11 Feb The Benefits of Choosing Natural Deodorants
Don’t let all the conflicting info about deodorants get you in a sweat! Here’s the low-down on natural deodorants, and what makes them so much healthier than ordinary commercial deodorant brands. First, let’s take a look at some fascinating facts about sweat; what it is, how it affects your everyday health, and why you shouldn’t be plugging up your pores with a harsh antiperspirant.
WHY WE SWEAT
Sweating is the body’s natural way of cooling itself. Sweat is mostly water, with small amounts of salt and minerals; when sweat evaporates off our skin, our body temperature is reduced. We each produce around 1 Litre of sweat a day, but most of it evaporates as it is produced. We also sweat due to stress, physical exertion and hormonal changes.
Did You Know? Your body has between 2 and 4 million sweat glands! Women typically have more sweat glands than men, BUT men’s sweat glands actually produce more sweat.
Sweat itself doesn’t actually smell bad; in fact it’s completely odourless. Rather it’s the bacteria on our skin, which mixes with the sweat and starts breaking it down, that creates body odour.
Sweating is an essential and healthy function. It cleans the pores of the skin, and helps the body to expel toxins, flushing out nasties like alcohol, cholesterol and salt. Why do you think you feel so good after you “sweat it out” in the gym or sauna?
Perspiration also plays a role in the body’s disease-fighting functions; sweat contains positively charged antimicrobial peptides, which attract negatively charged bacteria, fungi and viruses, and helps to break them down.
ANTIPERSPIRANTS & ALUMINIUM
Antiperspirant deodorants work to stop the sweating process completely. The active ingredient that lets the antiperspirant do this is an aluminium compound, which temporarily plugs up your sweat ducts. Inactive ingredients typically include a number of synthetic fragrances, which give the deodorant its scent.
Now we’ve already established that sweating is a natural, healthy detoxing process that’s essential to your body’s wellbeing – blocking up your sweat glands simply isn’t good for you. Not only that, but all those synthetic ingredients can lead to irritation, redness and rashes on your delicate underarm skin.
However, the biggest culprit here is aluminium – this toxin is linked to a number of health cproblems, and is found in ordinary antiperspirant deodorants, along with a host of other nasty stuff.
WHY ORDINARY DEODORANTS ARE THE PITS!
Common nasties found in commercial deodorants:
Aluminum: Causes oxidative stress in the body; depletes magnesium, calcium and iron levels. Aluminium has been linked to liver and kidney complaints, as well as a higher risk or Alzheimer’s and certain cancers.
Parabens: These are known endocrine disruptors which can lead to reproductive and hormonal disorders. Parabens are also allergens, skin irritants and environmental toxins.
Phthalates: Endocrine disruptors that can cause hormonal disruptions, and have been linked to damage of the liver, kidneys and lungs.
Proplyene glycol: Irritates the skin, eyes and lungs; also linked to liver and kidney damage.
Talc: Talcum powder is a suspected carcinogen, and is sometimes contaminated with asbestiform fibres.
NATURAL DEODORANTS ARE ON A ROLL
The good news is there are plenty of natural deodorants available, made without aluminium and other contaminants.
Unlike antiperspirants, these deodorants don’t block up your sweat glands; and unlike ordinary roll-ons and sprays, they’re not filled with synthetic scents that attempt to mask body odour. Rather, they’re made with natural antibacterial plant extracts (eg. tea tree, grapefruit, lemon), which allow you to sweat, but neutralise the bacteria on your skin that cause bad odours. Natural deodorants are designed to “work smarter, not harder” than their chemical-laden counterparts.
EASY DIY DEODORANT BAR
Try your hand at this all-natural deodorant, made with ingredients that banish bacteria and keep you feeling fresh. Enjoy!
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil
- ½ cup shea butter
- ½ cup + 1tsp beeswax
- 1tsp sweet almond oil
- 3Tbsp baking soda (unless you have extra-sensitive skin)
- ½ cup organic arrowroot powder
- Contents of 2-3 natural probiotic capsules (optional)
- 20 drops of your favourite essential oil (optional)
- Heat the coconut oil, shea butter & beeswax in a double boiler; stir well until melted & smooth.
- Remove the mixture from the heat; make sure it’s warm to the touch but not hot.
- Gently stir in the almond oil, baking soda & arrowroot. Add the probiotic powder & essential oil if desired. Stir together gently until incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into a muffin tin & leave to harden overnight.
- Store your natural deodorant bars in clean tins or glass jars. To use, lightly rub a deodorant bar over your underarm area after a bath or shower.