Let’s face it, when it comes to sweat, using the wrong product can be an absolute pain. It doesn’t work, you feel gross, sweat stains show up, and you start to smell. But did you know that the pain from the wrong deodorant can extend well beyond embarrassment?
There are many harmful chemicals found within most commercial deodorants and antiperspirants that cause detrimental health effects.
Thankfully, you don’t have to reach for commercial products to stay protected. Many natural solutions are gentle on your skin and body, without the damage. Keep reading to find out the truth behind commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants.
Deodorants Vs. Anti-Perspirants - What’s The Difference?
You’ve heard both terms before, but do you know the difference between the two?
While both products work to protect against offensive odors, deodorant and antiperspirant are very different.
If you typically use deodorant, you may have noticed that while you smell fresh, wetness still shows up on hot days or after a vigorous workout. That’s because it doesn’t stop sweat from forming, it simply masks the smell typically associated with it.
Antiperspirant, on the other hand, works to keep you smelling fresh and clean, it helps control sweat too. The active ingredient in antiperspirants is normally aluminum, which blocks the sweat ducts under your arms.
What Are Deodorants and Anti-Perspirants Made From?
These products are applied daily to the skin. Therefore, understanding what they are made from is important to our overall health.
So to help you understand further, let’s take a look at 5 common ingredients found within most deodorants or antiperspirants.
Aluminum is found in antiperspirants and is added as a chemical to block sweat and moisture from showing.
The aluminum is rubbed over the sweat glands on the skin acting as a barrier. When the aluminum encounters sweat, aluminum salts separate from the compound, forming a plug over the sweat gland.
Although sweat will continue to form beneath the skin, it won’t be able to reach the surface due to the aluminum salts.
Some may worry that blocking sweat glands is dangerous, especially since your sweat flushes a large number of toxins from your body. However, blocking the sweat glands in our armpits will not lead to any buildup of biological waste since your body has other sweat glands that will simply take over.
With that said, the real issue with blocked sweat glands is that they become prone to infection, especially in areas of the body like our armpits, where sweat and bacteria is an everyday occurrence.
Parabens have been integrated into cosmetic and body care products (including your deodorant) since the 1920s.
Simply put, they are a synthetic or man-made chemical that is used as a preservative within many products. They are typically used to prevent fungus, microbes, and bacteria from growing inside product packaging.
Typically found in both deodorants and antiperspirants, triclosan is an antibacterial chemical.
It works by killing any odor-causing germs on the skin (in a similar way that acne medication kills bacteria on the face). As a result, you are less likely to smell funky after sweating since the odor-causing bacteria has been destroyed.
Phthalates are a common chemical in most personal care products, especially in antiperspirants and deodorants. Phthalates are mostly used as a preservative to help extend a product’s shelf life.
Although many people understand why fragrances are added, they aren’t nearly that simple to define.
Often the “smell” of a product is part of a brand's concealed information, leaving out the extensive ingredient lists due to proprietary information. This means that virtually any number of chemicals and ingredients can be concocted under the guise of fragrance, without consumers having the slightest indication of what those are.
In fact, many fragrances are known to contain up to 200 chemically-engineered compounds that the manufacturer doesn’t have to divulge since it’s considered as proprietary.
The Dangers of Commercial Deodorants and Antiperspirants
Now that you understand why these chemicals are added to commercially-produced deodorants and antiperspirants, let’s take a closer look at how these 5 chemicals can impact our health and wellbeing after extended use.
- While many products may contain limited amounts of chemicals considered to be within “safe limits”, it is the long-term, cumulative exposure from using several different products that can overload our bodies and contribute to a much wider range of health problems.
- One of the most concerning properties of parabens is the ability to absorb directly into the skin. Parabens are known for being hormone impersonators, imitating estrogen in the body. It has been shown that long-term exposure to parabens has a direct link with breast cancer.
- Numerous studies have shown triclosan is also known for being an endocrine disruptor, which means it can interfere with the body’s hormonal signaling or mimic hormones within the body. Additionally, triclosan is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Phthalates don’t discriminate on gender and can impact both male and female bodies equally. For females, the use of phthalates has been associated with early-onset puberty, a condition that correlates strongly to an increased breast cancer risk later in life. More commonly in men, phthalates can impact and disrupt the endocrine system, responsible for sexual function, growth and development, mood, and reproduction.
- The biggest factor in fragrances in deodorants and antiperspirants is how little is disclosed. Companies are covered through secret formulas, keeping vital information from the public as a result. Phthalates, synthetic substances, and other harmful man-made chemicals can be added to these mixtures under the cover of “fragrance” without being properly identified.
Natural Deodorant And Anti-Perspirant Alternatives
Now that you’re aware of the risks associated with using commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants, let’s take a look at a few simple, safe, and natural alternatives.
If you’re looking for a safer, store-bought alternative, make sure to look for natural deodorants that contain diatomaceous earth, a soft, naturally-occurring compound made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic lifeforms known as diatoms.
Being almost perfectly pH neutral means that diatomaceous earth won’t leave your skin feeling dry or irritated.
Deodorants that contain this substance offer naturally-occurring moisture absorption and odor-eliminating properties, making it an ideal alternative to commercial products.
Made from all-natural Himalayan salt, salt eggs work as an anti-bacterial and antiviral. They leave an invisible barrier on the skin that prevents odors by breaking down bacteria.
To use, simply wet the egg and apply a thin layer over clean skin, allowing it to air dry.
Vegan-friendly, chemical-free, and organic, salt eggs are a natural solution for your deodorant needs.
You are what you eat, and what you eat has a direct impact on how your body responds throughout the day.
Therefore, a diet of healthy, clean eating and better lifestyle choices can improve detoxification in the body, helping to limit body odor. Likewise, drinking plenty of water dilutes toxins and waste, naturally flushing the system.
Avoid Using Baking Soda
Although some may suggest using baking soda in place of deodorant, you may want to reconsider.
Baking soda is a very alkaline base and your skin is naturally slightly acidic, which means a chemical reaction will occur when they combine. This reaction can leave your skin more vulnerable to dryness, infection, and sun damage.
the scented bohemian’sSensitive Skin Pit Paste
For yet another amazingly safe, natural, and effective way to prevent those embarrassing body odors, check out the scented bohemian’s Sensitive Skin Pit Paste!
Available in Regular and Extra Strength, these all-natural deodorants are strong enough to cover up and block odor, but still soft, and gentle enough for use on even the most sensitive skin. Our carefully selected formulas offer both antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which will keep you smelling fresh all day long.
the scented bohemian’s Sensitive Skin Pit Paste doesn’t block your pores as commercial antiperspirants do. Instead, they allow the good bacteria already present on your skin to do their job, helping prevent odor even after your deodorant has worn off.