Most of us are constantly on the go – in a flurry to shower and get dressed, rushing to take the kids to day care or school, scrambling to catch the train to work, rushing to get to the gym, and so on. It is not easy and I don’t know about you, but I do rely on my deodorant to get me through all that heavy lifting each day without smelling like it. When I started my first job just out of college, I tried every deodorant, consciously picking the ones that had the highest concentration of aluminum – after all, it is the ingredient identified on the label as the anti-perspirant. That it may be bad for my health never occurred to me at that young and naive age – after all, the government would not allow anything dangerous in any of the products we use, right?
It was not until I committed to eating an organic / natural diet (which was not as “mainstream” back then as it is today) that I started looking at products that I put on my body. Most contained parabens, DMDM Hydantoin, mineral oil, aluminum and other unpronounceable ingredients – I had heard of most of them or, as in the case of aluminum, knew what they were, but never before considered their potential effect. Then I started reading and could not believe most of what I found. These chemicals can cause a wide range of ailments, from simple skin allergies to cancer. And I was rubbing them into my skin to make it softer or prevent it from releasing any sweat.
As I gradually eliminated these hazardous ingredients from my medicine cabinet and replaced all my skin care products with certified natural and organic ones from brands such as Dr. Hauscka and Weleda, my deodorant was one of the last ones to go. Why? Because some of these chemicals do what they promise to do and the natural alternatives are not always as effective, even if they are much better for our health.
Eventually I banished all aluminum containing deodorants too – and here is why: not only is aluminum likely to cause skin, eye, and upper respiratory tract irritation, it can also affect our metabolism and muscle behavior. Most worrisome for me, however, was the news that deodorants containing aluminum may also increase the risk of breast cancer! See “Aluminium in human breast tissue”. J. Inorg. Biochem. 101 (9): 1344–6. doi:10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2007.06.005., at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17629949. Doctors tested breast tissue following mastectomies for aluminum and found the metal present, especially in the outer regions of the breast. It’s mere presence alone was enough to make me look for healthier alternatives with more gusto – after all, I had been applying this toxin almost next to my breast. Did I already cause harm? Whatever the answer may be to that question, I was sure that I did not want to cause any going forward, sweat stain or not.
I tested one natural deodorant after the other, most ending in disappointment. I eventually found one that works for me and I am sure you will come across one that is perfect for you. Your health is worth the effort, especially if you consider that aluminum may also contribute to the development of Alzheimers. See “Aluminum as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease”. Rev Lat Am Enfermagem 16 (1): 151–7. PMID 18392545), athttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18392545.
See also the Supplet post on Toxin Free Deodorant.
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