It seems like all the cool kids use natural deodorant nowdays.
What does deodorant do?
And what is so bad about the supermarket brands?
Firstly, what is sweat?
Sweating is your body’s mechanism to cool down. Moisture is discharged through the pores of the skin, typically in profuse quantities as a reaction to heat, physical exertion, fever, or fear. Sweat has no odor; the familiar unpleasant odor is caused by bacteria that live on our skin. These bacteria metabolize the proteins and fatty acids from our sweat, causing body odor.
In a little more detail… You have two types of sweat glands all over your skin, and they’re both found most highly concentrated in your underarm. These glands don’t generally begin to develop until around the time of puberty, so most people don’t produce body odor until around age 11 or 12. The eccrine glands act to cool you off when you’re hot. These glands excrete only water and salt and therefore have nothing to do with any troublesome body odor. The apocrine glands are the culprit behind any odor you might smell. These glands carry secretions of fats and proteins from within your body, along with your sweat, to the exterior surface of your skin. Here, these fats and proteins react with bacteria to create an odor, as I mentioned above.
What does deodorant do, + what’s the difference between deodorant + antiperspirant.
Deodorants deal with body odor by neutralizing it and by killing the bacteria that metabolize the proteins and fatty acids, while still allowing your armpits to breathe (and sweat).
Antiperspirants try to prevent sweating by blocking the pores using aluminum. Without sweat, the bacteria cannot metabolize proteins and fatty acids that cause body odor.
The bad stuff.
There is growing concern about the health risks of using products containing chemicals and parabens, especially aluminum, on your armpits. (Consider the build up of using these products over a lifetime…) Most supermarket brands of deodorant or antiperspirant (and these names are often used interchangeably as products will often perform both of these functions) will contain chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer along with Alzheimers and other neurological diseases.
Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Your body normally exposes of waste products through sweat, and by blocking this important bodily process, the accumulation of these toxic waste products in the armpit can cause damage to adjacent cells.
The alternative – Use Natural Deodorant.
There are deodorants available that do not have harmful toxic ingredients in them, but only have safe natural ingredients. These deodorants are often referred to as ‘natural deodorants’. Natural deodorants will let your pits breathe while releasing the natural toxins that discharge from your body! A good natural deodorant will protect you from body odor and keep you smelling great all day! Or technically, smelling like nothing 😉
Most natural deodorants are made from a combination of Coconut Oil, Arrowroot, Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) and essential oils for fragrance. Different brands will then occasionally add additional products like shea butter. You can of course make your own deodorant at home, and I know that a lot of those who buy their own essential oils from doTERRA Australia do this, but my preference is always to trust the professionals to work out the exact ratios of ingredients and I love to support someone elses passion and small business.
Two of our current favourite natural deodorants are:
Generally I always have 2 favourites of everything on rotation in my home. My body is a little temperamental and I find that products build up in my system and start to either stop working, or have undesirable effects. So I tend to use one product for a week or so, then rotate to something else.
I also wrote a bit more about Erica Brooke deodorant paste here: Our pick ~ The best natural deodorant ( + It really works! )