If you’re like me, you likely haven’t really thought much about your deodorant (other than making sure you use it). It’s deodorant; you put it under your arms; you hope you don’t stink. Right? Right. What is there to know about deodorant?
As our family has begun pursuing a healthier life, I’ve also started to become aware not only of what I put in my body, but also what I put on my body. I started to look more critically at the toothpaste I use, the lotion I put on my skin, and yes, even the deodorant I use.
5 Hazardous Ingredients in Your Deodorant and Antiperspirants
Our skin, surprisingly, absorbs a great deal of what we put on it. So, if we’re putting chemicals on our body, it will absorb those chemicals. Here are a few of the things you should be aware of that are found in conventional deodorant.
What’s in there for? Aluminum is an ingredient found in antiperspirants and works to completely stop perspiration.
What’s the problem? Aluminum has been linked to a number of health issues:
- Breast Cancer
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Bone Formation Disorders
- Kidney Problems
It’s of particular importance of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and Down’s Syndrome to steer clear of aluminum. Recent studies have shown that they are particularly sensitive to aluminum and absorb much more aluminum than others.
What’s it there for? Parabens are found in many personal care items and are used a preservative.
What’s the problem? The problem with parabens is that they mimic estrogen in your body. Not good. Parabens can throw off your body’s hormonal balance. This can cause an early onset of puberty, increase your risk of hormonal cancers, and even birth defects in your future children.
You may see parabens listed on the label as: methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben.
3. Propylene Glycol
What’s it there for? Propylene glycol is used to increase absorption and helps keep substances from drying out. Interesting tidbit: this substance was originally formulated to be used as an anti-freeze.
What’s the problem? Propylene glycol is a neurotoxin and skin irritant. It could cause damage to your central nervous system, heart, and liver.
Watch out! You often even see propylene glycol in “natural” deodorants found in the stores.
What’s it there for? Phthalates help consistency of personal care products.
What’s the problem? Phthalates increase the likelihood of cell mutation and disrupt hormone receptors which in turn increases the risk of birth defects.
What’s it there for? Triclosan is antimicrobial—it kills bacteria, fungus, and other microbes.
What’s the problem? In addition to being classified as a pesticide by the FDA and a probable carcinogen by the EPA, triclosan has been linked to a number of different problems including: disruption of the endocrine system (particularly thyroid function), increased risk of cancer, and increased hay fever and allergy symptoms.
Because of this, some companies have begun to remove triclosan from their products, but you can still find it in many. The American Medical Association now recommends that triclosan and other antibacterial products not be used in the home as they may encourage bacterial resistance.
C’mon. Will Using Deodorant Really Cause Health Problems?
There have been a number of studies done to specifically look at whether deodorants and antiperspirants increase breast cancer risk and Alzheimer’s disease, but unfortunately the findings are mixed. There simply needs to be more studies completed before a conclusive verdict is reached in the medical community.
Knowing that many of the chemicals found in skin-care products are toxic carcinogens and may cause major health problems makes me want to look for alternatives. Doesn’t it make you want to know what alternatives there are out there?
There are, indeed some fantastic alternatives, but I wouldn’t look in your local grocery store for them. Even some of the “natural” deodorants I’ve picked up from the store contain some of these chemicals.
Do not despair, there are some great, natural, chemical-free deodorant alternatives.
A “Truly” Natural Deodorant
I’ve recently been introduced to Truly’s natural deodorant. It truly is natural (unlike some other “natural” brands that I won’t mention) :). It’s so natural, that you’ll be able to recognize each of these nourishing ingredients. However, you might scratch your head and wonder how in the world these ingredients will help keep away the body odor. Let me give you a quick run-down of what each of the ingredients are and what they do:
- Organic Coconut Oil is a natural antibacterial and antifungal that is also soothing to your skin acts as a moisturizer.
- Powdered Sugar: When combined with your perspiration, the sugar helps prevent odor-causing bacterial growth.
- Baking Soda: Has long been used in many different places to fight odor.
- Beeswax helps with the consistency of the deodorant.
Truly’s is not designed to stop you from sweating. Sweating a a normal and healthy function of the body. Sweating allows your body to release toxins. Rather, Truly’s is designed to keep your sweat from stinking! 🙂 And, it really works. I’ve been using Truly’s for a while now, and I’m loving it!
DIY Alternative Deodorants
If you’d rather try your hand at making your own deodorant. Here are a few recipes. I can’t vouch for how they work as I’ve not tried them: