We don't talk about our armpits nearly enough in this culture. Oh sure, we might talk about deodorant. Who's wearing it, why they are wearing it, how much they are wearing, what brand. But we don't talk about the dangers of conventional antiperspirant and we certainly don't talk enough about natural deodorant and how much it can help with our general health.
Recently, I made the switch to natural deodorant from my usual Secret anti-perspirant. I was a hard sell on this. First, I am very sensitive to smell. Second, I sweat a lot. Like a lot. I spend usually about two hours a day working out, either running or hot yoga and very often both. Sometimes I leave the gym drenched as though I took a shower in my clothing. My deodorant has to work over time.
I am very invested in using a product that keeps me from smelling and had been loyal to Secret since I was about 14. But I have also been disturbed by what I read about deodorant with antiperspirant.
There are a coule reasons to fear antiperspirant.
These are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants. They mimic estrogen, which may be a cause of breast cancer. Parabens are usually easy to identify by name, such as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.
Aluminum-based compounds are the active ingredient in antiperspirants. They form a temporary plug that stops the flow of sweat. There have been studies showing that these are absorbed through the skin and have an estrogen-like effect on women, especially so close to the breast. This is very frightening and while cancer.gov says it is not definitive, I don't want to take any chances.
This is a known carcinogen. Yikes.
The Environmental Working Group reports that this additive (also known as anti-freeze) carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies.
The jury is still out on whether or not these claims and studies have true merit. But as a woman who lost her mother young to breast cancer, I am not taking any chances. So I decided to shake things up. Starting about a month ago, I made the switch to natural deodorant.
At first, I was not impressed. I was using the Lavilin deodorant so many people had recommended. At $16, the price point was bothersome and while the smell was amazing, the warning to only reapply every "72 hours" seemed ominous. Can anything really last that long given my level of activity? It turns out that, no. It cannot. And so I reapplied after my shower. And the next day, too. And by the third day I had raw, itchy, red skin. Ouch.
On the advice of a friend, I then tried Bubble and Bee pit putty. At $11, it is still pricier than my Secret brand antiperspirant, but I really enjoyed the smell (I got the spearmint, tea tree oil). It took a while to work. Like about three days. And I certainly did not go on as smoothly as the non-natural stuff (think crumbled bits all over my bathroom floor all the time). But it worked. It really worked. I smell fine without chemicals! No rash or discomfort! It's a miracle!
Many people swear by armpit detox to help the process of eliminating stink along. It involves making a mask for your armpit out of apple cider vinegar, water, and a special kind of clay. Truly, though, I found I didn't need it. When I do feel like I smell, I just swipe some witch hazel under my arms and reapply the pit putty.
I am very excited by these changes and especially by the fact that I am no longer exposed to the toxins I once was. Of course, it is also winter. Next week I am off to Nicaragua for two weeks. That will be the real test. If my deodorant can take several days of 100 degree weather, hiking, surfing, and yoga, then it really is a miracle.
Have you tried natural deodorant? Did it work?
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