Originally posted by Brynn on rxnutrition.ca 6/3/15
Today, I tackle a subject that no one really wants to talk about: sweat and body odour. We all sweat (some more than others), but of course no one wants to see or smell it which is why we wear deodorant or antiperspirant.
Sweat is a healthy physical response to exertion that that helps maintain body temperature by cooling us down. It is also one of the body’s natural detox systems by releasing built up toxins through our sweat. The difference between deodorants and antiperspirants is that deodorants remove the odour of sweat, but antiperspirants reduce sweating in the first place. The ISSUE: Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain a variety of chemicals and additives. It takes something un-natural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat, and the chemical list in some deodorants is impressive:
- Aluminum: Aluminum is a metal, which is used in antiperspirants to help block the sweat from escaping the pores. Aluminum has been linked to cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Propylene glycol: common name: antifreeze… I think that us enough to explain it isn’t healthy but studies have shown that it can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart
- Phthalates: Phthalates are endocrine disruptors often also found in plastic that can cause hormone imbalance and even infertility
- Formaldehyde: a known carcinigen… but it does kill the germs though…
- Parabens: Another hormone disruptor that can mimic natural estrogens and they have been found is breast cancer biopsies
- Triclosan: used as the odour killing part of antiperspirants for its anti-bacterial properties. Triclosan is actually classified as a pesticide by the FDA and is a known carcinogen.
Why is this a big deal? The skin is the body’s largest organ and what we put on our skin enters the bloodstream and can have a great impact on your health. Not only that, but we have lymph nodes under our arms. Our lymph nodes are part of our immune system (ever get a lump under your arm when you are sick?) and they help your body fight infection and disease. Putting endocrine disrupting chemicals directly on top of them is a great way to screw up your hormones and suppress immune function.
I knew all this information about how conventional deodorants are harmful for years but it has been drilled in my head that sweat is gross and we need to stop it. So what to do? Sweat like a pig or get Alzheimers and breast cancer? For anyone who knows me (especially my friends at the gym), you know I sweat A LOT! But I finally decided to be my own test subject and I took the leap and finally ditched my deodorant for natural stuff. I have to tell you it was EXTREMELY scary. I chose to do it during the winter as I know I would be sweating less and it has now been 3 months since I started my "underarm detox" and I am here to share the amazing results!
Now before all my friends stop sitting near me, I need to tell you what I did and that it actually works! I was very skeptical and very self conscious at the beginning (doing many awkward smell checks) but when you give it a chance, follow the steps below you will no longer feel like you need your old antiperspirant. Trust me, it works all day, after a long run and even 2 hours at the gym! When I first started using it I even made my mom smell me after coming home from a run just to see if it was still working (thanks mom!). There is a bit of a transition period as there is with any change you make on your body but with a few simple steps, it was a painless process. I started with an “armpit cleanse” as I read it would speed up the process/make it easier to transition to wearing natural deodorant
HOW TO DO AN ARMPIT CLEANSE
- After you stop using your current deodorant, use a loofah when showering to remove dead skin and toxins from under your armpit. Continue to use a loofah every time you shower to ensure you are getting rid of any bacteria that could be lingering under your arms
- Apply aluminum free baking soda to armpits when wet, then apply your natural deodorant (recipe I used below)
- When you smell any odour coming from your armpits, wash them and then apply aluminum free baking soda. After that, apply the natural deodorant again. If you are on the go you can use baby wipes to wash under your arms
- Repeat this process until you natural deodorant works for up to 6 hours. It took me about 3 days but I have read it can take up to two weeks depending on the person
You can use the recipe below or replace your deodorant with a natural brand from any health food store (but be sure to read the ingredient list).
NATURAL DEODORANT RECIPE:
- 6 Tbs coconut oil
- 4 Tbs aluminum free baking soda
- 4 Tbs arrowroot powder
- essential oils (optional) – I used lavender but you can use whatever scent you would like to smell like all day :)
- Mix baking soda and arrowroot together in a medium sized bowl
- Mash in coconut oil with a fork until well mixed
- Add oils if desired.
- Store in small glass jar or old deodorant container
At the beginning you may notice you are sweating a little more as your body is detoxing, but after time you will most likely sweat less than before. Also without the unnatural antiperspirant properties, you will sweat as there is nothing in the formula that will stop sweating but remember this is a natural process that your body is supposed to do! Sweating does not need to mean you smell. Sweat itself is virtually odourless but in the presence of bacteria that causes sweat to smell. On top of using the natural deodorant and following the detox steps, eating well and drinking lots water will help with the process.
I urge you to try making your own deodorant or at least trying a natural brand. If you do try it, let me know the outcome!