Natural Deodorants ~ Tips for Making the Switch – True Goods
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  • Natural Deodorants ~ Tips for Making the Switch
  • Elizabeth Wasserman
Natural Deodorants ~ Tips for Making the Switch

We all sweat, it’s human nature.

Some of us have more of the Niagara Falls downpour in our underarms while lucky others daintily glisten. Bottom line, it happens to us all. What we all do about it, and the subsequent smell, can vary from person to person. Some of us opt for a classic deodorant stick, some for an antiperspirant, and others for a deodorant of a natural variety.

These various forms of preventing B.O. and unwanted sweat work in different ways. Antiperspirants can sometimes shrink or clog the sweat glands in your underarms to prevent the release of sweat. Studies have proven that sweat glands are then prevented from releasing toxins from your body. Antiperspirants’ active ingredient includes aluminum compounds, which can build up in your brain and have been linked to Alzheimer’s in recent years. Deodorants, on the other hand, only fight bacteria and add scent to the underarm rather than try to prevent the initial sweat.

Our recommendation is to make the switch.

Retire the antiperspirant and pick up a strictly deodorant, but don’t let the “natural” label fool you, there are chemicals in those too that need to be avoided. Making the switch, as many of you may know, is not always as easy as it sounds. As you switch, those antiperspirant clogged armpits are going to start opening up and working as they’re meant to. In the process, you might find yourself in “detox” mode. What this means? You might stink. Unfortunately folks, this is the cold hard truth. Your body needs to rid itself of all of the toxins and debris that have built up over the years in your underarms. But don’t give up! It’s not permanent. Stick with it and follow this easy guide to making the switch:

1. Test.  Try out a new deodorant product for at least a week before you decide if it’s right for you.

2. Detox your pits! If you've been using an antiperspirant, there's a bunch of "gunk" in the underarms - dead skin cells, chemical residue, etc..Before your shower, dry-brush your underarm skin to loosen this buildup and to gently increase circulation. In the shower, lightly rub a loofah or exfoliating bath mitt on your underarms. Stay away from anti-bacterial detergents for cleaning, only using true natural soaps.

3. Sweat it out. Exercise. Use a sauna. Take hot showers and baths. These things will make you perspire and get your sweat glands functioning properly again. You may notice your underarm sweat being a little thick. This is because the sweat glands in your armpits are different from others on your body. Instead of just water and salt, these glands excrete amino acids. Your glands haven't been able to excrete these amino acids for a while, so there may be a buildup of mucus being released.

4. Stay hydrated. With all this sweating you need to replace your fluids!

5. Clothing Matters. Natural fibers like cotton, bamboo and hemp will help wick perspiration away from your body. Synthetic fibers like acetate and polyester trap sweat in, giving bacteria a warm wet place to live. Synthetic fibers also hold sweat in the fabric, so bacteria actually starts growing on your shirt itself.

6. Cut the red meat.  Many claim that the consumption of red meat increases body odor. In 2006, a group of researchers in the Czech Republic put the theory to the test. The collected the perspiration of males, meat eating and non-meat eaters. They then had women judge the odor of the perspiration by a number of factors. What did they find? "Results showed that the odor of donors on the non-meat diet was judged as significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense."

Now, have you given yourself a pep-talk and are you ready to make the switch? Fantastic! When shopping for a new deodorant be sure to steer clear of the following ingredients:

  • Propylene Glycol: a penetration enhancer, actually breaking down your skins natural protective barrier and enters your bloodstream, bringing any other chemicals along with it.
  • Fragrance: may contain phthalates that are proven hormone disruptors, particularly affecting the way the female hormone estrogen works in your body (in men, women, and children). 
  • Tetrasodium EDTA: made from sodium cyanide (a toxic salt) and formaldehyde (a carcinogen). 
  • Synthetic Colors: (e.g., FD&C Yellow, D&C Green) made from coal tar, and can be skin irritants, hormone disruptors, and formaldehyde donors.
  • Diazolidinyl Urea: a skin and immune system toxin, and has been shown to cause cancer in some studies. Commonly sourced as an extract from animal urine. 
  • Triethanolamine (TEA): made from ethylene oxide, a known carcinogen.
  • Parabens: (methyl, ethyl, propyl, iso, etc.) can cause skin irritation and allergies and has been shown in many studies to be a hormone disruptor. 
  • Quaternium-15: a preservative that can contain formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Bronopol: breaks down to create the carcinogens formaldehyde and nitrosamines according to the FDA. 
  • Octoxynol & Nonoxynol: hormone disruptors and should be avoided by children and pregnant women in particular.
  • Triclosan: shown to cause liver damage and hormone disruption.
  • Ceteareth-20 (or 12): used as a thickener and can be contaminated with carcinogens such as ethylene oxide and dioxane. It is also a neurotoxin, a skin irritant, and has been deemed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review an ingredient not safe for use on injured or damaged skin.

~ Special thanks to Bubble & Bee Organic who authored the original post from which this has been adapted. ~

  • Elizabeth Wasserman