All of Us Sweat and Sweat is a Good ThingThe act of sweating – especially via exercise – washes out toxins from your body. Without sweat, all that gunk would be festering under your skin. Just imagine how much worse you would smell! Deodorants and antiperspirants get in the way of this natural detoxification processes. The aisle at your local pharmacy has dozens of products. Some are just deodorants. Some are just antiperspirants. Some are both. Yet there are big differences between deodorants and antiperspirants. Deodorants don’t stop you from sweating but instead try to neutralize the odor of your sweat. Apply it to where you sweat and that sweat will come out smelling cleaner because it’s passing through the deodorant – like blowing air through a dryer sheet. Antiperspirants try to prevent you from sweating by blocking your pores. Well, it tries to. The FDA requires that an antiperspirant only has to reduce sweat by 20% in order to claim that it provides “all day protection.” To claim the mantle of “extra strength,” it has to reduce sweat by 30%. Yes, nearly everything is advertised with exaggerated claims. But it’s really hard to understand how “all day protection” and “20% effective” can represent the same product. Would you buy a new roof that was only 20% to 30% effective at keeping water out? Of course, 20% to 30% is not really effective. And it’s not worth the risk you are taking when you consider the cocktail of chemicals that are in most commercial antiperspirants and deodorants.
Toxins in Your Deodorants and AntiperspirantsAs with so many conventional health care products, antiperspirants and deodorants are loaded with chemicals that are unnatural and toxic. Though you’ve likely been using antiperspirants and deodorants since puberty, research is only now starting to shed light on the harmful effects of these substances. First is triclosan. If it sounds familiar it’s because the FDA issued a ruling in 2016 that over-the-counter products containing antibacterial ingredients such as triclosan can no longer by marketed to consumers. The ruling follows research that shows that triclosan:
- Alters hormone regulation in animals
- Might harm our immune systems
- Might cause us to develop antibiotic-resistant germs
K.O. Your B.O. With a Healthy DietWhat you eat can affect how much you sweat. Caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, and spicy foods cause your body to perspire more. Limit these if you feel that you sweat too much or are struggling with body odor. Speaking of which, what you eat also affects the scent of your sweat. Here are some foods that have been linked to stronger body odor:
- Red meat
- Pungent spices such as curry and cumin
- Spicy food
Natural Alternatives to Name-Brand Deodorants and AntiperspirantsLet’s ditch the idea that antiperspirants have any positive benefits to your health. Bottom line, when you use antiperspirants, you are slathering on a slew of unnatural chemicals and toxins for the purpose of preventing the release of the toxins inside your body. It’s counterproductive to your health. But what should you do about your sweat – especially if you sweat a lot or have a strong body odor? Deodorants aren’t bad for you if you use the right kind. PiperWai makes a deodorant that is free of parabens, aluminum and synthetic fragrances. Schmidt’s natural deodorant fights odors with a coconut-pineapple smell. Plus, it’s designed for sensitive skin. Finally, it’s easier than you think to make your own deodorant using commonly found items, some which may already be in your house – such as coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, apple cider vinegar, pink Himalayan salt, and more. A quick Google search for “natural DIY deodorants” will turn up a number of simple, easy-to-follow recipes.
It’s Possible to Detoxify AND DeodorizeEmerging research on conventional antiperspirants and deodorants – like so many health care products – shows that they are doing more harm than good to your body. What we know already is bad enough. What we find out tomorrow could be worse! But there are dozens of ways to stop the stink without interfering with your body’s natural and necessary detoxification process or adding more toxins to your body.
- Havlicek, J. & Lenochova, P. “The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness.” Chemical Senses. Published Octobor 2006.
- McGrath, KG. “An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving.” European Journal of Cancer Prevention. Published December 2003.
- Leonard, J. “11 Scary Reasons to Stop Using Store Bought Deodorant & What To Use Instead.” Natural Living Ideas. Published Jan. 11, 2016.
- Steckelberg M.D., J. “Should I avoid products that contain triclosan?” Mayo Clinic. Published March 9, 2016.
- Borreli, L. “You Are What You Eat: 6 Smelly Foods That Are Actually Giving You Bad Body Odor.” Medical Daily. Published Aug. 16, 2014.