A recent switch I made about 5 months ago was the swap from conventional deodorant to natural deodorant. I’m going to be completely honest here and confess that I had heard about the potential dangers of the ingredients found in common deodorants and antiperspirants more than 5 months ago and I was never quite ready to make the switch. “Am I going to smell terrible?”, “Am I going to have embarrassing pit stains?”, “Is it going to feel different?” were just some of my many natural thoughts.
Deodorant is something many people grow up being told is a necessity for personal hygiene and something that should be applied every single day. It’s just something many people do, no questions asked. So it’s only natural for some hesitation surrounding deviating from or making a switch to such a routine task. Even after I knew it could be bad for me, it still took me awhile to accept and to make the important choice to switch to a natural deodorant and to avoid antiperspirants all together. For some reason for me it went along with deciding to ditch toxic make-up. I just thought wow, if I’m getting rid of all of this make-up that I am putting on my skin every day, I can get rid of my Dove deodorant and try something natural.
So what’s so bad about conventional deodorants and antiperspirants you ask? First of all, blocking your pores and preventing you from sweating is opposing what the body is naturally being triggered to and needs to do. We have four million sweat glands on our bodies for a reason. Sweat is triggered to detoxify the body and help cool it down. Sweat also supports proper immune function, kills bacteria and cleans the pores. So why do we prevent this? Well…because sweat can be smelly and embarrassing. Research actually shows that some of the chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants are actually causing you to smell worse by altering your natural armpit bacteria and pH. It’s like a win win for deodorant companies right? “We’ve altered them to smell worse so they have to keep using our product.”
Other studies show that many people have an ideal pH under their armpits and don’t need to use deodorant at all, yet they still use it anyway. Your sweat smelling bad can also be traced back to certain foods in your diet and a lack of hydration. Certain herbs and vitamins are known to be natural body deodorizers and toxin eliminators. So if you are interested in going the natural way, but are overly concerned about the potential smell, look into these diet adjustments you can make as well.
The other bad news about conventional deodorants and antiperspirants is the toxic, skin irritating, hormone disrupting, cancer causing chemicals they contain. Triclosan is a common toxic ingredient found in many conventional brands. Triclosan is actually classified as a pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency, is a known endocrine disruptor and a known skin irritant that can cause rashes, itchiness and swelling. Alcohol, parabens and artificial fragrances also cause these same side effects. A 2004 study found parabens in 18 out of 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors (although researchers cannot say the parabens caused the tumors). Due to this link and relation to breast cancer, paraben free products have been on the rise, however many of those products still contain other toxic ingredients that aren’t as widely known to be a threat. I will do a post dedicated to parabens in the near future.
Finally, aluminum. Aluminum has been linked to and associated with a variety of health concerns including, Alzheimer’s Disease, breast cancer, bone disorders and kidney problems. Aluminum in deodorants and antiperspirants is definitely a controversial topic. While evidence is not conclusive, studies have definitely raised suspicions and caused people like myself to be conscious and concerned. One study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that use of aluminum-based antiperspirants increased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life by 60 percent. A 2009 study from the University of Reading, U.K., found a correlation between “the increase in cancers of the outside upper quadrant of the breast with the increase in the use of chemical cosmetics, including antiperspirant” (Gillian Deacon: There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, 2011) Other sources say there is no risk and not enough evidence. For me, any potential risk is a concern and I want to stay free from chemicals that could cause me any harm.
Be wary when shopping for “natural” deodorants. I’ve read that some of the “crystal” types still contain and “hide” aluminum and one of the first ones that I tried still had propylene glycol in it which made me break out in a horrible rash. Propylene glycol has been associated with irritant and allergic contact dermatitis according to EWG’s Skin Deep® Database.
After reading through many blog posts, I couldn’t ignore all of the fans of PiperWai natural deodorant so I thought I would try it out. I’ve gone through a jar and I would say that yes I’m a believer, but it definitely takes some getting used to. PiperWai is a charcoal crème deodorant that you apply with your fingers. The activated charcoal absorbs moisture and its other ingredients like vitamin E, shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils work together to balance pH, soothe your skin and keep you fresh.
It is interesting and a little time consuming applying it with your fingers, but you get used to it. For me, I still find myself damp, but it’s not terrible. I’m pretty impressed on its ability so far and I am comforted knowing that it’s all natural and that there aren’t chemicals being applied daily to my lymph nodes. I would love to hear from you if there is a natural deodorant that you love and swear by!
Lots of love and good health,
Tasha, The Non-Toxic Newbie
*This post was not sponsored. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own research.