Knowledge about products containing chemicals that are unhealthy for us is growing. More and more we are seeing labels on products to list that certain bad chemicals have been removed or products that have never contained them are more readily available. I feel like people are quicker to switch up household products or baby products then they are one that prevents them from being sweaty or smelly though. I get it. People are nervous that they will smell and no one likes the smelly person, especially at the gym or when you are stuck next to someone for a long period of time. I try to do my best to avoid products with chemicals that I do not want in my body and want the same for my patients.
Here are some of the common harmful ingredients in the most popular deodorants:
1. Parabens- On labels you will see them listed as methyl, ethyl, benzyl, butyl, and propyl
Parabens are a common ingredient in many beauty products and deodorants. Parabens are dangerous because they are major endocrine disruptors (they alter your normal hormonal system functions). Endocrine disruptors can alter metabolic function in the body and can act on estrogen pathways which can have many serious effects such as endometriosis, insulin resistance, and thyroid problems.
2. Aluminum- On labels you will see it listed as aluminum zirconium, aluminum chloralhydrate
Aluminum is what stops the flow of sweat and works to plug the sweat ducts to stop the flow of sweat. In the United States, antiperspirant must contain at least 15% to be considered an antiperspirant. There are studies to show that too much aluminum is harmful and can result in anemia, bone disease, and memory changes. Aluminum and other ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants are absorbed through the skin and because of this, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers (and EVERYONE) should be cautious about their usage. Aluminum in antiperspirants is classified as a category C for pregnant women. That means that not enough research has been done to determine their safety.
Triclosan is an ingredient added to many products to reduce bacterial contamination and most commonly found in antibacterial hand soap until recently. Triclosan is associated with decrease in thyroid hormone levels and increased antibiotic resistance.
4. Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol is found in many products and is also in antifreeze and paint. Some of its main issues are that it causes skin irritation and allergic reactions, potentially toxic to the kidneys and liver, neurological symptoms, and unsafe for infants and pregnant women.
Researching the harmful ingredients in many of our popular deodorants years ago, I ditched my beloved Ban deodorant and have been using different cleaner deodorants since. I am always on the search for new and better deodorants and have a few favorites that I will share with you.
A few things to keep in mind before ditching the chemicals:
-If you have been someone who uses deodorant and antiperspirant and are used to never sweating, you may notice that you sweat now. The reason is because natural deodorants do not contain aluminum.
-If you feel like you are sweating A LOT, your body may be going through a detox process and should improve in 2-4 weeks.
-It may take some trial and error to find which deodorants work best for you. Don’t give up because you think they “don’t work.”
-I am an active person and have a very active job where I move around a lot and get close to people and would hate to be smelly. This makes me take my deodorant choices and recommendatins very seriously.
A few of my current favorites that I would recommend for women/girls:
Tarte Clean Queen Vegan Deodorant
Pros: This deodorant is vegan, alcohol and aluminum free, and smells amazing! The packaging is also adorable. It isn’t dry or chalky feeling like some natural deodorants can be and goes on very easily. It also does not contain baking soda which tends to give me red underarms if I use a deodorant containing it. It also doesn’t seem to stain or discolor anything I wear.
Cons: During workouts I feel like my underarms look like I have white deodorant on, but if you put it on right before it keeps you smelling clean and great. It works decently well as a deodorant, but with any natural deodorant I recommend applying in the morning and again in the afternoon. It does have a little bit of a “wet” feeling to it, but it goes away.
Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant
Pros: This deodorant has no aluminum, no propylene glycol, and no parabens and it comes in a lot of different scents. You can buy different scents in variety packs in travel sizes or full size. This deodorant works really well at keeping me dry and smelling fresh all day. It also does not seem to stain or discolor my clothes at all. I have been using this deodorant for over a year and feel like it stopped working as well, but will rotate it back in after I finish using the Tarte Clean Queen deodorant.
Cons: This turns my underarms red after prolonged use or if I apply after shaving. The travel size containers are great for having around because they are small, however the actual deodorant tends to crack and break and make it useless. I recommend storing them upright. This can also be difficult to apply or some sticks seem to have a dry feeling.
SmartyPits- Natural/Aluminum Free, Probiotic Deodorant
Pros: I love supporting brands that have a good story or work towards helping our world become a better place. This was created by a husband and wife team who donate a portion of their sales to support different non-profits and certain products benefit a scholarship fund for girls entering a STEM program. It smells awesome and works well at keeping me dry and keeping me from smelling bad. It also contains prebiotics, which will improve the biodiversity of your skin microbiome.
Cons: I accidentally purchased the travel size of this deodorant and it was the size of a chapstick (okay not that small, but basically). Because of the teeny tiny size of this deodorant it wasn’t easy to apply and I felt like it was a lot of work to put it on. It also left marks on my clothing, but they came off in the washing machine.
If you have any brands that you love I would love to know! I love to talk about natural products I am using personally and to learn more about products that work well for other people.