Switching to a natural deodorant could seriously benefit your health… lemme break it down for you.
What you put in your body matters– you know this (I hope). What you eat massively affects how you feel, so it’s important to care about the foods you consume. Check.
BUT did you know that it’s just as important to care about what goes ON your body, not just IN it?
Your skin absorbs what you put on it. Plain and simple. How much it absorbs depends on who you talk to (a common figure is around 60%), but the fact that it absorbs what you’re putting on it at all is enough to rethink your personal care products.
I mean, look at the lotion you’re using. Do you even know what half of those ingredients are? Because I never used to…
The majority of personal care products out there are filled with synthetic chemicals- ingredients that make skin feel smoother (temporarily and on the surface), smell good (at least for a while), and appear brighter (if only for a second).
Conventional deodorant/antiperspirant is no exception.
For the sake of clarity- when I say “conventional deodorant” here, I’m talking about both antiperspirants AND deodorant. The difference is that antiperspirants control sweat AND body odor, deodorants are just helping body odor. Both conventional antiperspirants and deodorants contain harmful ingredients.
What’s lurking in your “deo for the B.O.” as my best friend calls it? Definitely not things you’d want to ingest, and yet your skin is doing that for you. Let’s take a look at ingredients.
WHY YOU SHOULD SWITCH TO NATURAL DEODORANT
These are some of the most common ingredients in conventional deodorant, and these are some heavy-hitting ingredients I try to steer clear from. Here’s why.
This is what they add to try and prevent sweat from happening, because the aluminium salts help create a plug by the sweat glands.
Studies have shown a possible link with aluminum and Alzheimer’s, which is more than a little concerning. They’re also researching the link between aluminum and breast cancer- because aluminum can seriously affect the estrogen in our bodies and contribute to cancer growth, AND because absorbing chemicals that we shouldn’t (like aluminum) can cause changes in our DNA that lead to cancer.
I wouldn’t eat aluminum, so I don’t really want it on my skin, either. Also it doesn’t seem like a good idea to prevent sweat… right? Your body needs to sweat to release toxins, so keeping those toxins in sounds like a bad choice. Eek.
These are used as preservatives and have shown to seriously interfere with hormone regulation, specifically with estrogen.
Something interesting (and terrifying)? A study in 2012 showed that 99% of breast cancer samples contained parabens. Is there a link to parabens and increased rate of cancer? They don’t know yet, but I’d rather not chance it.
Companies don’t even have to list what synthetic chemicals they use as a “fragrance,” which means you have no clue what mess you’re absorbing. Even more, you don’t know if what you’re absorbing will react with other chemicals you’re absorbing from other products.
There are safer ways of smelling good, I promise!
Really popular silicone used in deodorants is “dimethicone,” silicones are used to make the skin feel smoother. Think of it like putting tape on your skin- it creates this fake layer of smooth, but it also traps things from getting released. Your skin is the largest organ in the body and is VITAL for detoxing, so trapping things under a synthetic layer of smooth is a bad plan.
Plus it is also known to cause major congestion in the skin, leading to acne or painful ingrown hairs under your arms. Lame. PLUS it’s non-biodegradable, which is really bad for the environment!
WHAT NATURAL DEODORANT TO SWITCH TO
I, personally, either make my own deodorant (see below!) OR opt for some trusted brands like Schmidt’s or Primal Pit Paste. I like being able to pronounce and KNOW what the ingredients are so I know that they’re not harmful to my body.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU SWITCH
Alright, the slightly unfortunate news. There is a bit of a detox period, but it doesn’t last long- anywhere from a few days to maybe a week. It just depends on how well you detox and how long you’ve been going at it with the hard-hitting antiperspirants.
It’s not pretty- you’ll smell funny for a bit. BUT HERE’S THE THING- doesn’t that show you that it’s definitely something you should detox FROM, if it causes you to go through detox symptoms when you get off of it? Yes.
I will say, there was one time when I started itching from a homemade deodorant after a couple of weeks as part of a detox, so I switched to Primal Pit Paste for a while and then switched back.
It’s similar to shampoo I think- where it needs to be rotated every now and again for it to be stay effective. But in the four years I’ve been using natural deodorant, I’ve only reacted that way once. I rotate my brands and homemade oil combos every couple of months.
IT’S SO WORTH IT.
So what do you do if you’re the sweaty mess like I was as a teen? I used to slather on that prescription strength roll-on antiperspirant like there was no tomorrow.
But you know what? Using these conventional antiperspirants is only a bandaid.
HERE’S THE DEAL
Bottom line is: a lot of the chemicals in personal care products aren’t tested for safety. We just don’t know what they can do to our bodies short or long term, and it’s not worth it. There are better ways to smell nice without disrupting hormones, increasing our chances of cancer AND hurting the environment all at the same time.
You need to look into other solutions to sweat less and stink less: like natural deodorants (it’ll be better after the unfortunate detox period), drinking more water, switching your diet to healthy, whole foods, using natural antibacterials like tea tree and lemongrass, lowering stress levels, and detoxing through exercise.
When you cut out the chemicals, your body can go back to detoxing like normal in the pit region. What happened to me when I switched over? I started sweating less. My B.O. went way down. And I feeeeeeel better knowing I’m not bombarding my body with chemicals it definitely doesn’t want or appreciate.
Your bod will thank you.
Take a crack at this homemade deodorant recipe below!
(Yes, you have to put it on with your finger. No, it’s not weird.)
A NOTE ON ESSENTIAL OILS:
I would do a combo of a few good quality oils like:
-jasmine (if you wanna splurge)
-clary sage (good for hormone regulation)
*but you definitely need tea tree OR oregano for antibacterial & preservative (only about 5 drops, they’re strong)
It won’t smell perfume-y like your typical deodorant, it will smell more natural but you get used to it!
LINK TO SOME HARD TO FIND INGREDIENTS: (but if you check out your local health foods store they should have everything there! Just ask).
This is all a basic summary of my opinion- Mommypotamus does a fantastic post on the same subject and links to recent studies in case you’d like more info.
- 3 tbsp cocoa butter
- 2 tbsp beeswax
- 5 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp carrier oil (I like jojoba or sweet almond oil, add a little neem for antibacterial properties)
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- ⅓ cup arrowroot powder
- 20-30 drops essential oil combo (see above)
- 2 4 oz. small glass jars with lids
- Either heat coconut oil, cocoa butter and beeswax together on low heat until melted, or use a double-boiler method until melted.
- Remove from heat after melted, and add in baking soda and arrowroot powder. Stir until combined.
- Let cool to body temperature 5-10 minutes or just before it solidifies (you don’t want the heat to hurt the carrier oil or essential oils, but you need to add it before it solidifies).
- Stir in essential oils and carrier oil, and divide between two contain
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