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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wholesome Wednesday: Deodorant

While researching natural products several years ago, the one product I became the most concerned about was deodorant. Aluminum is one of the ingredients that I am most concerned about, as it is linked to brain disorders, Alzheimers, and possibly cancer.

The problem with deodorants and antiperspirants is not only the aluminum, but how it works to reduce sweat and odors. Aluminum compounds are key ingredients in almost all antiperspirants and most deodorants. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body. Antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms. What's more, antiperspirants are designed to be absorbed; which means that the aluminum and many other chemicals are taken into the body and may affect the lymphatic systems, as well as being a potential risk factor in breast cancer.

I am especially concerned about deodorants right after shaving the underarms as you are exposing any small nicks and cuts to the chemicals and while breastfeeding, as the chemicals may enter your breast milk in one way or another (milk glands run right up into your underarms). I don't feel comfortable putting that into my body, or my baby's body.

Several years ago I switched to natural deodorants that use more herbs and oils than chemicals. I especially make sure that they contain no aluminum. The two brands that I have liked best are "Kiss My Face" deodorants and "Tom's Of Maine". I stick mainly to Tom's of Maine because it is more cost effective and I can find it at most stores, including Walgreens and Walmart. My favorite is the Tom's of Maine Original Care in Calendula. It smells like fresh linens and works all day! Sometimes at the very end of the day I will start to smell a slight odor (TMI?!) but I used to have that issue with regular deodorant as well, especially in summer. So I can say that it really does work just as well as regular deodorant. It costs around $4.50 depending on where you purchase it but one deodorant will last around 6 months so I find it to be very cost effective.

There are other ways to battle the odors without using antiperspirants and deodorants but I haven't tried them. Some just apply a bit of dry baking soda under their arms and swear it keeps them dry and odor free. I read recently of someone who cuts a very thin slice of lemon each day and rubs it underneath her arm and says that it works. It sounds like too much work for me (keeping the lemon in the fridge, slicing it each day) and more expensive (lemons cost a lot and a six month supply would have to cost more than $4.50). But it is probably a more natural approach because it is just one ingredient...lemons! There are crystal rocks that are supposed to work when wet and rubbed under the arms. None have been tested by me but it goes to show that there are several options when it comes to switching to a better way to stay fresh and clean...and safe and natural.

Any comments or questions?


  1. The ablsolute best deodorant I have EVER used is:

    6 T. coconut oil
    1/4 cup baking soda
    1/4 cup cornstarch

    Melt the coconut oil then mix with the soda and cornstarch. It will harden but just dig it out with your fingernail and put it under your arm. It will melt as soon as it touches your skin. You will NEVER smell again. Everyone who tries this says it's the best deodorant they have ever tried. Your shirts never smell. It's awesome.

  2. Elizabeth,

    So true. As a Chiropractor by profession I constantly strive to use healthy products (my biggest issue is with cleaners). Toms of Maine is great.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Oops, mis-spelled several words in my comment above. Let's see if I can do better this time!

    Anonymous- Where do you find your coconut oil at?

    Jamie- I totally agree that cleaners make me nervous as well. I plan on having a post about that soon. :) I think that a lot of what we put on our bodies, put in our food, and use in our homes are slowly killing us. It's kind of scary when chemicals are everywhere!

  5. I switched to Toms of Main in lavendar last year when I realized I couldn't clean my old Secret deodorant off my underarms. It grossed me out! I love my Toms!

  6. A couple of thoughts:
    1)If you are having a problem with smelling yucky, it is your body getting rid of toxins and such. If you are healthy and fairly cleaned out, you will not smell bad.

    2)You should only use deodorants. Do not use antipersprints (I need spell check!). They plug you up.

    3)If I am not going anywhere, I do not use any deodorants. The less you put on the less your body has to get rid of.

  7. Have you heard of Melaleuca? My FIL sells it and it's all natural cleaning products, body wash/soap/hygiene products, makeup, laundry stuff, anything along those lines. I like it because it's all natural so I don't have to worry about the about the chemicals that are in so many things.

  8. I like to use the crystal deodorant right when I get out of the shower. It seems to work and when I am not going anywhere, I use nothing and no odor. I too have sold Melaleuca but I smell horrible at the end of the day using theur Naturals deodorant. I find that it requires daily use, maybe even twice daily.

  9. I've been using baking soda for a long time and love it - works great, no smell and I stay fresh all day long. Much better then regular deodorant.

    About a month ago I experimented with making some deodorant for my teenagers, similar to what a previous poster mentioned, but my ratios are different: 1/4 c. baking soda, 1/4 c. corn starch, 2 T. coconut oil. We put it in empty deodorant dispensers and we're all very happy with this solution. :)

  10. ok I know this post is old, but you linked to it in today's post so I just found it and wanted to comment. I do use traditional store bought deodorant but I also like this http://preview.tinyurl.com/yf6mw6p it's basically just salt. You wet it and apply. It really works well AND one stick of deodorant will last about a year. $5-$6 for a year's worth of deodorant isn't a bad deal either. It's unscented, works well for men and women. I also apply it to the bottom of my feet sometimes.



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