ALUMINIUM IN DEODORANT
You apply deodorant every day, but have you ever stopped to wonder what ingredients are lurking inside? Unlike natural deodorant, most mainstream antiperspirant deodorants contain aluminium compounds, which block your sweat glands to inhibit sweating.
While there’s no question that antiperspirants are effective at reducing sweat and body odour, aluminium in deodorant is a cause for concern. The aluminium-based compounds used in these products are made up of extremely small molecules that have the potential to be absorbed into your body.
Aluminium accumulation in the body has been linked to breast cancer, liver toxicity and Alzheimer’s disease; which is extremely worrying when you consider how many people use aluminium-based deodorants on a daily basis.
Read on to learn more about the potential dangers of regular antiperspirant, and why you should make the switch to natural deodorant today.
OTHER TOXINS IN DEODORANT
In addition to aluminium, most antiperspirant sprays and roll-on deodorants contain many artificial additives and chemicals that are known to be toxic. Some of these include:
- Phthalates. These are plasticising chemicals that make cosmetic products adhere to our skin, and they are often found in heavily fragranced beauty products like perfumes and deodorants. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors (meaning they muck around with our hormone levels), and scientific studies have linked them to reduced testosterone and lower sperm quality in men.
- Parabens. These are used as a cheap preservative. While they’re currently considered ‘safe’ for use in personal care products and cosmetics, parabens can mimic our own natural hormones which can lead to endocrine disruption – a condition which has been linked to some types of cancer. Parabens have also been associated with headaches, dizziness, skin irritation and dermatitis.
- Triclosan. This is an antibacterial agent that’s often used in deodorants and antiperspirants. “Triclosan has been shown to interfere with thyroid signalling,” says Chey Birch, founder of popular natural deodorant and skincare brand Black Chicken. “Australia’s regulators said there is no immediate cause for public concern, but in the very same report they also stated that triclosan may be bio-accumulative, persistent in the environment, and very toxic to aquatic organisms. Products for human use that contain more than 0.3% triclosan must be labelled as poison.”
Perhaps what’s most worrying is the fact that tighter government regulations, stricter labelling laws, and more extensive research into the safely of these chemicals are pitted against the enormous profits earned by the big global businesses that dominate the personal care and cosmetic industries.
This is something that Chey finds very troubling. “When it’s not possible to prove beyond doubt the toxic load of a chemical, then the ingredient is deemed ‘safe to use’ – at least until accumulated evidence and hindsight proves otherwise,” says Chey, “and by then, for some of us, the damage is done.”
SWEAT ISN’T THE ENEMY
Despite what those antiperspirant TV commercials might lead you to believe, sweat is actually a healthy – and necessary – process. “When we sweat, it’s the body’s way of getting rid of toxins and waste so your whole system can run more efficiently,” says Chey. “Sweating also helps us maintain a healthy immune system because it reduces the amount of waste and toxins the body has to deal with – and of course, it helps regulate our body temperature too.”
Sweat is the body’s way of getting rid of toxins
As it turns out, sweat itself isn’t even the main cause of body odour – that particular (dis)honour goes to bacteria. “Body odour is caused when bacteria break down certain proteins in underarm sweat,” says Chey. Luckily, there are some fantastic toxin-free deodorants on the market that are not only safe and gentle on your pits, but they also neutralise bacteria naturally, helping to prevent body odour from developing.
HOW TO SWITCH TO NATURAL DEODORANT
Most people find it easy to make the switch from antiperspirant to a natural deodorant, but sometimes there can be a bit of a transitional period. “Occasionally, for first time users, it can trigger a pit detox,” says Chey. “The body begins to release all those clogged toxins as your pores relax and do their thing – body odour can be stronger than usual at this time.”
You can help speed up this detox process by working up more of a sweat and drinking plenty of water to flush out the toxins. “Eat well and maybe cut back your alcohol and caffeine intake until your system regains its natural balance,” suggests Chey.
NATURAL DEODORANTS WE LOVE
If you’re ready to make the switch to natural deodorant, a deodorant paste is a great starting point. To apply, you simply use a pea-sized amount of product and warm it up between your fingers before massaging it into your underarms using a slow, circular motion. Black Chicken is currently the most popular natural deodorant brand in Australia, and it’s also friendly on the wallet when you consider that one tub will last you for weeks on end.
Here at THE ECO EDIT we’re big fans Erica Brooke’s range of unisex deodorant pastes. The pastes contain nourishing, soothing ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E to keep your pits happy and hydrated, and there are a variety of scents to choose from like wildflowers, neroli and vanilla. Erica also makes a double-strength formula, which is perfect for gym days. The brand also offers an unscented version for those with sensitive pits.
If you’re currently using an aerosol or spray-on deodorant, we highly recommend trying Indah No. 5 Active Spray Deodorant. They’ve cleverly used colloidal silver instead of aluminium, which is blended with a mixture of powerful herbal actives that will keep you smelling fresh. As a bonus, the gorgeous scent of this deodorant spray is so nice that you can use it as a natural perfume too.
If you’re more of a roll-on girl (or guy) and prefer a hands-free deo, we recommend Madara Bio-Active Deodorant. This little beauty comes with an easy-to-use roller ball applicator, which makes it perfect for popping in your gym bag – or for days when you just want a fuss-free deodorant option.