My Quest for the Perfect Natural Deodorant
Why you should make a switch to natural deodorant when TTC even if you aren’t a crunch-granola-tree-hugger gal (or guy)
I am by no means a “natural” mama. I have made some swaps in my personal care and cleaning supplies to reduce my exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. But not all…. For example, the shampoo I use has ingredients that would make any Beautycounter rep’s skin crawl. But there is one product that I think everyone on this planet earth should be switching out, and that is (drumroll please!) deodorant!
Not just deodorant. Deodorant/antiperspirant. The deodorant masks the smell of the stinky-pit, and the antiperspirant helps block the sweat. There may be repercussions of continuously putting these items onto the armpit skin which is located so close to the breast tissue, especially in women
WHY ALL WOMEN SHOULD CHECK THEIR DEODORANT (NOT JUST TTC, PREGNANT, AND POSTPARTUM)
Back in the 70s, a paper was published where the author claims that there was already a high number of female breast cancers originating in the upper outer quadrant of the breast (the area closest to the armpit).
Underarm cosmetics like deodorants contain a variety of chemicals added for different reasons, many of which individually already have a known toxicity profile. The one that concerns me for all women is the aluminum. Aluminum is a known Metalloestrogens.
A known what? metalloestrogen?
Metalloestrogens are metal ions that bind to and activate estrogen receptors. They have been shown to play a negative role in estrogen--dependent disease such endometriosis as well as breast and endometrial cancers. In other words, these METALLOESTROGENS are linked to female cancers and endometriosis. Putting a chemical directly onto your skin and so close to your breast tissue that is known to play a role in hormone receptor activation just doesn’t sound like something I want to do to my body.
Aluminum is added to antiperspirants and helps form a physical plug at the top of the sweat duct to prevent sweat escaping onto the skin surface. SIDE NOTE: Don’t you think it’s unhealthy to block your body’s natural ability to sweat? Only me?
Unfortunately, I could not find as many clinical trials studying the topic of deodorant use as a whole as I was hoping to see, and some results were conflicting. There are quite a few studies exploring the harmful effects of single ingredients (like how elevated aluminum content has been found in the brains of persons with Alzheimer's disease) I did come across a study evaluating breast cancer patients demonstrated that those who used more antiperspirant products were diagnosed with breast cancer at an earlier age. This study suggests a dose-response relationship to chemical exposure in the antiperspirant and breast cancer development.
Please keep in mind that these deodorants do not CAUSE cancer (or Alzheimer’s Disease). Genetics and other dietary/lifestyle factors play a huge role in disease. Exposure to aluminum may increase the risk of developing disease.
WHY WOMEN TTC AND PREGNANT SHOULD CONSIDER SWITCHING UP THEIR DEODORANT/ANTIPERSPERANT
Three words: HORMONE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS!! Yall already know that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been known for their ability to interfere with aspects of hormone action, resulting in side-effects like reproductive challenges. They may also play a negative role in baby’s development and reproductive ability while mama is pregnant.
Some chemicals that are found in standard deodorants/ antiperspirants that are a concern include:
Additionally, fragrances and phthalates may play a negative role in hormone functioning. Phthalate exposure has been shown to be related to birth defects in pregnancy.
My reaction when I considered this information? GET THIS JUNK OUT OF MY ARMPITS!! I would rather be stinky-pit-girl than have so many potentially harmful chemicals be so close to my breast tissue, and directly put into my skin.
MY SWEATY PIT SOLUTION
So what is a girl to do? Walk around with smelly sweat-laden underarms? No thank you.
Thankfully, there are better options on the market. On my quest to find the best choice for me, I came across two challenges:
1. eliminating the harmful chemicals mentioned above is great for my health, but not great for the effectiveness of the deodorant. Most “natural” deodorants that I tried required constant re-application or did nothing from a sweat perspective. Many were basically an essential oil-saturated cream. To be fair, they do not claim to be an antiperspirant so they ARE doing their job. But I cant deal with the sweat. I just can’t.
2. the practice of “green washing” made it challenging to find a deodorant that was truly safe for me to use. I did a lot of extra digging.
Green washing is a term that refers to personal care and beauty companies marketing products as “natural”, “organic”, “clean”, and other words that imply a better choice. In reality, these terms are not regulated and companies can put whichever terms they wish on their labels. Some “natural and organic” deodorants still contain potentially harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, that means that the consumer needs to do her homework. In the case of deodorant, “aluminum-free” does not mean that it is free of potential hormone-disrupting chemicals like synthetic fragrances and phtylates.
WHICH DEODORANT DID I CHOOSE?
I live in South Carolina, where the weather is HOT, humid, and muggy! What I realized mid-search was that there were plenty of great natural deodorants, just not many antiperspirants.
I don’t get sweaty…I get sticky under my pits. And I HATE being sticky. So, I invented my solution using Primally Pure products. They do not market using these products this way, but it works for me and I am now a committed Primally Pure customer.
First, a little about Primally Pure. They aren’t THAT unique considering all of the “natural beauty” companies out there. But they have unique products, one being talc-free baby powder. FYI: using baby powder with talc has been linked to increased risks of certain cancers too…
I went mad-scientist one afternoon before attending an outdoor birthday party in 98 degree heat (not exaggerating).
Here is my two-step process:
I sprinkled some talc-free baby powder on my pits (it is sold under the “baby” category)
topped them off with some blue tansy deodorant. BOOM! I was fresh as a daisy after 2.5 hours in the Southern humidity. I have had great experiences ever since.
So there you have it. My search is complete. Primally Pure talc-free baby powder followed by blue tansy deodorant. I am not putting anything harmful on my body, and this recipe beats the SC humidity and helps me avoid the pit stickiness. I tested it during a barre class and a day-long extravaganza downtown. Love it! No irritation and no overpowering smell either.
One note: if you have not made the switch to natural deodorant yet, you may experience what some call a “detox”. Your body is adjusting to no aluminum and your pits may smell TERRIBLE for a week or two. Push through!! This will happen with any natural deodorant. You also may have to play around with different scents. Since these are made with essential oils, they blend differently with individual skin/oil compositions. I am a blue tansy girl for sure.
They also have other amazing products like aerosol-free dry shampoo and DEET free bug spray. I bought almost everything. Happy to share notes. Toxin-free dry shampoo that doesn’t kill the ozone layer? Yes, please!
Use this link to learn more about their amazing products and use code LAUREN10 for 10% off your first order. If you give these a shot, let me know what you think! I super-appreciate your support using my link if you decide to purchase, as I will be donating any affiliate income to the March of Dimes and will give me a personal boost knowing I am doing something good with my blog posts.