As we grow, we undergo many changes. The most significant changes take place during the stage of development that we call puberty. Additional body hair, growth spurts, and hormonal changes necessitate that we learn to care for ourselves in different ways. Of course, we carry many of those grooming habits into adulthood.
The need for deodorant or antiperspirant products
The human body passes waste through our skin pores in the form of sweat. We tend to sweat most in folds and creases, including the underarms, groin, and behind the knees. While sweat itself is odorless, it’s the bacteria present on and just below the surface of the skin that releases those offensive odors that we try so hard to cover up to maintain our pleasant social status.
The use of these products is a socially acceptable way to care for the post-pubescent body. You need only to look at the supermarket and department store shelves to see evidence that we are expected to use it.
With recent studies coming to light about the array of chemicals that comprise most traditional deodorant and antiperspirant products, many people find themselves looking for natural alternatives that link to damaging health effects.
Is traditional deodorant harmful to your health?
One of the most alarming claims made against antiperspirant products in recent years is that it has links to the formation of certain cancers, potentially including breast cancer. The theory behind this claim is that deodorant chemicals can seep into the lymph nodes and change healthy cells into cancerous ones.
Other claims against traditional chemical products indicate that it can significantly impact kidney function and contribute to the development of allergies. It seems a closer look at the chemical makeup of antiperspirant is in order in an attempt to maintain and protect our health, and a return to natural products that are chemical-free and environmentally responsible will benefit us all.
Harmful Chemicals in Commercial Deodorant
Most traditional antiperspirants contain a combination of the following:
- Propylene glycol and other ingredients
Let’s take a look at each of these compounds individually in an attempt to understand how we are impacting our health by continuing to wear deodorant.
Used in almost every commercial deodorant and antiperspirant, aluminum salts are the primary chemical compound that helps to prevent sweat from breaking through pores in the skin. Frequent use of traditional chemical products can cause a residual buildup of aluminum salts in breast tissue, contributing to the formation of cancer.
Too much aluminum in your body can also cause kidney dysfunction, bone disease, and dementia.
The FDA has recently mandated that deodorant and antiperspirant companies now place a warning on the package labeling, indicating that there may be potential complications from repeated use of brands containing aluminum.
Parabens are a compound placed in deodorant to prevent the growth of yeast, fungi, and bacteria on the product. These parabens readily absorb through the skin, and, once inside the body, they can function as additional estrogen.
Higher lifetime exposure to estrogen increases your risk of breast cancer. While more evidence is needed to conclusively point to this relationship, it would be advisable to look for brands that are paragon-free.
3. Propylene glycol and other ingredients
Other additives, such as propylene glycol and other chemicals, could increase skin irritation and other reactions from antiperspirant use.
So many possible reactions exist that it is difficult to pinpoint the cause of irritation that arises. Looking for more natural alternatives will be essential if you wish to reduce the risk of the development of certain health conditions and claim vibrant health.
What are some natural alternatives to traditional deodorant?
Several store-bought varieties of antiperspirants are now on the market that abandons traditional chemical compounds. Today you can find products with a variety of natural elements designed to slow sweat production, neutralize odor, and eliminate those unsightly yellow stains on clothing. Whether you wish to buy for convenience or make your own, consider this list of alternatives to keep you fresh and confident while preserving your long term health.
1. Baking soda or cornstarch
Baking soda is a true wonder–it masks odor and soaks up moisture, all at the same time. To make a natural an inexpensive deodorant right in your kitchen, mix 1/8 tsp of baking soda with enough water to make a paste and apply directly to your armpits.
Similarly, cornstarch is known for its absorbent properties, and you’ll be left high and dry when you combine six parts to one part baking soda and apply directly to your underarms for a dry antiperspirant sensation.
2. Lemon juice
Make sure you aren’t freshly shaven when trying this alternative, for you won’t be likely to try it again. Lemon juice has potent, anti-bacterial properties, and it is excellent for neutralizing odor while providing a fresh, crisp scent that lasts all day long.
3. Rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol also kills odor-causing bacteria, and you are likely to have this lying around in your medicine cabinet. Add some to a spray bottle and infuse it with your favorite essential oil for odor-eliminating freshness you can spritz on all day long.
4. Essential oils
Not to worry about smelling like baking soda or rubbing alcohol. Indeed, you can add lemongrass, orange, or lavender oil to your blend safely. This addition will mask any odors and keep you smelling beautiful all day long. Mix and match oils to find your perfect stimulating or calming scent, depending on your daily needs.
5. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is not only a popular astringent. It is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It kills bacteria while whisking moisture away from the skin, making it a perfect antiperspirant substitute. Because it wears off rather quickly, you’ll have to reapply it frequently throughout the day.
6. Store-bought natural deodorants
Many products now exist for those of us who are not kitchen witches, and we would instead choose a store-bought beauty products containing natural ingredients. Some of the most effective of these include:
1. Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant
Made with plant-based powders like baking soda and arrowroot powder, this product will blow your mind in terms of both pleasant scent and wetness control. Coconut oil, shea butter, and calendula oil ensure that you get a smooth, even application, and it will keep you cool and fresh for hours.
2. Agent Nateur
Raw organic honey, lavender, and coconut oil lend themselves to this sexy application of odor control and delicious scent. Additional natural elements of baking soda, beeswax, avocado, and coconut butter go to work hard, giving you antiperspirant and odor protection all day long.
3. Type A
Who knew that a pure cream could do such an effective job of sweeping away odor-causing bacteria and sweat? This natural deodorant gives you the ultimate in comfort and protection? Type A stands up against your most vigorous hot yoga or cardio sweat session, and its waterproof protection ensures that it stays put when you need it most.
4. Ursa Major
Available in both spray and stick form, this wonderful blend of chemical-free ingredients form a crisp and refreshing formula that absorbs excess moisture while smoothing and soothing sensitive skin. Fresh scents like eucalyptus, citrus, and mint round out a perfect sensory experience with every application.
5. Jasmine Tea
Another winner from Schmidts, Jasmine Tea is a sensual blend of vegetable powder, clay, and various essential oils. These ingredients work to absorb excess moisture and provide freshness for the long haul.
You will find the scent to be clean and green. Plus, you can let it pull double duty. It works great as a moisturizer for the skin and a texturizer for the hair. You’ll get the most bang for your buck with this three-in-one product, and you’ll smell great too.