For the last couple of years I have only used natural deodorants. Through using them I have found that I no longer have skin irritations on my under arms (something I used to suffer with on a daily basis), my under arm hair growth is much slower and the hair less thick and my clothes have also been saved from horrid yellow patches which no amount of washing will ever make disappear.
Over the years I have certainly learnt that what we put in to our bodies is just as important as what we put on to our skin. The transformation I have seen on myself by eating the right foods and wearing the right products for my sensitive skin has been positively life changing to say the least. It shocking just how many toxins we put on / in our bodies on a daily basis, and deodorant and antiperspirants are one of them.
An average can of spray deodorant contains a host of poisonous and toxic chemicals including aluminium chlorohydrate, parabens, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, and Talc! All of these chemicals have been linked to anything from mild skin irritations to hormone imbalance and even some hormone related cancers.
However, before I begin, it’s worth noting that the internet is full of research and advice for an against the use of these chemicals and this blog post is in no way determining your future if you decide to continue using normal antiperspirant / deodorant.
Why do we sweat?
Perspiring or sweating is an essential biological process which is vital for maintaining normal health because it helps our bodies:
- eliminate toxins
- regulate salt levels
- maintain the balance of salt levels
- regulate the body temperature
- help to fight infections
On average we lose around 0.5-1.0 litre of liquid a day through our skin. Usually this evaporates very quickly, and our skin and clothes don’t appear to be damp. Increased perspiration also happens during exercise or in an environment that is too hot for the body, or through the release of adrenaline due to fear or worry.
When it’s fresh, perspiration is almost odourless, but when it stays on the skin it develops the well-known sweaty smell that we control with deodorant or antiperspirants. This smell is created by bacteria that breed in the warm, moist and nutrient-rich conditions created by perspiration.
Are antiperspirants and deodorant the same thing?
There is a common misconception that antiperspirants and deodorant are the same thing, but they are not. Each of them works in a different way from the other.
- Antiperspirants: Stop you from perspiring or sweating by blocking the pores
- Deodorants: Deodorants don’t stop you sweating but kill bacteria to mask / neutralise odour smells
What are the hidden dangers in our antiperspirants and deodorants?
There is a whole list of potentially harmful chemicals found in our antiperspirants and deodorants, including but not limited to Triclosan (skin irritant / possible carcinogen), Talc (possible carcinogen) and Silica (skin irritant / possible carcinogen) as well as:
Aluminium is the active ingredient found in most antiperspirants. It blocks the pores so that sweat cannot pass through (essentially preventing the body from doing its most natural thing).
If you suffer from underarm irritations then there’s a big possibility that it’s aluminium that you are allergic to.
Some research suggests that aluminium-based compounds may be linked to a number of health issues:
- Breast Cancer
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Bone Formation Disorders
- Kidney Problems
Antiperspirants also have another downside – not only can they cause the problems mentioned above, but they also prevent the body from eliminating toxins through perspiration and greatly reduce our ability to regulate body temperature.
Parabens are artificial preservatives and are a common ingredient found in the majority of your skin care products. Parabens are absorbed through skin and from the gastrointestinal tract and they mimic the activity of oestrogen in your body and can throw off your body’s hormonal balance.
Parabens could potentially increase your risk of hormonal cancers (**A study in 2004 concluded that concentrations of parabens had been found in breast cancer patients), birth defects in your future children and early onset puberty.
Examples of parabens include: methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben.
Propylene glycol is used to increase absorption and helps keep substances from drying out. It’s safety, even in small amounts has been called in to question by consumer safety advocates.
Originally formulated to be used as an anti-freeze, propylene glycol is a neurotoxin and skin irritant. In large quantities it could cause damage to your central nervous system, liver and heart.
Switching to natural alternatives and the benefits:
Most deodorants work simply to fight bacteria and thereby prevent body odour. When switching from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant, your glands and pores will begin to unclog and function properly. In this transition period, toxins and other built-up fluids are being released and body odour may increase temporarily. Allow your body at least two weeks to cleanse itself of the chemical nasties, trust me, it will certainly thank you for it in the long run!
*No white or yellow marks on your clothes!
*Healthier underarms with less / no irritations or inflammation
*Healthier bodies, with no harmful chemicals that can aid disease / promote hormone imbalance and inflammation
*No smell – believe it or not, I have tried and tested a whole host of deodorants with my husband. We have played sport, had life stresses, hormones and now pregnancy and neither of us ever have that horrid sweat smell, but always give yourself 2 weeks to adjust!
*Refreshing and natural and great for people with sensitive skin
*Suitable for vegetarians and vegans (always check the ingredients though)
*Cruelty free (always check the packaging though)
Here’s a list of some natural deodorant alternatives, some of which have been tried and tested. I recommend if you do try a natural deodorant that you stick with it for a couple of weeks before making your mind up, as it can take that long for your body to adjust to something new and your underarms to detox / unclog from all the pore blocking toxins. All the products below leave no white marks, are cruelty free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
A really easy to use deodorant that goes on the skin well, leaving it soft, dry and smelling fresh with a subtle scent of sandalwood and camomile. It doesn’t need to be re-applied during the day. It is suitable for people who may be prone to eczema and psoriasis.
This is certainly one of my favourite deodorants as it is beautiful smelling with an uplifting citrus aroma and I love the packaging too. It feels lovely and cool on the skin and doesn’t need to be re-applied during the day. It boasts skin-kind natural ingredients like Rosemary, Aloe Vera and Shea butter, which act to soothe and calm underarms, prevent irritation and regulate the skin’s acid balance. Skin is left smoothed and softened and refreshingly sensed.
A total WINNER! This is a really unique and beautiful deodorant in 100% natural crystal form (roll on). To use it you dampen the crystal and apply directly on to the skin. Or alternatively slightly wet your underarm first and then apply. I love this deodorant, and my husband (who’s very very active) swears by it. He’s tried all my natural deodorant range and he has said that the one that lasts all day for him and works really well is this one. He used to suffer from psoriasis on his underarms and has done for 18 yrs, but since using this has been completely cured of it! It’s unscented, easy to use and only needs to be applied once. If looked after it will last for months and months and months. We currently have one still in use 6 months later.
A really lovely deodorant. It is bizarre spraying something unscented on to your underarms, and I certainly prefer their scented deodorant (being a woman) but it’s just as effective in being kind to your skin without any sweat odour. My husband finds it too wet on his underarms- and that the spray gets caught in his hair, so this is probably best for someone with little or no hair! Made of potash alum and purified water, the aluminium in crystal deodorant stones is a different type of compound known as an alum, the most common form being potassium alum, also known as potassium aluminum sulfate. Potassium alum or ammonium alum are natural mineral salts made up of molecules that are too large to be absorbed by your skin.
Another beautiful deodorant that has a really nice scent to it. The whole thing is natural, simple and very easy to use. It lasted for about 4 months before I’d used it up and smells lovely.
Neals Yard Lemon And Coriander Spray (Unisex)
A beautiful looking deodorant in a dark blue glass bottle. Has a really strong lavender smell, which I love. Some people might find the smell overpowering, but in my current pregnant state the smell of lavender has such a calming effect on me that I just adore this deodorant. As with the other natural spray deodorants, it does take a few minutes for the spray to set but for me it lasts for the whole day.
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