Something smells funny to me.
As far as modern-day society has come with scientific developments, many bath and beauty products in the U.S. are still decades behind. This includes antiperspirants and deodorants.
They were developed to prevent stink, but the irony is that many common ingredients in these products – some of which you cannot pronounce – are just plain toxic. They can contribute to serious health consequences, especially when used over time. And let’s face it, deodorants and antiperspirants are products that we use every day, often on skin that has been freshly shaved, making it more susceptible to the absorption of chemicals.
Antiperspirants are especially dangerous. According to The National Cancer Institute, “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. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects (3). Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer (3).”
I have other concerns too. Your skin is your largest organ. Would you voluntarily coat your heart or your liver with toxic chemicals? I don’t think so. Then why your skin, especially that under your arm pits which is incredibly close to your lymph nodes? These small, oval-shaped organs concentrated near your armpits play a major role in the functioning of your immune system.
Unfortunately, deodorants, antiperspirants and other bath and beauty products are just not regulated. The Valley Advocate reports, “Contrary to commonly held assumptions, the FDA is not the principal agency in charge of reviewing cosmetic ingredients in the U.S. Rather, an industry-funded panel, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, regulates the safety of cosmetics.”
In addition, “American standards and regulations are lax compared to those instituted by the E.U.: a mere 10 ingredients are banned from cosmetics in the U.S., compared to over 1,100 known or suspected carcinogens, endocrine-disrupters and mutagens outlawed on the other side of the Atlantic.”
National Skincare Authority has compiled what they believe are the Top 10 most common toxins in deodorants:
|1.||ALCOHOL DENATURED||Known or suspected teratogen (Birth defects).|
|4.||TRIETHANOLAMINE||Possible human carcinogen.|
||Reproductive system toxicity.|
|6.||ETHANOLAMINE||Known human carcinogen.|
|8.||LACTIC ACID||Immune toxicant.|
|10.||DISODIUM EDTA||Penetration enhancer.|
So what can can you do? For starters, avoid products with the above ingredients. The best non-biased source of information that I have found is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Safety Database, an online guide for over 69,000 cosmetics and personal care products.
According to EWG, they launched Skin Deep in 2004 to “help people find safer products, with fewer ingredients that are hazardous or that haven’t been thoroughly tested.”
This easy-to-navigate database provides each product a safety rating of 0-10; the lower the number, the safer the product. Spend just a few minutes and search for your current antiperspirant or deodorant to discover how safe it really is. If necessary, search out an alternative. Ultimately, opt for a product rated 0-2 (with color code green).
Traditional brands like Secret, Dove, and Degree range from 2-6. Natural name brands like Tom’s of Maine and Burt’s Bees, range from 0-4. I was surprised that some so-called “natural” brands reach as high as 5 and 6, illustrating just how important it is to research before you buy (green-washing, anyone?).
For instance, I was shocked that the Crystal Brand Roll-On I bought (chamomile and green tea) ranked a 3. Believe it or not, the scent makes a big difference; had I chosen the pomegranate version, I would have gotten a 0!
You can also opt for brands that are pure mineral salts. These come in a hard stick form that you simply wet before running over your pits. They work just fine for me until I work up a serious sweat, but let’s face it, you’re supposed to stink a little after a good workout!
Green Virgin Products sent me one months ago that both my husband and I have been happy with. Bonus: it retails for $5.99 but can last up to 5 years. I’ve been using mine for six months and hardly notice that it’s been used at all.
So there you have it. Like with other aspects of your life, do your research, be an informed consumer, and your health will benefit. While you’re at it, research your lotions, soaps, and shampoos too. Their ingredients are just as important.
Now that smells great to me!
What did you find when you researched your current deodorant or other healthcare products? Do you have a favorite you swear by?