Over 2 years ago I decided to stop using antiperspirants and deodorant sprays, after reading an article by a well-respected professor in environmental toxicology that the number one indoor air pollutant in your home is deodorant spray. I was also breastfeeding my son at the time, and was uncomfortable with the idea of exposing him to a toxic bundle of chemicals each time he had a meal.
“But my antiperspirant/deodorant is the only one that works… But all natural ones have failed…” you might say. Read on. Trust me.
Let's look at the ingredients in many antiperspirants and deodorants.
Aluminium based compounds are the element that makes an anti-perspirant do what it says. Some research has suggested that these aluminium compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Because estrogen can promote the growth of both cancer and non-cancer breast cells, some scientists have suggested that using the aluminium-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer (although a clear link has not been established as yet).
Parabens in their many forms are a class of artificial preservatives widely used in cosmetics and personal care products that are being investigated for their possible role in breast cancer. Parabens mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. Since estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells and a woman is eight times more likely to develop breast cancer in the part of the breast closest to the underarm, scientists are studying the connection.
Propylene glycol—a humectant which means it keeps substances from drying out, and it was originally developed as an anti-freeze, but is now included in some deodorants and antiperspirants – oh, and many commercial ice creams! It is a neurotoxin known to cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver damage. In propylene glycol’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), published by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, workers are urged to avoid skin contact with the toxic chemical as it may cause eye and skin irritation, gastrointestinal irritation and discomfort, nausea, headache, vomiting, and central nervous depression. So nope, I don't want to put it on my skin.
TEA and DEA (triethanolamine and diethanolamine) adjust the pH, and used with many fatty acids toconvert acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes the base for a cleanser. They both could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time where DEA can cause liver and kidney damage and TEA can cause allergic reactions. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects.
Triclosan is an artificial antimicrobial chemical used to kill bacteria on the skin and other surfaces. Triclosan is a skin irritant and may cause contact dermatitis. Recent studies suggest this chemical may disrupt thyroid function and other critical hormone systems. The American Medical Association recommends that triclosan and other
“antibacterial” products not be used in the home, as they may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics that can allow resistant strains to flourish. The FDA has now banned effective 2017, the use of triclosan in cleansers and handwashes – WINNING!
And then there are artificial fragrances - these cause a whole host of problems from headaches and skin allergies to hayfever-like symptoms.
Is it any wonder our bodies revolt eventually with allergies, inflammation and even possibly cancer, when one of the most permeable parts of our skin is pumped with the above list of chemicals every day? It's crazy to think how we might have got here.
I hear you though, you don’t want to stink. I don’t either! As I mentioned, I have used natural deodorant, fragrance free for over 2 years now, and no synthetic fragrance skin care or bath / shower care of any kind for a bit longer.
Recently I forgot my natural deodorant so I ended up using an antiperspirant which rhymes with "Sharona". Oh my god - by the end of the day I stunk! And I developed a nasty rash under the arm.
I hadn’t had BO for a couple of years so it was really unsettling and I felt super self conscious. So, the moral of the story? These synthetic fragrances could actually be causing some of the BO you might get, yet we ironically reach for heavier fragranced products to cover up the excessive BO.
So what to do instead?
First of all, what you eat can make a difference. I do find that if I have had a less than great diet (processed foods, alcohol, too much coffee) then I might pong a bit.
Generally, if my immune, nervous and lymphatic system are working well, then I just don't tend to smell, so looking after these with good nutrition and herbs helps a lot. Chlorophyll drops or greens powders are great to support internal cleansing.
The next thing is to look at clothing - natural fibres such as cotton, wool and bamboo are the ones to wear.
And then, there is a whole host of natural deodorant alternatives, which you can find at the health food store.
Personally, I reall like the Black Chicken Axilla paste available at www.nourishedlife.com.au. Axilla is an effective natural deodorant which is known to out perform even the mainstream chemical laden brands. This paste keeps you fresh without inhibiting your sweat glands' ability to dispel toxins. It contains a unique blend of natural ingredients including Arrowroot, Sodium Bicarbonate and Organic Coconut Oil which work together to absorb moisture. I find this amazingly effective and I can even skip a day and still be OK.
Some people find they get a bit of irritation when they first try Axilla (don't rub it in too hard or apply immediately after shaving), which might mean you need (and don't laugh) an armpit detox. Read more here about how to go about this first.
CREDIT: Low Tox Life
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist