Let’s talk B.O. Not a pleasant topic, but let’s face it -everyone sweats and sometimes we all get smelly. Sweating is our body’s way of cooling down and releasing toxins. Body odor comes from bacteria that live on us and grow in our warm sweat.
We are a culture obsessed with smelling pretty. Take a stroll down the deodorant isle at any supermarket and the options are endless. A recent poll of over 500 parents revealed that approximately 50% of children ages 4 to 11 are using deodorant by age 11.
My frequent applications came to a screeching halt when news spread that there was possibly a connection between deodorant and breast cancer. Then came more bad news for conventional deodorant users-aluminum, which is a common ingredient in deodorant and antiperspirant- was possibly linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer. These finding haven’t been confirmed and The National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health and the FDA stand their ground claiming that no evidence or research exists showing ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer.The Alzheimer’s Society takes a similar position; studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s.
But conventional deodorants and antiperspirants not only contain controversial aluminum, their ingredient list is long and filled with other suspicious chemicals that I don’t want on my body. That is reason enough for me to stop using conventional deodorants. Fortunately there are safer alternatives…….
The do’s and don’ts of healthy armpit care
Wear nothing. Don’t use any deodorant. Eat a well balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Shower, wash and keep clean.
Say no to antiperspirants. Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredients in antiperspirants and they block the sweat glands to keep sweat from getting to the skin’s surface. Some scientists have claimed that using the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer and/or Alzheimer’s. If you are determined to use a product use deodorant (not antiperspirant).
Make your own deodorant. I found this simple recipe from Wellness Mama:
- 6 T coconut oil
- 1/4 cup (4 T) baking soda
- 1/4 cup (4 T) arrowroot or cornstarch
- essential oils (optional)
- Mix baking soda and arrowroot together in a medium sized bowl.
- Mash in coconut oil with a fork until well mixed.
- Add oils if desired.
- Store in small glass jar or old deodorant container for easy use.
Say yes to safe deodorant. If you aren’t a DIY type of person here are a few product suggestions for safe deodorants:
- Toms of Maine-although it does contain propylene glycol, which is a petroleum derivative. This brand is simple to find at many retailers. I have used Toms and the jury is still out whether or not it works.
- Miessence deodorants. I haven’t tried this deodorant, but the ingredient list is great and it scored well on the Skin Deep site.
- Soapwalla-this is a late addition, but felt compelled to add it to the list based upon the rave reviews of several readers. I placed an order and am looking forward to giving it a try.
Don’t use “all-natural” crystal rock deodorants. The SmartMama tells us that those crystal rock deodorants that claim to be ultra natural and safe actually contain aluminum-the very ingredient that we are trying to avoid.
Avoid toxic chemicals. Avoid all deodorants with aluminum, parabens, chlorohydrate, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, and Talc. Check the safety of all personal care products on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database.
Do you use deodorant? How do you feel about the long list of ingredients in conventional deodorants?
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[Top photos used under Creative Commons from lululemon athletica/Flickr]
[Deodorant photo used under Creative Commons from Clean Wal-Mart/Flickr]
Disclosure: If you buy Tom’s of Maine through the Amazon link it will put a few pennies in my pocket.