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?