As we enter 2020 seeking to discover new things about ourselves, setting goals while reaching for new successes in our personal lives, let’s also seek to discover better ways of creating the healthiest version of ourselves. Amidst the gym memberships and pending use of alcohol driving limits, spend a few moments thinking about personal underarm care and products we use.
U.S. breast cancer statistics reveal that approximately 1 in 8 women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. While studies are inconclusive regarding the direct impact of underarm products and breast cancer, there is strong evidence to suggest a direct link between the type of ingredients used in the production of traditional deodorants and the incidence of breast cancer and other disease such as Alzheimer’s.
Deodorants have been an important part of our daily cleansing routine from as early as the 1800’s. Mankind became very creative by smothering underarm odors with more favorable scents; we have tried thick pastes, salves and powders which incorporated ingredients from fragrant plants like cardamom, cassia, cinnamon, lemongrass, lily, myrrh and rose. Everything possible has been tried to mask underarm odor.
First, we should understand why we have body odor. Our bodies are wonderfully created and beautifully designed. Every cell is purposefully made to keep us healthy. We have at least two to four million sweat glands all over our bodies and under normal conditions, only 5% of these glands are active at any given time. They produce about 0.5 - 1 litre of water defined as ‘sweat’ per day. Sweating is a vital part of our body’s regulatory and detoxifying process helping to regulate our body temperature and keep us cool. The apocrine gland which is located in the armpit is responsible for our daily sweat production. Sweat is primarily water and electrolytes which contain sodium and chloride. Potassium, urea, lactate, amino acids, bicarbonate and calcium are also found in smaller quantities; hence our body odor is created when these secretions are mixed with the normal bacteria that are found on our skin.
Deodorants protect against odor while antiperspirants were designed to stop the sweating process as a way of controlling body odor. Many traditional antiperspirant/deodorants contain chemicals such as aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum-zirconium tetrachlorohydrate gly that react with the electrolytes in the sweat to form a plug in the duct of the sweat gland preventing the release of sweat. The addition of chemicals such as triclosan and polyhexamethylene biguanide functions as antibacterial agents to kill bacteria that may contribute to body odor. While these combinations are extremely effective at neutralizing odor and reducing sweat output, research has now revealed that the continual use of some of these chemicals can adversely affect our health. The absorption of these chemicals through the skin can have the capability to cause changes in estrogen receptors, neurological function and endocrine disruption, just to name a few. This absorption may also be amplified with shaved underarms as there is no additional barrier between the skin and these chemicals. One study in particular conducted by the University of Reading in the UK, reported that some preservatives used in antiperspirants and traditional deodorants can be found in breast tumors. This is enough evidence to reiterate the need for better underarm care.
A HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE
As a resultant to the health concerns highlighted with the use of traditional deodorants, there is now a concerted effort to create and produce healthier, safer alternative products for underarm care. Mother Nature has blessed us with many natural products that are equally effective in the neutralization of body odor while allowing our bodies to function as they have been designed. The defining feature of natural deodorants is that they do not contain any synthetic or potentially toxic ingredients. Formulators of deodorants are now utilizing naturally occurring clays, essential oils, enzymes, plant-based moisturizers, and natural oils. All of these ingredients work collectively to neutralize odor forming bacteria, and absorb excess wetness, making them equally effective when formulated in combinations that allow each natural ingredient to work.
Good natural deodorants should be designed to work in unison with the natural balance of the body’s function with little or no adverse effects. In selecting a natural deodorant, it is important to find one which combines suitable natural ingredients that work best with your body chemistry and lifestyle. If you’re on a mission to find the best deodorants on the market, be aware there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The key to finding a great natural deodorant is one that absorbs, neutralizes, nourishes and protects. Ingredients like baking soda, arrowroot powder and coconut oil are all great ingredients used in natural deodorants. Read the labels and identify key ingredients that will make your natural deodorant effective for your lifestyle. Avoid the toxic chemicals in traditional deodorants, while maintaining a healthier you in 2020 and beyond. Make the switch today!