Deodorant is one of those essential items we use daily, on one of the most sensitive parts of our body. Our armpits are especially sensitive to toxins because there are lymph nodes located just below the surface of the skin, which are an important part of our immune system. Our skin absorbs some of the harmful chemicals in our deodorant and they will then be distributed by our blood and lymphatic system throughout our bodies.
And that's concerning, because many mainstream deodorants and anti-perspirants contain a cocktail of toxic chemicals which have been linked many chronic diseases. Unfortunately, many studies only look at the effects of short-term use, but when you consider most of us are using deodorant up to a few times a day, the cumulative effect of these toxins over a lifetime is troubling.
Toxic ingredients found in deodorant
- Aluminium – The active ingredient in most commercial deodorants and antiperspirants, this metal acts a plug, blocking sweat from leaving the skin. Aluminium has been linked to both cancer and Alzheimer’s.
- Phthalates – Common in the cosmetics industry, this known endocrine disruptor can cause hormonal imbalance issues.
- Triclosan – Classified as a pesticide, this ingredient can also cause rashes and is a suspected carcinogen.
- Propylene Glycol – Considered a neurotoxin, this chemical may cause kidney and liver damage.
- Formaldehyde – While this known carcinogen kills bacteria, it is also linked to cancer.
- Parabens – This common cosmetic ingredient mimics oestrogen in the body, and has been known to contribute to hormone imbalances and increase the risk of breast cancer.
Why sweat is a good thing
Deodorants using toxic ingredients such as aluminium, are designed to block your sweat pores and actually prevent your body from doing it's job. Sweat actually has really positive benefits for us as one of the key ways our body detoxifies, and also contains antibiotic-rich serum which is a highly effective mechanism for killing off pathogens which might otherwise cause internal infection.
The benefit of natural deodorants
They actually work - Gone are the days of ineffective natural alternatives, that only really masked odour and required constant re-applying through-out the day. New natural deodorant formulas have been developed which really do the job and only need one application to keep you smelling fresh all day long.
Good for you - the first benefit of switching to a natural deodorant is the immediate decrease in your toxic load. Using a deodorant with 100% natural ingredients will mean you can give your armpits and lymph nodes a break from absorbing all those toxic ingredients.
You'll also start to sweat again, and allow your body to detox some of those toxins that have accumulated. This will also start to restore your bodies natural bacterial balance and immune system.
Good for your clothes - the number cause for armpit stains on you clothing? Aluminium. By switching to natural deodorant, you will reduce the amount of clothes ruined by yellow stains.
Good for the planet - one of the other problems with synthetic chemicals is that many of them do not break-down once they are washed off your skin, and end up as environmental pollutants in our waterways. Whereas natural ingredients will typically break-down more quickly.
Also try to choose a natural deodorant in a recyclable or biodegradable packaging to help break our reliance on polluting plastic.
Good for rabbits - By choosing a natural deodorant which has not been tested on animals (look for the Cruelty-free Australia logo), you can help stop testing of deodorants on sweet, innocent animals.
Making the transition to natural deodorants
While some people find the transition to natural deodorant easy, others find that after years of using toxic deodorant products, they can develop a rash or bad odour after switching to natural deodorant. This is because the chemicals used to prevent sweating and odour in mainstream deodorant will alter the bacterial balance of your armpit and actually make you smell worse. Rashes can occur as your lymph nodes and sweat glands are no longer blocked, they are actually able to release toxins, causing skin irritation. So once you switch to natural deodorants, it may take a little time for your skin to re-gain it's balance.
To help with the transition, we recommend keeping hydrated and shaving at night to avoid applying deodorant to irritated skin. Some people may also find our Skin Rescue balm helpful to apply in the evening to help soothe skin and support your armpit detox.
You can check-out some of our Natural Deodorant alternatives here to start your pit detox and make the switch to natural easy.