You wouldn't eat a spoonful of toxic cosmetic ingredients (we hope), so why are you smearing them under your arms? Some deodorants and antiperspirants contain harmful ingredients that can mess with the function of your body's hormones.
In recent years, chemicals in deodorants (and their effects on our health) have come under close scrutiny.
Is deodorant actually bad for your health, or is it just a myth? Unfortunately, with so much conflicting and inconclusive research, determining the harmful from the harmless isn't always as easy as it should be.
Look at the facts behind some of the most concerning chemicals and toxins in deodorant and how switching to chemical-free deodorant can benefit your health.
Are There Harmful Chemicals in Deodorant?
It's an understatement that most people are particular when choosing a scent that accompanies their armpit, but what about the ingredients? Most popular deodorants contain a list of toxic ingredients.
What Chemicals Should You Avoid in Deodorant?
While the problematic use of aluminum in deodorant has been public enemy number one for several years now, what about the other harmful chemicals in deodorant? Many conventional deodorants contain a laundry list of toxic ingredients, including polyethylene glycol, parabens, and triclosan, among other questionable ones.
Our underarms will absorb whatever we put on it. So, what chemicals should you avoid in deodorant?
Aluminum continues to be a possible risk factor. Aluminum-based compounds are what clog your pores to prevent sweating. Research has suggested that these compounds are absorbed through underarm skin into the body. Aluminum exposure has been linked with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and has been known to cause changes in estrogen receptors. In addition, some studies reveal aluminum is associated with breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Parabens are a type of preservative used in deodorants (and other personal care products) to prevent bacterial growth. Parabens can be found in around 75-90% of all products on the market! While you're shopping, this family of related chemicals may be referred to as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, benzylparaben, or isobutylparaben.
So what's the issue with parabens? Studies show that deodorant chemicals accumulate in human tissues. The most common concern with parabens is that they can penetrate the skin and mimic estrogen in the body - potentially turning on the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers.
Aluminum-based compounds are what clog your pores to prevent sweating. Research has suggested that these compounds are absorbed through underarm skin into the body.”
Often listed as PEG or PG on ingredients lists, this moisture-sealing substance is derived from petroleum, and many have concerns that it can be toxic when used in skincare. Polyethylene Glycol is used as a de-icer, and it's one of the main ingredients in products used to produce artificial smoke or mist. Yes, like at a rock concert.
Additionally, polyethylene glycol is easily absorbed through the skin, and anyone with sensitive skin should steer clear. Polyethylene glycol was the American Contact Dermatitis Society's Allergen of the Year in 2018. What an award (not). But in all seriousness, if you have a red, itchy rash where you apply products containing polyethylene glycol, you're most likely allergic to it. Instead, look for a natural propylene glycol-free deodorant for happier pits.
Triclosan is a synthetic antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent used to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. Many consumer brands add triclosan to deodorants in an attempt to kill odor-causing bacteria. However, triclosan is a suspected carcinogen, and studies have shown the substance can alter hormone regulation.
Triclosan can be a little tricky. The FDA classifies triclosan as a pesticide, while the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has it listed as a possible carcinogen. So look for a triclosan-free deodorant to help avoid any underarm harm.
In personal care products, you'll often see synthetic fragrances listed as DHP, DBP5, DEHP, and dibutyl phthalate. Phthalates are a chemical that helps scents last longer. They can be found in everything from deodorant, perfumes to skincare items. Phthalates are linked to a huge number of health risks across multiple research studies.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers phthalates as potentially cancer-causing ingredients. Health risks include cancer, human reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, congenital disabilities & respiratory problems. Phthalates can be hard to spot because brands are not obligated to list them on ingredient labels. Organic chemical-free deodorants are phthalate-free.
Silica is added to deodorant to help absorb moisture from sweat, but it's also a well-known skin irritant. If you've ever felt irritated or itchy from your deodorant, silica could be to blame. Silica can also be tainted with a mineral compound called crystalline quartz, which has been associated with the development of cancer cells and respiratory diseases.
The Benefits of Using Natural & Chemical Free Deodorant
If avoiding toxins lurking in your deodorant isn't convincing enough, check out more benefits of using chemical-free deodorant.
While the list could go on forever, here are the top 8 benefits of toxin-free deodorants.
#1. Natural deodorant is not an antiperspirant. Your body needs to sweat to eliminate toxins and regulate your body temperature.
Common deodorant ingredients like aluminum compounds clog your pores, preventing them from releasing sweat. That sweat doesn't simply disappear. It has to go somewhere - and if it's not going out, it's going in. The sweat becomes blocked and trapped under your skin.
#2. Healthy lymph nodes. There are more than 20 lymph nodes (small lumps of tissue that help fight infection) in the armpit. Balanced lymph nodes are important to keep your lymphatic system healthy and allow it to filter out unwanted bacteria, viruses, and even cancer cells.
When you apply chemicals to the lymph nodes under the arm, the body can't get rid of them by sweating because the antiperspirant keeps you from perspiring, leaving you with a concentration of toxins.
#3. Ingredients you can pronounce. Chemical-free deodorant is often made with natural ingredients like witch hazel, baking soda, and essential oils. Not only are these ingredients pronounceable, but they're also a safe and effective way to keep you smelling fresh.
#4. Ditch the toxic chemicals. Traditional deodorants contain aluminum compounds, propylene glycol, silica, and a whole bunch of other not-so-friendly ingredients.
You are essentially applying carcinogens and irritants to your skin. For example, traditional deodorant has been linked to Alzheimer's, and spray deodorants can trigger asthma symptoms. Forgo the hazardous compounds for natural chemical-free deodorant.
#5. Vegan-friendly & cruelty-free. A lot of natural toxin-free deodorant is also made without using animal products or testing on animals. A lot of commercial deodorants are made with non-vegan ingredients, including stearic acid, lanolin, glycerine, squalene, and beeswax.
#6. Improve skin health. Chemical laden heavy commercial deodorants can cause wear and tear on delicate armpit skin. Help protect your pits from becoming dry or chafed by switching to something more natural with fewer chemicals.
#7. Prevent bad odor. It's the #1 reason you reach for deodorant in the first place. Non-toxic deodorants use skin-safe ingredients found in nature to help reduce body odors naturally. Keep in mind sweat is unscented - it only creates that less-than-fresh aroma we're all too familiar with when it mixes with bacteria.
Plant and mineral-based odor fighters work just as well as chemical-based products.
#8. Save money. If you've ever shopped for organic and natural food, beauty, or personal care products - cheap usually doesn't come to mind. But hear us out. Traditional deodorants require 9 or 10 swipes per armpit to keep you dry and odorless, and you may have to reapply during the day. That means you could potentially have to restock your stash more often than you'd think. Chemical-free deodorant works differently. You don't need as much product. Why? Because they use active ingredients that work with your body to reduce odor.
While natural deodorant may cost a few more dollars than your commercial brand, you'll ultimately save money while investing in your health. Sounds good, right?
Why are Natural Deodorants a Safer Option?
Non-toxic skin care products, in general, are much healthier for the body, and switching to chemical-free deodorant is the perfect place to start your toxic-free hygiene journey. Sweat is good for you (gasp!). Sweating is a healthy way for the body to clean itself and eliminate toxins. Natural chemical-free deodorant does not prevent sweating but does block odor.
Finding a chemical-free deodorant that actually works can be challenging. Axilla Deodorant Paste is made with plant-based ingredients and essential oils to keep your underarms smelling fresh without using any harmful toxins. It's Australia's most trusted multi-award-winning 100% natural deodorant providing all-day odor control.
Bonus: The best deodorants without harmful chemicals won't leave a white streak on your dark clothes! Say goodbye to the so-called "pit stain."
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