Around this time last year someone sent me an article about the dangerous ingredients found in conventional deodorant. I went down the rabbit hole, reading all about aluminum, parabens, phthalates, and that sneaky FDA "fragrance" loophole so many manufacturers take advantage of.
Hours later, after I emerged from the glow of my laptop computer in the wee hours of the morning, I tossed out my stick of drugstore deodorant and vowed to find a better alternative for myself and other women.
I am not going to use fearmongering to sell a product (how under-appreciated is that word btw). So I am going to lay out the facts and let you decide for yourselves.
First things first, the American Cancer Society says there is "not conclusive evidence" linking deodorant chemicals to cancer. The National Cancer Institute site says “more research is needed.” Why can't they give us a straight answer, you ask?
Because there just isn't a whole lot of research that's been done.
That means millions of people use chemical-filled deodorants and antiperspirants every single day (sometimes even multiple times a day) without REALLY knowing the effect the ingredients are having on our bodies. Eeek.
So what do we know?
One study in 2003 suggested that underarm shaving combined with antiperspirant/deodorant use may play a role in breast cancer. There has also been some research on specific ingredients found in conventional deodorants. Here are the ingredients in conventional deodorants that are no-no's in my book:
The bad guys:
- Aluminum – This is the ingredient in antiperspirants that prevents your sweat glands from sweating. Linked to Alzheimer’s disease and "gene instability" in breast tissue according to one study. On top of that, there is nothing natural about clogging your sweat glands, IMHO.
- Parabens – Endocrine/hormone disruptors, found in 99% of breast cancer tissue sampled in this study
- Phthalates – Helps ingredients stick to your skin. Several studies, like this one, have shown that phthalates could impact fetal development in pregnant women.
- Triclosan – Helps kills bacteria. Some studies have linked it to unusual hormone activity. One study suggests it could be messing with our microbiomes and day-to-day operations of our genes.
- Fragrance – Almost every scented product has “fragrance” among its ingredients. Due to an FDA loophole, manufacturers are not required to disclose what that "fragrance" is. It is impossible to know just what chemicals are in there.
So, even the evidence is inconclusive, the existence of some evidence is enough for me. Like they say, where there is smoke there is usually fire.
It's kind of the same way I look at organic vs non-organic food. For every study that shows organic food is healthier than non-organic food, there is another that says organic fruits and vegetables are no better for you than non-organic. Do I still go out of my way to buy organic when I can? You bet! It feels better to put natural, pesticide-free fruits and veggies in my body. And it feels better when I put natural products on my body too.
With all the amazing all-natural products out there (wink wink), why wouldn't you go all-natural?
Take charge of your health. Treat your body well. Ditch the chemical stuff and go all natural.