Have you ever noticed that your arm pits are significantly darker than the rest of your skin? Or maybe dark bumps where pores should be? Well, chances are years of wearing deodorant are to blame.
In western culture, once you hit puberty and the hormones start to change, being sweaty at school when you are not playing a sport ceases to be cute. With all the peer pressure and bullying in grade school, the last thing you want to do is be the sweaty smelly kid. So like well-trained monkeys we would all RUN to the nearest drug store and stock up on our favorite scented, sweat blockers of choice. Some of us even had parents who had weird home remedies like rubbing a lemon under your arms. The reality is most of these products also contain harmful chemicals.
Common chemical ingredients in your average deodorant include:
Parabens – Although the dangers of parabens in hair and skincare products have become mainstream knowledge most people do not consider what goes on the skin under their arms. So to reiterate there is skin under your arms. This skin has pores that can absorb just about anything you put on. Additives like parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, leading to hormonal imbalances, and even breast cancer.
Steareths – These are the product of a chemical reaction. Steareths are another type of additive that you might not be as familiar with and a known carcinogen.
Triclosan – The FDA recently re-classified this ingredient as a PESTICIDE. It has been in the news lately predominantly because for many years it has been one of the main ingredients in antibacterial soaps. It is a common skin irritant and when combined with water it can create a carcinogenic gas called chloroform (Yes, that stuff from old spy movies that they would use to knock each other out!)
Propylene Glycol – Most deodorants have ~50% propylene glycol BUT propylene glycol is believed to be harmful to your central nervous system, not to mention your skin at a meager 2%. Did you know it was originally developed as an anti-freeeze?
TEA and DEA – Let’s just start with the fact that triethanolamine (TEA) and diethanolamine (DEA) are already banned in Europe. When absorbed over a long period of time (i.e. SINCE PUBERTY) they can lead to liver and kidney damage; as well as cause allergic reactions.
Artificial Colors – Did you know that some artificial colors are made from coal tar derivatives? Or the fact that sometimes it is those fun deodorant colors causing the contact dermatitis under your arms?
Aluminum Compounds – The main ingredient that keeps us “fresh” all day long, while clogging our pores is aluminum. Which when you think about is kind of funny. The same thing that you use to wrap leftovers or bake a sweet potato is under your arms. Trapping in sweat like it traps heat to make your favorite dish. With prolonged use, these aluminum compounds can build up in our arm pits. While there is no conclusive proof that this build up can contribute to breast cancer, why take the risk!
SO, What’s a girl (or guy) to do? Seek Natural Alternatives!
Now we know that there is a great deal of skepticism around the effectiveness of natural deodorants. We know because it is a skeptism we had as well! That was until we learned all of those lovely facts above.
In our quest to find natural alternatives we came across two brands that managed to hold up to hot August days:
SCHMIDT’S Natural Deodorant – We tried three of the scents: Ylang-Ylang & Calendula, Lavender & Sage, and the Unscented. This deodorant definitely stands up to its claims of “effectively neutralizing odor and absorbing wetness”. It also smells great all day long without feeling like you need to reapply to touch it up. BUT our only caveat to that is the unpleasant formulation and application experience. This deodorant is not the smooth consistency you have come to love from deodorants. While we expected there to be differences we would have to get accustomed to, bruised arm pits was not one of them. We even tried the recommendation provided by Schmidt of holding the deodorant under our arms, allowing our body heat to warm or “melt” it a bit before swiping. Nevertheless, bruised arm pits is what we got. We did not try the jarred versions of these deodorants. It is possible that the more liquefied formulation lends itself to a better application experience.
The Honest Co. Deodorant in Lavender Vanilla – Let’s just start by acknowledging the amazing smell of this deodorant. It could be 9hrs post application and you can still smell yourself! But in a good way! It is a liquid formulation in a convenient to use spray bottle. It is as it claims to be, “effective, non-sticky, delightfully refreshing, and long-lasting.” Initially we were nervous about a liquid formulation that feels like you’re spraying on water but even when used going to the gym it held up under pressure. Give it a try and let us know what you think!