Research shows us more and more that the chemicals used in commercial deodorants are harmful to our health. Heather Patisaul, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University studies endocrine disruptors (chemicals that affect our reproductive and developmental hormones) she explains that “When you put something on your skin, there are times when it can enter your bloodstream without being metabolised”. Even more worrying is that research has also shown that some compounds can be absorbed and stored in our fat cells, which happen to be prevalent in our underarm area along with hormone receptors. These receptors could potentially react to some of the chemicals used in deodorants (1).
Without really understanding the potential harm, we use deodorants that are packed with chemicals every day. We even buy them for our children as they become teenagers, a critical stage of their physical development. Most worryingly is that people just don’t even realise that there are potential toxins in these products.
Chemicals in Deodorants
This chemical is classed as a pesticide by the FDA, they also banned its use in handsoap in 2016, following this in 2017 the FDA declared that it is not recognised as safe or effective for products intended for use in health care settings (2). However it is not banned in the UK and is used in products like soap, deodorants and cosmetics to kill bacteria. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, interfering with our normal hormone functions and research it has also been linked to other health issues such as bowel cancer and osteoporosis, we still don’t really know the true impact on our health from this chemical, but this is a reflection of the lack of research and information we have around this ingredient (3).
Used as preservatives in personal care products research suggests that some parabens may interfere with how our bodies produce and regulate oestrogen and other hormones. 1 Research has detected these chemicals in women’s breast tissue (5), and there are studies trying to understand if these chemicals cause breast cancer. So far there are inconsistent results and so without any proof of their toxicity, they continue to be used in our daily care products.
A very common ingredient in antiperspirants used to block sweat ducts and stop us sweating, however, aluminium is a metal that has been linked to breast and prostate cancer as well as an increased risk of Alzheimers disease. Our bodies are designed to sweat so by design this product interferes with the natural functions of our bodies.
There are many more chemical ingredients in our everyday deodorants, of which the long term health effects are unknown. You can find out more about these in this article
. Of particular concern are the dangerous health effects of spray deodorants, because the chemical ingredients are emitted in a fine mist that is far too easy for us to inhale, it is really best to avoid these. Here is a handy list of chemicals used in personal care products that are worth avoiding.
So..what are the alternatives?
Essential oils contain powerful, yet completely natural compounds that not only smell incredible but also have anti-microbial properties. Here are some deodorant alternatives you could try:
1 . Make your own natural deodorant with these DIY Recipes
DIY Natural Deodorant Stick
¼ cup aluminum free baking soda
¼ cup arrowroot or cornstarch
3–5 tablespoons coconut oil
If you live in a warm climate, add one ounce of melted shea or cocoa butter
15 drops Purify (or other recommended essential oil: Lemon, Melaleuca, Lavender, On Guard, Lime, Geranium, Lemongrass, Purify, or Thyme.
- Combine baking soda, arrowroot, and essential oil
- Add the coconut oil one tablespoon at a time, until mixture is at the desired consistency.
- Press firmly into an empty deodorant container and let sit until coconut oil solidifies (popping it in the fridge or freezer helps)
DIY Natural Deodorant Paste
65 g Shea butter
65 g Coconut oil (the type that solidifies)
10 g Beeswax
70 g Sodium bicarbonate
40 g Arrowroot flour or cornflour
40 drops of essential oils (see recipe above for recommendations)
- Place shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax in a glass bowl and heat until completely melted. (Either by placing the bowl on a pot of gently simmering water and stirring frequently or pop in the Microwave and heat in short bursts on low, stopping and stirring frequently). Remove from heat
- Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined then transfer into a container and place into the fridge or freezer to set
- To use, take a very small amount and rub into armpits
2. Use deodorants made with only natural ingredients
DoTerra has a range of deodorants that combine essential oils with other natural ingredients such as baking soda and tapioca that keep you fresh, naturally.
3. Keep Clean
I know it sounds straight forward but washing every day with warm water will really help to keep bad odours at bay by removing bacteria. Washing also opens up your pores, keeping them healthy. You can even pop a drop of essential oil into the water to help naturally cleanse your skin.
- Time Magazine. 5 Things Wrong With Your Deodorant.
- Mayo Clinic Triclosan FAQ
- Telegraph. Chemical found in soap linked to Osteoporosis in Women
- FDA. Phtalates.
- Time Magazine. Deodorant and Cancer.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can use essential oils for health and happiness, then you can join our online community GREENLIFEOILS
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Happy and healthy living!
Please remember that these are powerful oils and supplements and shouldn’t be used without checking directions on how to use these safely. Always consult with your doctor if you are unsure or you are taking medication. The information in this blog is intended for education purposes only, the statements have not been evaluated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or Theraputic Good Association (TGA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness or injury should consult with a medical practitioner. These suggested uses applu only to certified Pure Theraputic Grade (CPTG) Doterra Essential Oils.