Sweat It Out
This post is an installment in our 52 Health Hinges series. Remember, “Small hinges swing big doors.”
We’re coming off of a hot and humid weekend here in Minnesota, which got me thinking… it’s about time that I talked with you about deodorant.
I don’t wear any.
Now, please realize that this is a big change for me. Only a few years ago, I was the one hunting down the “extra strength” deodorant, and it never really occurred to me to think about the ingredients in any of my products, much less my deodorant.
And then I stumbled across some information discussing how deodorants include several toxic chemicals, like parabens, phthalates, triclosan, and the active ingredient – aluminum. As I mentioned previously, the European Union bans or restricts nearly 1,400 toxic chemicals, while the United States bans only 11.
Today, let’s focus on deodorant and aluminum.
Based on this research paper by Senior Lecturer in Oncology P.D. Darbre, “Aluminium salts are used as the active antiperspirant agent in cosmetics. Their mode of action is thought to involve blocking of the sweat ducts which prevents the escape of sweat onto the skin surface, probably through the formation of a physical plug composed of precipitated salts and dead cells at the top of the sweat duct.”
In addition, Darbre continues, “Aluminium in the form of aluminium chloride or aluminium chlorhydrate has been shown capable of interfering with the function of oestrogen receptors of human breast cancer cells both in terms of ligand binding and oestrogen-regulated gene expression.”
For more information on this topic, read this article by Chris Kresser.
What do you think – are you ready to ditch your deodorant?
Here are some of my tips and tricks to ease into going deodorant-free (or at least deodorant-lite):
- Start with non-toxic alternatives. You don’t need to go au naturel overnight. There are many aluminum- and toxin-free deodorants on the market. I tried a variety of brands and types. My favorites were Primal Pit Paste and Kiss My Face stick and liquid roll-on. Eventually, I found a crystal and this works really well for me. Some people, like me, find they’re sensitive to baking soda (which is why Primal Pit Paste doesn’t work for me), so watch out for this if you’re trying a product that contains baking soda. Meow Meow Tweet has a similar product to the one by Primal Pit Paste, but without the baking soda. In fact, writing this has inspired me to try this one (I’ll update with a review in the comments once I’ve tried it). And for you do-it-yourselfers, here’s a recipe to try!
- What’s that smell? Well, it might be you. As you’re transitioning away from wearing conventional deodorant, you may go through a detox period where you may feel more stinky than usual. You may also sweat more than you’re used to. But you’re supposed to sweat. It’s a normal bodily function. Go with it. Remember, you’ve been plugging up those sweat ducts for so long, they’re dying to be free to do their job. Free the ducts!
- Gradually skip the deodorant and see what happens. Over a period of 1-2 years, I have gotten to the point where I just wear a spritz of magnesium oil under each arm, and I’ve detoxed enough where I no longer feel self-conscious about being smelly. For the times where I know I’ll be more nervous than usual – like when I have a big presentation – that’s when I turn to my toxin-free deodorant mentioned above.
We live in a toxic world, and in some cases we can’t avoid these toxins. When you’ve got a chance to make an easy swap, why not go for it?
More ideas on how to ease your body’s toxic burden will be coming in future Health Hinges. Stay tuned!