If there is any ONE thing you could change about your health and beauty routine to decrease the toxic load on your body...then ditch the conventional deodorants and antiperspirants.
Now you are probably thinking ...no way! Who wants to walk around as a stinky, sweaty mess?
I’m not suggesting that you go without deodorant all together, but to CHANGE the kind of deodorant you choose to use !
Sweating is a natural, necessary process used by our body to regulate our temperature and cool us down when we are exercising or running for our lives. It also aids in releasing toxins.
Sweat in itself, is not what makes you smell. Natural bacteria produced by your body does. Sweat feeds this natural bacteria, and the by-product is what we call body odor. Diet and your body’s composition will have a direct impact on the level of body odor present.
In my career as a Primary Care Paramedic....sweating can be a common occurrence, especially when carrying and lifting humans all day, or being thrust into extremely stressful situations.
I went through numerous different deodorants, and finally settled on using my husbands super duty antiperspirant for athletes ! While it definitely did the trick, unbeknownst to me, I was applying toxic, endocrine disrupting chemicals on my body every single day ! Even when I used my milder deodorant on my non work days.
Deodorants are filled with known toxic chemicals that have been correlated to many health issues. Sometimes, it can be worse to put something on your skin than to ingest a chemical.
You see, your digestive system and organs ( enzymes, liver, kidneys ) break down the chemical in your body making it less toxic to you. However, applying to your skin can cause certain chemicals to absorb into your epidermis ( you’re protective outer skin layer) and eventually make their way into your bloodstream. Without the benefit of metabolism from ingestion , you are getting the full force of these chemicals . And many of these chemicals act as a catalyst for absorption.
These chemicals can also be stored in your fat cells, and impact your hormone receptors.They can contribute to developmental or reproductive issues. they can alter beneficial organisms in your body and can potentially lead to cancer .
Common, known toxic compounds found in antiperspirants and deodorants :
Aluminum is essentially used in antiperspirants to plug your sweat glands to prevent sweating. This in effect is blocking your body’s natural process and causes a build up of toxins . It also directly impacts the natural flora , your skin microbiome. Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer in women, Prostate cancer in men and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Found under the common names (methyl, butyl, ethyl, propyl) , these chemicals are most commonly used as preservatives in deodorants and other skin care products. They are not always labeled. They can contribute to hormonal imbalances by mimicking estrogen with can cause early puberty, and sterility in males. 99% of all breast cancer tumors contained parabens .
Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol - petroleum based substance, commonly used as a skin conditioning agent. It has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis as well as contact urticaria ( hives) in humans; these sensitization effects can be manifested at propylene glycol concentrations as low as 2%. It can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart. It acts as a penetration enhancer and can help other chemicals absorb into your body easier.
Phthalates have been linked to several health issues and are considered to be endocrine disrupting. Once phthalates are absorbed by the body, they act as estrogens, which not only conflict with your hormonal function, but cause a variety of complications. These include infertility, decreased sperm count, cancers ( breast, prostate, ovarian), liver, kidney and lung damage, endometriosis, allergies and asthma. What to look for on a label: phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and also commonly hidden under the name “fragrance”
Classified as a pesticide by the FDA and carcinogen according to the EPA, it is used to kill bacteria, both the good and bad. It is found in many deodorants and antiperspirants. While overgrowth of bacteria is certainly not wanted, we humans contain trillions of bacteria...in fact we are more bacteria than human cells. We need a healthy microbiome to thrive, and by killing off all your good bacteria, you are compromising your health.
So what can you do to BE non toxic with respect to controlling your body odor? Consider purchasing a non toxic natural deodorant, or make your own! It is very simple.
6 T coconut oil
4 T baking soda
4 T arrowroot or organic corn starch
20 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) with antibacterial properties
(For eg tea tree, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, grapefruit, rosemary, geranium, eucalyptus)
With a mixer or by hand, blend baking soda and arrowroot together. Add coconut oil and essential oils and mix thoroughly. Store in an air tight glass container for up to 6 months.
Keep in mind, this is not going to be the same as your usual antiperspirant, however, once you get through the “arm pit detox” phase, which typically lasts two weeks, you will notice greatly reduced odor and find that the natural deodorant works very well. Some people find they need to re apply once or twice throughout the day in the initial weeks of switching to natural deodorant.
You can also speed up the detox period by actually “detoxing” your pits with a bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar mixture. This may also be necessary if you find yourself initially “reacting” with a rash from the baking soda in the natural deodorant.
1 T bentonite clay
1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp water
Mix thoroughly in a glass bowl with a non-metal spoon! Adjust the water as necessary to make a smooth paste. Apply to arm pits, leaving on for up to 20 mins. It is suggested that you start slowly and work up to the 20 mins due to some possible sensitivity.
Wash off with a warm wash cloth or shower. Do this detox until odor decreases and / or sensitivity to natural deodorant is eliminated.