Benefits of Natural Aluminum Free Deodorants
Ever since deodorant manufacturers convinced women in the early 1900’s that they would not possibly be able to bag a guy with sweaty armpits, deodorants have been the mainstay in the toilet of men and women.
While the initial products in the category were so acidic that they would burn a hole right through your clothes, the modern day offerings are seemingly safer for sweaty pits and clothes, or are they?
So, what does that roll on or spray on deodorant contain?
Most of us pick deodorants and antiperspirants based on their fragrance or the lack of it, depending on our olfactory preferences. Seldom do we pause to ponder over what has gone into the making of that spray can or roll on stick. Apparently, however, some people have been taking notice of the indiscriminate use of aluminum salts in these body odor controlling preparations.
While aluminum is abundantly found on earth, it has no reason to be inside your body. And are you sending it inside your cells by using aluminum laced deodorants? Yes, you are. The skin cells in the armpits quickly absorb the chemically active form of aluminum which is used in all deodorants except for those that claim to be organic.
Why are they putting aluminum in your antiperspirants?
Before discussing the two fold purpose that aluminum serves, it is important to understand that despite being used interchangeably deodorants and antiperspirants are not the same product. Deodorants make you smell good by addressing the bacterial accumulation in the moist, warm environment of the armpit. In contrast, antiperspirants block the pores in the armpits thereby stopping the secretion of sweat.
Aluminum is a common ingredient in both these products; it is a highly toxic substance that is used in deodorants to kill the microorganisms that thrive in the armpits. As far as antiperspirants go, the tiny molecules of the aluminum salts used travel inside the pores of the skin and block the secretion of the sweat ducts, so you have desert dry armpits and no more ungainly sweat stains on your clothes.
Great, so aluminum based products are working, why do I need a natural, aluminum free deodorant?
Maybe you missed the bit about aluminum being highly toxic or that through skin applications, you are allowing this toxic substance unhindered access into your body. There are two opposing schools of thought on the impact of aluminum on the body.
Although several studies point to just how detrimental aluminum can be, there are still those who believe that the instances of breast cancer, renal problems, and Alzheimer’s cannot be all attributed to the use of aluminum containing deodorants.
The fact is that nobody knows exactly how this toxic substance impacts the body once it enters the system. So, the question is this- are you willing to take the risk? Besides, common sense says that anything that prevents the body from functioning normally is bound to cause harm. Let us take the case of antiperspirants, they stop sweating by blocking the ducts through which the sweat travels to the surface of the skin.
Now, yucky factor aside, there is a reason why we sweat! Not only does sweating help in regulating body temperature but also it is the body’s way of purging out toxins from the skin cells and within. Once this excretory channel is blocked, these toxins have only one place to go, back inside the body. Even if all of this is discounted, this is a toxic substance and you are liberally spraying it on your skin.
Is there a risk of skin reactions and allergies? You bet; not to mention that with its effect of thwarting the sweat producing mechanism, antiperspirants directly impact the lymphatic system in the body. Unfortunately, the manufacturers are not stopping at just aluminum; they increase the toxicity of these formulas by adding other chemical substances which are known to wreak havoc on our health.
The toxic cocktail in your deodorants
Along with aluminum compounds, the ingredients list of your antiperspirants will frequently include:
- Parabens: Whether it is ethyl, butyl, methyl, propyl or benzyl, all parabens are environmental toxins which can cause endocrine disruptions, cancer, premature aging, reproductive problems, immune system issues and allergies.
- Phthalates: This substance heightens the risk of cancer, allergies, birth defects and infertility
- Propylene glycol: This is a common ingredient not only in deodorants but also scores of other topical products. It not only causes irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs but also it is linked to liver and kidney damage. If that was not enough, this chemical is a potent neurotoxin for the human reproductive and immune systems. Unfortunately, the addition of propylene glycol is meant to enhance the skin absorption of the product.
- Silica: This is a possible carcinogenic or cancer causing substance if it is contaminated with crystalline quartz. It is also known to cause dermatological reactions and it irritates the eyes and the lungs.
- Talc: Another carcinogenic substance, regular talc becomes dangerous only when it contains asbestiform fibers. However, even on its own it can lead to non reproductive organ toxicity.
- Steareths: This substance causes endocrine issues and skin irritations along with reproductive and development problems.
- Triclosan: This is an antibacterial agent that is banned in several countries due to its toxic effects that lead to muscle weakness, lung and skin irritation as well as endocrine disruptions. It also contributes to the development of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains.
As you can see, the benefits of aluminum free deodorants is not what you get, but what you don’t get in this particular case.
Why has the FDA not taken all deodorants and antiperspirants off the shelf?
The companies that are manufacturing these products have a lot of money. So, every time a study that points to the harmful effects of the additives common to deodorants comes up, they simply go ahead and fund vehement denials from medical community. So, this one study does not stand a chance.
However, the real question is this- would you really take the risk of using a poisonous substance even if there is just one scientific claim that points to its toxicity? After all, it is your health and you will be at the receiving end of the disastrous consequences and long standing health repercussions.
These deodorants are simply not worth the trouble!
Aluminum chlorohydrate is the form of the metal which is commonly used in antiperspirants; it is a molecule that is formed through the reaction of hydrochloric acid and aluminum. The topical concentration of this chemical in any ‘anti sweat” product is about 25%. Although this compound does alter the pH of the skin which can in itself lead to dermatological issues, its main scope of action is to block the sweat production.
However, this has to be done before perspiration begins. In other words, once you do have sweaty armpits, the antiperspirant will do little to dry out the moisture. There is this notion of the chemicals killing the bacteria.
However, if you shower twice a day, the normal bacteria that inhabit the surface of your skin will rarely turn into an odor related problem.
The reason aluminum laced products continue to grace the shelves is because the manufacturers say that an unburdened healthy body should have no problem in purging out the aluminum. However, they are missing a vital point here, who said that our bodies are unburdened? Something as simple as stress can leave an indelible impact on several physiological systems. Almost all modern cosmetics are laced with toxic chemicals, which is why you should use natural cosmetics. Wouldn’t this mean that by supplying these toxic substances, we are harming an already weakened body further?
So, what are natural aluminum free deodorants?
An organic deodorant is a product that will get rid of body odor and will even leave you smelling good without hindering the sweat generating process in the body and through the use of natural substances such as essential oils.
You can also find antiperspirants which are touted as all natural because they do not contain chemically formulated aluminum compounds. However, what these products do have is a substance known as alum which is a nature made crystalline substance that also contains aluminum. This substance works differently from aluminum chlorohydrate.
It is used in many eastern countries for water purification; when mixed with a fluid like sweat, it forms a thin film on the skin which then supposedly prevents sweating. The makers of such products claim that the molecules of this substance are too large to enter the skin. So, the blocking mechanism is restricted to the surface.
Although the jury is still out on just how safe this substance is, if you really want to go risk free, it would be best to pick up a natural, aluminum free deodorant. Yes, you will need more than just an underarm swathe after shower. Undoubtedly, they do lack chemical potency. So, a few reapplications through the day will definitely be in order.
Also, you will go through a trial and error period while you find just the right product for you. Fortunately, this is a burgeoning market which means that you should have no trouble finding a variety of products both online and offline.
Still want to take your chances with chemicals and aluminum?
Despite all of this, many of us can’t be made to budge from our favorite deodorants, and why not? We are comfortable with them and know that they work; a change would be such a hassle but here is what is at stake:
- People who have kidney diseases or are at risk of suffering from renal issues are specifically warned against using antiperspirants and deodorants that contain aluminum because the metal can quickly accumulate in the kidneys. In the absence of proper renal drainage, this can further harm the kidneys and deteriorate their performance.
- Aluminum is also known to accumulate in other vital organs such as the brain, the lungs, the liver and the endocrine system.
- In women, the aluminum from the deodorants travels into the breast tissue from the skin breaks that are common to armpit shaving. The chemical then becomes concentrated in the breast tissue, from where it creates estrogen-like effects which are linked to the development of breast cancer.
- Aluminum is also a known neurotoxin which impacts the blood brain barrier that is meant to protect the brain tissue. It compromises this first line of defense which can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
- In study conducted to understand the specific location of cancerous growth in the breast tissue, it was found that malignancy is indeed more common in the upper and outer portion of the breast which is the closest to the armpits. The same study also pointed to the fact that aluminum has genotoxic capabilities which can lead to epigenetic effects and even DNA alteration.
- Through another study that was conducted over a period of 15 years to understand the part that aluminum exposure plays in increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, it was found that aluminum impacts several vital neuroprocesses that lead to Alzheimer’s degeneration.
While, aluminum cookware, soda cans and other cosmetic and toiletries which are laced with the chemical can all contribute towards your aluminum exposure, deodorants and antiperspirants are the primary source of the aluminum that finds its way into your body.
So, by picking an organic, aluminum free deodorant, you would be systematically and substantially reducing the risk of all these ailments. But wait, there are also other benefits to using an all natural product!
Going all natural with your deodorants
More natural fragrances: Yes, it is possible to find deodorants with spicy clean or floral fragrances. However, the perfumes used in these are usually chemically formulated. On the other hand, with an all natural product what you are applying are essential oils and herbs to your skin which are not only soothing to your body but also your mind.
A base fragrance is easy to work with: Particularly, if you go for a woody fragrance like sandalwood or a floral aroma like jasmine or lavender, it is so much easier to couple these with your favorite perfume, without creating a clash that leaves you smelling not so pleasant.
A natural and subdued fragrance: If you are not exceptionally fond of strong fragrances, these natural deodorants will sit well with you because unlike their chemically made counterparts, the fragrance used in these products is not too “in your face” and is less likely to bother you or others.
You are not clogging your underarm pores: by using an aluminum free deodorant, you will be allowing the pores on your skin to do the job that they were meant to do. Since there is no blockage to the sweat producing system, you won’t have to worry about lymphatic issues which often lead to a lumpy swelling in the armpits.
Reduced risk of skin allergies: Because these formulas are not only free of aluminum hydrochlorate but also other harmful chemicals, you shouldn’t have to worry about adverse skin reactions.
The same level of odor protection: These products generally contain essential oils of lemon, rose, citrus and others which naturally prevent the growth of odor producing bacteria plus they have an alluring fragrance. So, you won’t have to worry about the chemicals in the deodorant reacting with the salt in your sweat and leading to a foul smell.
No stains on your clothes: Those ungainly, yellow stains on your clothes are not just sweat, but perspiration mingled with the aluminum and other chemicals in the deodorant. While some natural products will leave back a white residue, this can easily be washed off and does not look half as ugly as the yellow stains.
A better surface for shaving: Because your skin will not be irritated and inflamed, you can go for a closer and cleaner shave which will last longer.
Your armpits will not go dark: The combination of antiperspirants and shaving can often lead to hyper pigmentation in the armpits. However, with a chemical free product, you will not have to worry about dark underarms.
When choosing an all natural deodorant, make sure that you pick a product that does not contain zinc, formaldehyde, or diethanolamine which can also cause allergies. Although it will take you some work to find the perfect aluminum free deodorant that suits your specific needs, the effort will certainly prove to be worth the time and the money. After all, once you are using an aluminum free product, you won’t have to worry about the harm you are doing to your body with each application of the deodorant.
Natural Deodorant Ingredients
There are several basic ingredients that you can use to make your own natural deodorants at home. Here are some of them.
Baking soda: Fret not, regardless of labeling, normal baking soda doesn’t contain aluminum! Baking powder, which isn’t used in natural deodorants, tends to, though. Still, if you’re going through the trouble of using the best ingredients for your deodorant, it won’t hurt anything to use natural baking soda like Bob’s Red Mill instead of Arm & Hammer, which is produced by chemical reaction.
Coconut oil: Whether you’re eating coconut oil or putting it on your skin, you always want to use a virgin, unprocessed, unhydrogenated, and organic oil. It’s great stuff; don’t skimp on it!
Arrowroot Powder: Arrowroot is a great substitute for cornstarch, since most cornstarch is GMO these days.
Essential oils: Mountain Rose Herbs makes the essential oils that I use in my home. When you’re making your deodorant, you can choose just about any fragrance you want, from orange to sandalwood to lemon or lavender and beyond. Or mix to make your own fragrance. It’s up to you!
Natural Deodorant Recipes
There are a lot of natural deoodorant recipes available around the web, but here are just a few!