When we sweat, we stink. We just do. You can try to say…”Oh, I just don’t sweat that much”…or “Yeah, I never have a problem with B.O.”
We have all had the day where we forgot deodorant and and are constantly doing the pit sniff test. And, you know when you’re about 90% sure that weird guy (or girl) who stalked you back in ’03 is standing behind you at the bank and your trying to figure out how to get out of there without making eye contact? Yeah, your lying if you say you don’t have pit stains when you get back in your car and haul ass outta there. If you’re still denying this, how about this one…You go to the mall to finish your christmas shopping and you’re wearing your winter coat. You’re carrying a thousand bags. The escalator isn’t working. You walk up it. F@cking sauna. Just because you don’t smell it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You’re sweating and you stink. Sorry.
Well, just put on some of that prescription grade, extra strength, roll on, spray on, whatever on deodorant and antiperspirant. Problem solved right? Maybe not. Your pits may be smelling like a rainforest breeze but you may have just exposed yourself to some nasty, disgusting, possibly life threatening chemicals. Aluminum, parabens and triclosan to name a few.
Lately, more and more information has come to light exposing the ugly truth. What we put on our skin can be harmful to our body internally. Here is information provided by the Centers for Disease Control regarding this. There’s a slew of information that links deodorant and antiperspirant use to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. In regard to the deodorant controversy, the CDC displayed this as guideline: “Because studies of antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results, additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved.” Results are conflicting? Um, if by “conflicting” you mean the studies show deodorant causes cancer and the deodorant manufacturers say it doesn’t then I guess you’d be right. More like conflict of interest…but I digress…
As with any controversial topic there is always two sides to the story. There are studies making a connection between deodorant and cancer and studies that debunk the notion. It’s a tricky situation and can leave you confused and unsure who to trust. With all of the topics I choose to delve into, I usually come up with the same conclusion. Where there is smoke there is fire. I’d much rather come up with an alternative deodorant than keep using the suspect stuff and regret it down the road.
If you haven’t heard much about the controversy here is a run down of the ingredients in question:
Aluminum: This is in the antiperspirant component. You are basically clogging your pores with metal to keep the sweat from pouring out. That really creeps me out.
Parabens: Parabens are a group of synthetic preservatives that are often found in deodorant, shampoo and tons of other body products. They are very easily absorbed through the skin. Parabens disrupt hormones and it is strongly suggested that this can lead to early puberty in children, and increased risk of hormonal cancers. Parabens are also linked to birth defects.
Phthalates: (yeah, I don’t know how to pronounce that either) Much like parabens, phthalates disrupt hormones. Phthalates are linked to increased risk of birth defects and increase the likelihood of cell mutation.
Triclosan: Triclosan is what helps squash odor and is classified as a pesticide by the good old FDA. It is also named a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. Many companies have begun to remove triclosan from products but it still lurks out there. (Kinda like the guy at the bank).
Y’all know me. Those words are enough to ignite my anxiety and make me short of breath. When I walk past the deodorant aisle in the store I think to myself…”breast cancer aisle”.
Well, now what do I do? Possibly increase my risk for cancer or stink? There is some good news here. There are several natural versions of deodorant available in stores and, if you’re really feeling into this green thing, you can make your own (stay with me here).
I’ve tried several of the deodorants found in your typical grocery stores. When I say I tried them I mean I actually tried them. I didn’t just put it on and sit on my ass. I put it on and ran, did yoga or bootcamp class, sat out in the sun for a while…I made sure I sweat. A lot. I warned all my workout neighbors that were next to me in class that I was in the midst of an experiment and let me know if I smelled. Luckily, I work out with some cool people who were entertained by this endeavor. I asked them to get right up in there and take a whiff. For some reason, they obliged. And to them, I say thank you!
Keep in mind when I tell you which ones worked best that everybody’s body is different and just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Also, most of these still contain a “no no” ingredient which isn’t ideal. Overall, any of these would be a better choice than your big name brands that will have the two big offenders, aluminum and parabens. All of the examples listed here are free of both of those little $hit heads.
From left to right: Tom’s of Maine (Unscented), Tom’s of Maine (Fresh Apricot). Arm & Hammer Essentials (Unscented), Arm & Hammer Essentials (Fresh Scent), Lafes Natural and Organic (Unscented).
Tom’s of Maine was my least favorite. The unscented version didn’t do much to fight off stink. The fresh apricot was a little better and smelled really nice but wore off quickly. Tom’s contains propylene glycol as the first ingredient which has been added to the list of no no’s recently. This one just didn’t work for me. I give it an F.
Arm & Hammer Essentials performed much better. The unscented didn’t work as well as the fresh scent. Toward the end of the day I needed to reapply but it was effective. Note: the fresh scent was slightly manly. Arm & Hammer Essentials contains both propylene glycol and triclosan. I give this one a solid B for effectiveness.
Lafes Natural and Organic was my favorite of the store bought deodorants. It was unscented and still kept stink at bay even after yoga then bootcamp on a pretty warm day. I was sweating hardcore. I couldn’t smell any offending odor on myself so I asked my trusty workout buddy to help me out. I give her credit too because she leaned right in there and gave it her best whiff. Nope. Winner! Shockingly, this one contained none of the big yucky ingredients. I give this one an A. The only problem may be finding this one. I got it at a small health food store unlike the others that were right with all the other deodorants at a big chain store. It also cost about $1.50 more than the others.
I was so excited to find a deodorant that didn’t have any of the gross chemicals that could be harmful. What could be better? You know what’s coming…make your own! I couldn’t call myself a greensypants if I didn’t at least try.
I think making my deodorant was the moment I realized that I had gone off the deep end. I had flung myself off the cliff into the ocean of crunchy granola. I’m here now. It feels good. Reeealllllllyyyyy good.
I looked up some deodorant recipes to get a rough idea where to start. I ended up making a few alterations and came up with this…
1 cup coconut oil (learn how to choose the right one here)
1/2 cup baking soda
10 drops tea tree oil
Melt the coconut oil in a small pot over lowest heat possible. You can even hold it above the burner. It melts quickly. You can also leave it in a jar out in the sun on a warm day. Mix in the baking soda and tea tree oil. (Sub arrowroot powder if the baking soda is irritating. You can use any essential oil you please). Pour into a shallow mason jar while mixture is still warm and liquid. Let set to room temp. It will be waxy unless your house is extremely warm. If it is too hard to use your fingers, just scoop some out with a spoon you designate for deodorant and soften it between hands. Rub it into your pits like lotion. People always ask me if this is annoying. No. I may be avoiding breast cancer. It’s fine. If this is really troubling you just pour the just mixed ingredients into an empty tube of deodorant before it hardens and use that way. Hold it up to your skin and let it melt a little before spreading to avoid crumbling. You can also pour into cupcake papers and hold those. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty so I just go for it. Any extra left on my hand rinses off.
So, how does it work? Pretty good, actually. I wear this day to day unless I am expecting a sweat fest. I sometimes need to reapply it which doesn’t bother me. If I forget to put on my Lafes Natural and Organic and go to workout with just my home made deodorant I don’t panic. I’m sure if someone were to get really close…like nose in my armpit close, they may pick up a scent. Really though, if someone is close enough to you to have their nose in your armpit at the gym I think B.O. is the least of your problems.
Now, I know this whole natural deodorant thing seems a bit much. You don’t have to go full speed ahead. Start by getting one of the store bought ones and wear it when you don’t expect to sweat a lot. See how it works. Maybe you can stick with your trusty deodorant for workout days and go with your natural one on chill days. Any small change can add up to a large payoff. Give those pits a rest!
Side note: The cleaner you eat the less you smell. Isn’t that special?
Are you using a natural deodorant? Let us know which one works for you!
Did you miss the post on making your own fruit and veggie wash?? Click here!
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