Don’t poison your pits

We all like to smell nice and we resort to using perfumes, deodorants and antiperspirants to remove the unpleasant body odour which is actually not caused by sweat like we think, but by the bacteria that break down the protein in sweat into certain acids.

Sweating is not bad. It is a natural way to cool our body down. It is the body’s way of getting rid of unwanted toxins and salt from our body. Sweat itself is virtually odorless to humans; it is the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat and what they do (break sweat down into acids) that eventually causes the unpleasant smell. The smell is perceived as unpleasant, many believe, because most of us have been brought up to dislike it.

To mask the body odor, there are many personal care products including deodorants and antiperspirants availalble on the shelves today. The trend is to make deodorants and antiperspirants that smell like perfume. Have you ever considered what makes up the gel or white colored paste we slather under our arms to stay fresh and sweat free?  

Deodorants and antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, deodarants and antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms. 

Go to you toiletry cabinet and spend few minutes to read the ingredients label on your deodorant/ antiperspirant spray or stick. Key in the ingredients in the following website link and you will know what I am talking about. The common active ingredients found on any deodorants and antiperspirants are:  

Aluminium compounds: The label may read as aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, aluminium oxide or any aluminum compounds. In 1993, the World Health Organization said, “There is a suspected link between Alzheimer’s disease and the toxicity of aluminum.” (1) The Agency for Toxic Substances and & Disease Registry reports that “Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory and neurological problems.” 

Aluminum Compounds in Deodorant and Antiperspirant – Locking Poisons In. The problem with deodorants and antiperspirants is not only the aluminum, but how it works to reduce sweat and smelly odors. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body. 

Despite arguments that aluminum exposure is anavoidable in air, food, and water sources, many doctors and holistic experts advise avoiding products known to contain additional aluminum – especially deodorants or antiperspirants in an aerosol spray, which can be absorbed through the nasal passages, into the bloodstream, and affect both the respiratory system and the brain. 

Several studies have shown a link between increasing antiperspirant use and rising rates of female breast cancer and prostate cancer in men. However, the FDA has not committed to classifying it as a carcinogen. Their position remains one of “wait and see” as more definitive studies are released. 

Other common harmful ingredients found are: 

Parabens: Parabens are a family of synthetic preservatives that are often found in deodorants as well. In fact, parabens are contained in an alarming amount of our body care products. A random sampling of 100 human urine specimens performed by the CDC showed that all 100 contained parabens. This demonstrates the high absorption rate of chemicals we place on our skin. The label may have words like methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl. They are all toluene derivatives, which is a toxic petrochemical compound. If you swallow or you inhale it, you get intoxicated.  

Triclosan: This is a pesticide, as it is classified by FDA, and if it enters in contact with the skin, it kills all the bacteria, good or bad, that live on the skin. Contact with triclosan may cause dermatitis and it is also believed that it contains some carcinogenic contaminants. Usually, triclosan is stored in the body fat. It can be found in hand-sanitizer. 

Propylene glycol: If it is carcinogenic or not, it is not yet known, but NIOSH established that propylene glycol is a neurotoxin and it may cause kidney or liver diseases. Exposure to propylene glycol may lead to allergies. 

Phthalates: They are another class of chemicals that are often used in deodorants and antiperspirants that you may want to avoid. Phthalates are used in cosmetics, synthetic fragrances, plastics, body care products and medical goods. They help to dissolve other ingredients and to create a better consistency.The problem with phthalates is that they have been linked to a variety of health issues. High phthalate blood and urine levels in women of child bearing age have been linked to a higher risk of birth defects. This suggests that phthalates may disrupt hormone receptors as well as increase the likelihood of cell mutation. 

Silica: It irritates the skin and it can have crystalline quartz in it, which is a carcinogen substance. 

Pay attention if one of the ingredients is steareth-n, with n being any number. It can be obtain from vegetal sources, but it reacts with ethylene oxide, which is carcinogen. 

It is best to go for deodorants that are made of vegetable glycerin, natural preservatives like bioflavanoids and lichen, herbs or herbal extracts, de-ionized water or distilled water, green tea, aloe vera,tea tree oil (anti-bacterial), baking soda and essential oils. There are deodorants made with natural rock salt called crystal deodorants. Natural rock salt deodorants, sold in dry crystal form, are an effective natural alternative to antiperspirants for those with allergies or sensitive skin. 

Even if what you read on the label may not look dangerous and you do not see any of the ingredients listed above, still the product can contain some harmful elements. For instance, the plant extracts may already contain parabens and propylene glycol. If they are not extracted in vegetable glycerine, most vegetable extracts provided by deodorant manufacturers are exposed to parabens and other synthetic preservatives. If you want to make sure that the product you are buying is safe, you may call the manufacturer to ask for all the needed information. 

Apart from going for natural deodorants/antiperspirants , the ways we can prevent body odor are:

  1. Change in the diet: Avoid eating more spicy and fatty food.
  2. Make your own deodorant at home which is simple and cost-effective.  

I made my own natural deodorant with the available ingredients in my kitchen pantry. All you need is:

  1. Pure coconut oil – 3 tablespoon (Coconut oil is a bit of a Swiss knife product, used in cooking but also to nourish the skin and hair, and for medicinal purposes: the lauric acid it contains is deemed to have antibacterial qualities, which explains its role here)
  2. Arrowroot/ corn starch powder  – 2 tablespoon (used for keeping the skin dry and soft)
  3. Food grade baking soda – 1 teaspoon ( baking soda has got deodorizing properties)
  4. Skin safe essential oils like Lavender oil / tea-tree oil which has got anti-bacterial preoperties – 2 to 3 drops. 

You don’t need to add EO if you want your deodarant fragrance free. 

How to make it: In a small clean bowl, combine the baking soda and starch. Add the coconut oil, mash and stir it in until smooth and creamy. Then add your EO and mix it again .Transfer to a air -tight glass or plastic container with lid.  
You can apply the paste like deodarant with your clean fingers or with a  small wooden stick under your clean arm pits. It will leave no white mark. 
Hope you try this recipe at home and feel free to write your feedback on how effective it is in removing the body odor. You may have to apply twice in a day if you want 24 hours of protection from body odor.


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