Antiperspirants and Deodorants: Should You Be Worried? PLUS, My Recipe!
Fact or Fiction? There has been a lot of information online and elsewhere about the possible dangers of using commercial antiperspirants and deodorants. What is truth and what is fiction?
On Being a "Heavy Sweater".....
My personal deodorant dilemma began many years ago. I am a big “sweater” so to speak. And as a young woman (or even an older one), how embarrassing is that? On top of that, I, like many people, women included, tended to get stinky when sweating. ( I will NEVER forget the time I came out of job interview to find....Horror of Horrors!....a HUGE sweat ring under my right armpit! Just my right, which has always been my problem pit.) I was MORTIFIED.
So after decades of trying this deodorant and that one, from the ultra powerful Clinical Super Aluminum varieties to the sweet-smelling tropical teen products, and everything in between, I became seriously depressed about ever being able to stop sweaty (and stinky) armpits. Seriously. Depressed.
THEN I read about all the chemicals that may cause potential health problems, and I was just ready to give it all up and go au naturale. But, I wasn't yet ready to bring myself to go there because of smell. I decided to try out the “natural” deodorants in the health stores. I have to be honest. They really didn’t work well for me. From crystal deodorants, to Tom’s, to a slew of different brands---And THEN I discovered that even some of these had some of those “other” chemicals (like TEA) embedded in them as well.
Can you trust anyone?
I decided to do some more research.
How Do Antiperspirants and Deodorants Work?
Antiperspirants contain chemicals that contain aluminum based compounds. The ions in these compounds serve to block or clog the sweat ducts in your skin’s pores. They do this by entering the cells, swelling, and therefore closing or blocking the pores. This causes you not to sweat (as much). There are many names manufacturers use for the word “aluminum.” Sometimes the ingredient will actually contain the word aluminum, however, there are ways of disguising the fact that aluminum is an ingredient, so consumers are sometimes duped.
Deodorants are added to most antiperspirants. They are generally chemicals that neutralize smell or just cover it up. Most people it seems, choose to use anti-perspirants these days, since there is two-for-one action going on---less sweat, less stink.
Some Things to Sweat About
Besides the fact that chemicals are being applied to our largest organ, the skin, (which may have something to do with dangerous diseases and health risks), there is even more to worry about than just that!
1. Your Body Needs to Sweat
Did you know that sweating is GOOD for you? Our bodies were made to sweat!
We sweat in order to cool down, for one! With a lessened ability to sweat, our bodies sweat in other places besides our pits! The fact is, we MUST sweat---
Besides being our first cooling process, sweating is one way our bodies release toxins from our system. It needs to happen every day! Your armpits are one of the main sweat points on the body, and by blocking this up, toxins are more likely to be stuck---that is, stored away in our body.
Where do these toxins get stored? They end up being stored primarily in fat cells (cellulite or weight gain anyone?), they clog up or over power our filtering systems (liver and kidneys), or end up being stored in other areas. Besides cellulite and weight gain, this toxic build up presents itself in a huge range of health problems including acne, bloating and gas, chronic disease, possible mental/emotional problems, and possibly cancer. I say "possibly" because the research is just now clear.
Blocking your pores in your pits may also cause skin eruptions in this area! Cysts, boils, and sensitivity problems, etc. are common in people who use commercial deodorants/anti-perspirants and are thus not able to sweat normally.
2. So How "Safe" is Antiperspirant, Really?
The aluminum used in deodorants has allegedly been linked to a variety of health concerns. From breast cancer to Alzheimer’s Disease to kidney disease, aluminum has been blamed. Some doctors believe that you can’t absorb enough aluminum through your skin to harm yourself. And the research studies have been inconclusive or have lacked definitive evidence to link aluminum to any of these health issues. The World Health Organization has, however, found that people with higher frequencies of using deodorants/anti-perspirants have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Still, there is just no clear link between aluminum and kidney, mental, or cancer diseases. Frankly, why take a chance? Clear out the aluminum, I say!
In addition to aluminum, there are legions of other suspect ingredients to worry about! These include but are not limited to parabens, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, colorants, talc, and more. These additional ingredients are believed by some to be correlated to breast cancer, allergies, kidney and liver damage, and other cancers. Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens, neurotoxins, or just plain toxic. If you take the time to research each of these ingredients in depth, you will most likely, like myself, be shocked and horrified.
Confusing? It is for me!
It is definitely a challenge for the average consumer to determine just how safe a product is when manufacturers are often not clear or truthful about what is being added to products and what the potential harmful effects may be. So, although the research is inconclusive, I would say to err on the side of safety.
So What Should You Do About Your Deodorant?
In two words: Go Green!
How to Find a “Natural” Deodorant
Here is what I do when I'm trying to find a natural product: I read the label, and if I don’t know for sure what each ingredient is and does, then I just try not to use it. I may once in awhile Google or research an ingredient, but sometimes even that doesn't provide enough information. Usually, though, I find it is something I don't want on my skin. So, if I can't identify everything in it, it's a no-go.
Unfortunately, just about every product on store shelves these days has unidentifiable chemicals.
Finally, I started looking into DIY Recipes for Natural Deodorant. I figured I should be able to just make my own!
That’s when I found a handmade deodorant containing just five ingredients: baking soda, arrowroot powder, coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. WOW! I knew what all of those were! So I gave it a try. My first try with handmade deodorants came from the Crunchy Betty website, in case you want to take a look. Highly informative and great recipes too.
Here is what I found out:
My skin is allergic to coconut oil.
I found this out by using not only the natural handmade deodorant I purchased from an etsy seller, but also because in experimenting with making my own lotions and creams, my skin was itchy and actually more dry than before using it. How could this be?
I finally isolated the problem to the coconut oil. I know that coconut oil is supposed to be the wonder oil of the century, but for me (and others, I have found) it didn’t work because my skin is allergic. Therefore, even if it was a great handmade and natural deodorant, if it contained coconut oil---it was a No Go.
I also found out that homemade deodorant actually DID work!
Once I took care of the coconut oil issue, and played around with the recipe, I discovered sheer DEODORANT BLISS!
Homemade deodorant works WAY better than the commercial products! I think the essential oils used in the product really did more than make it smell good. They happen to be oils that are antibacterial and antiseptic, so any bacteria on my skin was annihilated and therefore can't cause odor! Awesome!
And best of all, I found that after using it over time, I actually sweat LESS than before! I still sweat, but it is no longer a big problem. I think my body has been able to get back to normal. I am now confident that I won’t have to deal with that huge sweat stain under my pits and an overworked body trying to get rid of extra toxins. I have been commercially deodorant/antiperspirant free for about two whole years now! And LIFE IS GOOD. :-)
Here is a recipe that I use.
Once in awhile I will change up the essential oils, however, I have found that those essential oils that help to neutralize odor causing agents (like lavender, tea tree oil, frankincense, patchouli, etc) work best for me.
Heidi's Au Naturale Deodorant Recipe
(If you have purchased my "Pure Pits" Deodorant online through www.coldcreeknaturals.etsy.com in the past, this is the actual recipe I use!)
If you would like this recipe along with pictures here you go!
Ingredients for Natural Deodorant (sans Coconut Oil):
3 tbsp Shea Butter
2 1/2 tbsp Baking Soda
3 tbsp Arrowroot powder
2 tbsp Cocoa Butter
About 3 drops or so Vitamin E oil
About 20 to 30 drops of your choice of Essential Oils
(I really love Lavender and Patchouli or Lavender and Frankincense combos myself. Once in awhile I like to use Tangerine Essential Oil, but I always add in a little Tea Tree or Lavender because the Tangerine seems to do very little for odor.)
Directions for How to Make Your Own Deodorant:
1. Place the Butters in a double boiler (I just use a quart or pint Mason jar in a pan filled with about 1 or 2 inches or so of cold-to-start water, then bring the water to a low low simmer. You do not need a lot of heat to melt the butters, and if it gets too hot, the Mason jar may actually break--I've had this happen....So LOW heat, please!
2. Once the butters are melted, I remove from the heat and very quickly stir in the powders and the Vitamin E oil. By that time, it's cooled a little bit, so I then drop in the essential oils and stir stir stir.
3. Pour into your container! I place my containers in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour because these butters take a long time to set up. The extra cold really helps!
This recipe makes about 4 ounces of beautiful, great-smelling natural, green deodorant for your pits and your health!!!!
Hugs & Self-Reliance! Enjoy the Journey!
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You can find this article and LOTS more from other homesteaders HERE.