve odor. To that effect, most whole body deodorants are often antimicrobial in nature.”

While the idea of the product seems intriguing, it may not be something you need in your cabinets.

The Risks of Whole Body Deodorant

Dr. Higgins shares that the potential health risks of whole body deodorants stem from the aluminum component of an antiperspirant.

“This concern generally does not translate to the use of deodorants, particularly whole body deodorants, which are likely to primarily include antibacterial agents,” she said. “There’s also a concern that antiperspirants block excretion of toxins in sweat, but again, this isn’t relevant in the context of deodorants.”

For Black women considering buying the product, there may be specific considerations to keep in mind.

“There have been [reports of] some subtle racial differences in the skin barrier function that may make some formulations more drying and/or irritating,” Dr. Higgins told 21Ninety. “It’s important to maintain your skin’s hydration throughout treatment and  [See] a board-certified dermatologist if you have any rash related to deodorant use.”

While there are certain risks with whole body deodorant, it is not as harmful as one may think. These products, primarily containing antimicrobial agents, are generally safe and beneficial for those needing extra odor control. It’s important to choose formulations that suit your skin type and maintain proper hydration.