Why You Should Try Natural Deodorant
By Jessica, May 15, 2011
There has been much scandal surrounding the health risks associated with deodorants and anti-perspirants in recent years. Some reports will tell you there have been tentative links between their use and an increased risk of breast cancer or Alzheimer’s, while others will tell you this hasn’t been comprehensively proven. Regardless of whether you take this as a serious concern or just serious scare-mongering, natural deodorants may be worth a try.
Difference Between Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant
The main thing to take note of with deodorants – natural or otherwise – is that they are not designed to stop you from sweating; they just kill the bacteria that cause unpleasant odours to develop. Anti-perspirants on the other hand are designed to prevent perspiration altogether by blocking the sweat ducts.
Blocking of the sweat ducts is achieved using aluminium salts, an ingredient which may then be absorbed by the skin under the armpit. There have been concerns that aluminum could disrupt the body’s natural oestrogen production – something that has been linked to the growth of both cancerous and non-cancerous cells in the breast. A definite link has not been proven and a number of prominent cancer research bodies dispute claims otherwise, but it has been said that more research into the area is needed.
Parabens are another ingredient of concern. These preservative chemicals are included in a large number of cosmetic products and have been found in some breast cancer tumours. While there has been no conclusive evidence that the application of parabens to the skin is directly linked with a greater risk of developing cancer, they are increasingly being removed from cosmetic products to ease concerns.
While anti-perspirants are a popular choice for a feeling of freshness, it is important to note that sweating is a natural function of the body in excreting toxins. This is one reason many people opt for deodorant products instead, but you may be surprised to learn that many deodorants on the market also contain the duct-blocking aluminium, as well as a number of parabens.
One welcome alternative is ‘natural deodorant’. These products usually make use of essential oils and other naturally occurring substances that are known to have anti-bacterial or deodorising effects. Generally they come in either a pump spray (not aerosol) or roll-on form and you’ll find both scented and fragrance-free variations.
Aside from being free from aluminium and parabens, they also get points for leaving far less staining on clothes, being far more suitable for sensitive skins, and not inducing choking fits on the chemical scents that emit from certain aerosol counterparts. A number are now available in Ireland, mostly from health food stores. See our Top Five Natural Deodorants for some recommendations.