As I get older I become more aware and consumer-conscious about what I eat, drink and put onto my skin. I began this pursuit mainly because I have an ultra-sensitive body and I now like to be in control of what I buy for myself. Label-reading has become a big part of my shopping routine and also this may not be a coincidence (but who really knows) but there are lots of breast-cancer cases on the increase and it aroused my curiosity into thinking what is in the deodorant that I buy?
So let’s get personal and tackle a subject that not many people like to talk about, and that is body odour. Nobody likes to have it and let’s face it, it can be embarrassing. So it only natural (being the operative word here) that people take to using deodorants, anti-perspirants, perfumes and body sprays to smell nice clean and fresh.
But have you ever wondered what is contained in that little anti-odour tube or aerosol tin?
According to Wikipedia “a deodorant is a substance applied to the body to prevent body odour, caused by the bacterial breakdown of perspiration in the arm-pits, feet and other parts of the body. A sub-group of deodorants, anti-perspirants affect odour as well as preventing sweating by affecting sweat glands.”
I researched the ingredients of over-the-counter deodorants and was amazed at what they contained – see some examples in this table:
|Zirconium||Clogging and closing the pores||May develop allergic anxillary granulama response damage breast cells|
|Propylene Glycol||Often used in hair and personal care products. Derived from petroleum products. Also used in anti-freeze.||Skin irritation. May cause damage to central nervous system, liver and heart.May even be found in natural deodorants (read the label)|
|Aluminium chlorohydrate (Aluminium choride)||Blocks pores from sweating||A neurotoxin.
Can affect blood brain barrier. May cause DNA damage, and epigenetic effects.
Increases risk of Alzheimer’s.
|Parabens||Preservatives||Mimic activity of oestrogen in the body cells, which can disrupt hormonal activity and balance. Parabens build up in breast tissue, possible connection with cancer.|
|Triclosan||Anti-bacterial agent and preservative|| A classified pesticide according to the FDA.
If added to water, can create chloroform gas – a potential carcinogen.
|Steareths (usually listed with a number, eg Steareths 15)||Additives||Cheap properties which make harsh ingredients more mild – known as ‘ethoxylation’. This produces carcinogenic 14-dioxanes during manufacturing process.|
|Fragrance||Often known as Diethylphalate (DEP)||Disrupts endocrine system. Toxic to organs. Linked to reproductive abnormalities.|
|Benzyl alcohol||Organic alcohol found in fruits and teas. Used in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products||Neurotoxicity|
|Silica||Increase viscosity of deodorant||May cause cancer, allergies, neurotoxicity|
Did you know, in the USA the deodorant market alone is forecast to reach $15.78 billion by 2018?
Surely, there was a kinder and safer option. Indeed, I did find them in a health shop but they are rather pricey so surely I could make my own. Surely it cannot be too difficult… Surely not…. so here it is.
Natural Deodorant Recipe
- 1/4 cup virgin organic coconut oil
- 1/4 baking soda
- 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot
- 10 drops of lavender oil
- 10 drops of tea tree oil
- Glass jar with a lid
- Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
- Add melted coconut oil and stir well
- Add drops of chosen oil
- Mix well into a smooth paste, ensuring there are no lumps. Pour into glass jar (plastic containers may hold toxins) and keep at room temperature.
Properties of Each Ingredient
- Baking soda absorbs odours
- Starch absorbs wetness
- Coconut oil antioxidant and moisturiser with anti-fungal/bacterial properties
- Lavender oil natural antiseptic
- Tea tree oil anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic
NB: You may want to experiment with your own natural oil(s), I quite like lavender and tea tree.
The deodorant texture can become solid especially in the winter months but it is easy to dig out with your fingers or even a spoon. You only need a small amount, rub it into your fingertips then apply to your skin. The essential oils smell lovely and most important of all, the deodorant does not stain clothes or turn them white. That has to be a good thing – especially if you wear a lot of black.
I like to keep the deodorant in a glass jar. Some plastic containers are not BPA free which means toxins from the containers can feed into its contents (including food kept in them). I also like to use stainless steel pans because they too do not leak toxins like the non stick variety.