Sweating is good for us. It’s an exit door for the toxins in our body. Our sweat glands help keep our bodies clean. Why would we ever close that door forcing toxins to stay in our system?
Sweat itself is an odorless fluid that evaporates quickly and leaves no unpleasant odor behind. Odor occurs only when bacteria is needed to eliminate an excessive amount of toxins, which may be signs of other imbalances in the body. Using antiperspirants and deodorants can add to our toxic load, and could even be potentially damaging to our body by themselves.
Specifically, consider the armpits. Our armpits are designed to sweat. It’s their job. Yet, everyday, as part of our daily routine, we’re rolling, spraying, or swiping an array of products under our arms to bring this process to a full-stop. This sounds nice and hygienic, right? Except our armpits happen to house lymph nodes —a concentrated number, actually. And, our lymph nodes are an essential part of our immune system. They help our bodies identify and fight infections. And, the lymph nodes themselves are a gateway leading directly into our blood system. So it makes sense to keep them free of chemicals and heavy metals.
The “Pit-Falls” of Antiperspirants and Deodorants
These seemingly essential ways to prevent and neutralize sweat and odor can cause us more harm than good. Antiperspirants use aluminum-based ingredients to form a temporary plug in our sweat ducts, preventing sweat from even being released. This stops the flow of sweat to our skin’s surface and traps any toxins with it inside our body. And those who argue against aluminum emphasize that, over time, aluminum accumulates in the brain, contributing to Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as, to some breast and other cancers.
Deodorants, on the other hand, neutralize the odor of perspiration using antiseptic chemicals to neutralize the bacteria causing the odor. Because they have no aluminum and don’t prevent perspiration, they are considered the healthier option. However, many conventional brands contain potentially harsh and toxic ingredients. Some of those ingredients that we want to avoid include:
- Triclosan – a synthetic antibacterial ingredient that can interfere with our hormonal systems.
- Talc – cosmetic grade talc is unregulated and if it contains asbestiform fibers, it is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
- Steareth-n – even if it’s derived from vegetables, it is processed with ethylene oxide, which is a known to be carcinogenic in humans.
- Propylene Glycol – this is an “unknown” for its carcinogenic properties as it hasn’t been fully investigated. And it is very quickly absorbed into the skin.
- Parabens – they disrupt hormone function by mimicking estrogen because they bind to estrogen receptors on cells. Parabens are linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation.
- Petrochemicals – petroleum-based products.
- Artificial Fragrance
So, if you want to stay as natural as possible, while still feeling un-stinky, there are quite a few chemical free deodorants available.
Don’t give up if, initially, you smell worse, or if you get some irritation or a slight rash in your armpits. Additional odor is a sign that your body is allowing the “exit door” to stay open and is moving out toxins. And sometimes your body is just adjusting to the pH of the baking soda. Rather than thinking that the natural deodorant is causing problems or that it’s not working for you, it’s likely only temporary as your armpits detox.
Following are two simple homemade options you might like to try:
Homemade Stick Deodorant Recipe
What you need:
6 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
4 Tablespoons Baking Soda (or aluminum-free baking powder)
4 Tablespoons Arrowroot
A few drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)
What to do:
Mix the baking soda and arrowroot together.
Add in the coconut oil and mash with a fork until well-mixed.
Add essential oils if you are using them.
You can store the deodorant in a small glass jar or you can re-use an empty deodorant
Homemade Liquid Deodorant Recipe
What your need:
1/4 cup mineral water
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 cup witch hazel extract
1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil or combination of oils, such as patchouli and/or lavender (optional)
What to do:
Mix all ingredients together and put in a spray bottle. Shake to blend with each use.
Neither recipe has any preservatives, so they will last up to about 4 weeks.
And if you like, you can keep the liquid spray in the refrigerator to help keep it fresh.
Keep in mind, we all have a different body chemistry, so try a few and see what works well for your body. Switch them up after a few months to help prevent any buildup or intolerance that may occur over time.
You can buy different types of crystal deodorants that are made of all-natural mineral salts. They don’t contain parabens, but often contain aluminum potassium sulfate, which I prefer to avoid, even though touted as “natural”. There’s also Tom’s of Maine Deodorant which offers no aluminum or parabens, but does have petrochemicals, so personally, I avoid that too.
I’m currently using Pit Powder and liking the results so far. I’m also in favor of using a small amount of coconut oil all by itself.
And I just ordered Primal Pit Paste. With great reviews and lots of different “flavors”, I’m looking forward to trying this out. I’ll let you know how it works.
While you may not find a natural deodorant that is as strong as a conventional one, I think you’ll find one that will meet your expectations, free of aluminum, parabens, artificial fragrances and endocrine-disrupting compounds.
Here are a few extra ways to be less stinky, without compromising the health of your body:
- Changing what you put in your body, changes what comes out.
- Add chlorophyll liquid or capsules to your diet, which is considered ‘nature’s natural deodorizer’ can help purify your body from the inside out.
- Wear breathable fabrics like cotton.
- Dry brush your skin daily as described in Dear Body…. It will help stimulate your lymph and detoxify your skin.
- Bathe regularly, per the usual 🙂
Any which way you do it, “Don’t Sweat it!”
This article was contributed by Jane Hill – fierce Bikram Yogi, lover of all things natural, and my best yoga buddy. Look for more articles by Jane in the Off the Mat Chats section of viewsfromthepodium.com!