Yes, toxins are in deodorant and antiperspirants, but there are safer, effective alternatives.
This is one of the most important swaps you can make. Before getting into the toxic ingredients in most deodorants and antiperspirants it is important to know the difference and what makes them effective.
An antiperspirant contains aluminum of one form or another. The aluminum clogs your pores to prevent your body from sweating. There are two major problems with that. First off, your body needs to perspire to eliminate toxins. Second, you are applying it to under your arms, directly after a shower or shaving. It is a fact that your pores open more at that time.
Research (link http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013413001608) has shown that 50% of breast cancers begin in the upper outer quadrant of the breast by the underarm region. While the American Cancer Society has not established a “direct link” to breast cancer and aluminum there are no safe levels of aluminum for your body. Keep in mind that while a direct link has not been established at this time it is due to lack of studies and there is also no study that can eliminate it entirely yet. Aluminum has also been linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
You won’t find an aluminum free antiperspirant since aluminum is what makes them work, so that leaves deodorant.
Let me be clear-I believe we should all wear deodorant. What can we wear without toxic consequences?
The most common toxic ingredients found in most deodorants:
- Parabens: You will find these in any mass produced personal care products so they will have an extended shelf life. Unfortunately, although there is no conclusive proof here either-evidence DOES suggest that long term toxin exposure could cause cancer.
- Triclosan: A hormone disruptor. Banned in hand soaps beginning next year, the same rule has not applied to other products as of yet.
- Phthalates: Phthalates generally show up in any products that contain fragrances (note: an essential oil will be labeled as such on your ingredient list. Fragrances may contain many ingredients including toxins of their own that have never been tested for safety.)
- Propylene Glycol: a known neurotoxin that ironically warns workers against contact with skin.
- TEA and DEA: (triethanolamine and diethanolamine) these are both banned in Europe. They can be toxic when accumulating over time. DEA can result in liver or kidney damage.
- Talc (magnesium Silicate) -as you know from previous blog posts this is a carcinogen.
You have all this information. You checked your label and you want to make a change. What are some of the best solutions? First off, expect it to take a little time for your body to adjust. When eliminating aluminum you will feel like you are sweating more. (You are not eliminating deodorant too so that doesn’t mean you will smell bad!). Cooler temperatures this season is the perfect time to let your body make this change.
I have not used an antiperspirant in 3 years. It definitely took some adjusting since my body was used to aluminum clogged pores. I also learned that many of the natural deodorants contain baking soda. While I love baking soda for many things it did not agree with my underarms. There was a lot of trial and error on my part. Like any other product not all of them work great. I tried a Crystal brand once as well until I learned it actually contained aluminum as well. Although it is deemed a “safer form” and the label states it is specific types of aluminum free-be sure to take note before you purchase if your goal is to be aluminum free. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/16/aluminum-lurks-in-crystal-deodorants.aspx)
I did find a DIY recipe that I liked but I found it too “soft” to travel with (Coconut oil as you know liquifies over 76 degrees) I have heard people swear by “Pit Paste” but I have no personal experience or opinion on how well it works. This spring I discovered Schmidt’s. (https://schmidtsdeodorant.com/our-shop.html) The anti bacterial and anti fungal properties come from the essential oils. They are vegan, gluten free, and free of parabens and Phthalates, and aluminum.
BONUS: they are also on Amazon so if you are like me that makes life easy and shipping free. This is the first deodorant I have been able to use that contains baking soda, however there is now a baking soda free option for those who are not able to use it. I used it all summer, and it was still working by days end.