Have you ever thought about doing a chemical analysis on your favorite brand of antiperspirant? Most people don’t think about the many toxins that are lurking in it. Many Americans would rather risk exposure to harmful chemicals rather than be labeled as smelly.
But have you ever thought about who your choice of antiperspirant affects? No, really, think about it. Obviously it affects our own bodies as we swipe our armpits with it after showering. Antiperspirants also can affect our unborn children as direct contact with our skin goes into our pores and travels throughout the body. Teenagers use it while their bodies are in a very important stage of development right before they reach full adulthood. Breastfeeding infants are often cradled close to the armpit for comfort. Fish and other sea life are forced to live in the water runoff from our showers. When you put it in those terms, the type of antiperspirant you choose and the ingredients used in them really do matter.
The ingredients in your antiperspirant matter because it is swabbed onto a part of the body that is responsible for doing a lot of cleansing work. You have lymph nodes, an important part of your immune system, located in the armpit region. Your lymph nodes help to guard against infection. Perhaps you have had an infection in some part of your body and were able to feel when they were swollen. This is a sign that your body is functioning properly to fight off disease.
Your armpit is also an area that sweats a lot, serving two purposes. The first purpose of sweat is to cleanse the body of toxins that need to be released. The second purpose of sweat is to cool the body down. Since antiperspirants stop your armpits from sweating, all those toxins remain in the body.
The “Natural” Way
A simple chemical analysis of your antiperspirant will show hormone disruptors, petroleum products, and other chemicals that can possibly cause a lung infection. These are not ingredients you want getting under your skin and into your bloodstream.
So if traditional antiperspirants are so terrible, what would be a better choice? If you take a trip to your natural health store, you will find a number of products labeled as “deodorant.” Their level of effectiveness often depends on a person’s body chemistry and other environmental factors like the weather. Antiperspirant differs from deodorant in that antiperspirant stops the armpits from sweating — something we have already established as being potentially harmful. Certain natural deodorants, depending upon the ingredients, can absorb some of the sweat and while leaving behind a natural scent.
You should look for a deodorant that contains simple ingredients like baking soda to help absorb sweat. You can also look for those containing essential oils rather than chemically laced perfumes. You may have to apply the deodorant twice a day depending upon your activity level, but some consider that a minor inconvenience. There are also some homemade options available all over the internet. When it comes to the health of your body, you should always insist upon using the best ingredients available.
By Linda Ganges, a chemical grad student looking into what makes up the products she uses on a daily basis.