Deodorant isn’t something that we think about too much – it’s a convenient, habitual product we use every day. Without too much thought we chose a product that works best for us; that is one that gives us peace of mind that we won’t be sweaty or smelly. Easy. But have you ever really thought about what is in your deodorant? What gives it that pleasant smell and more importantly, why aren’t you sweating?
What is sweat?
First lets look at why we do sweat – sweat is one of the primary ways in which the body cools itself. When we sweat the moisture evaporates and that cools us down a bit. Another reason for sweating is to allow the body to detox – it’s the natural way our body eliminates excess toxins.
What’s the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant?
The basic difference between the two is that a deodorant helps to prevent unwanted odour, but still allows the body to sweat. An antiperspirant is designed to stop the body from sweating by blocking the sweat from reaching the skin. It’s the aluminium in the antiperspirant that allows this to happen as it blocks the pores so sweat cannot pass through.
Aluminium as well as other ingredients have been a cause for concern as they have been linked to certain health issues such as breast cancer and Alzheimer's.
What are the ingredients to look out for?
Aluminium - is a known neurotoxin. Its also linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Parabens – disrupt our hormonal balance, which can lead to things like early puberty in children and an increased risk of hormonal cancers. Also linked to birth defects and organ toxicity.
Propylene glycol – can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart.
Phthalates – linked to a higher risk of birth defects. May disrupt hormone receptors, increase likelihood of cell mutation.
Triclosan – classified as a pesticide by the FDA. Also classed as a probable carcinogen by the EPA.
What can we do?
In our busy lives we don’t always have time to think about every single ingredient in our skin care products but when you see how many potentially harmful chemicals can be found in just one of these products maybe this is something we should make more of an effort to do. There are plenty of natural alternatives out there, so try some out and see which on works best for you. I know that personally I would prefer to use a product that contains natural ingredients and if given the choice I’d avoid aluminium completely. It's especially a concern for us girls – because we are more likely to shave our armpits and possibly nick them while doing so, this allows the chemicals to be absorbed even more by our skin.
I like to have two deodorants – a roll on and a spray – and use whichever I feel I need that day. The roll on is more for everyday use, and I'd use the spray after I exercise or if I'm going out for the night as I feel it gives me a slightly better protection. I love the unscented roll on by Jason and the Lavender and Aloe Vera spray by Neals Yard – both keep my dry and help stop any nasty odours.
Beauty does require some sacrifices but I don't believe our health should be one of them. Since researchers have concluded that the cumulative effect of using a regular deodorant could be damaging to your health, maybe it's time to take notice of the ingredient list on your current product.