Best Way to Choose a Natural Deodorant

To banish body odor we reach for an arsenal of pore-blocking ingredients that interfere with this natural body process. But natural alternatives will leave you smelling sweet.

Pharmacies offer a huge selection of sweat-busters, but many are made up of myriad chemicals. Propylene glycol, for instance, is used in brake fluid and antifreeze and is linked in some studies to contact dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver abnormalities. Triclosan, a broad-spectrum antibacterial agent, has been found in some instances to cause allergic contact dermatitis and, over the long term, to cause liver damage in animals. In addition, fears have been expressed that the widespread use of triclosan, used in hand washes and impregnated into some kitchen equipment, might encourage “superbug” bacteria.

Natural Deodorant Best Way to Choose a Natural Deodorant

Antiperspirants take sweat control one stage further, trying to stop it by blocking the pores with aluminum compounds: aluminum zirconium or aluminum chlorohydrate. These need to remain in the pores for a long time to work effectively, so they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream. According to a study published in the journal of Clinical Epidemiology, “a statistically significant trend emerged between an increasing lifetime use of aluminum-containing antiperspirants and the estimated relative risk of Alzheimer’s disease.” So far, however, only one study has made this link.

“Rock” deodorants used for centuries in Asia are also based on aluminum salts. Unlike commercial antiperspirants, the deodorant (which is used by wetting a clear crystal stone and rubbing it on) does not stop perspiration, only odor. Whether these stones are 100 percent safe or not, however, is still a matter of contention in holistic health circles.

Naturopaths are also warning of another danger of antiperspirants: blocking underarm sweat can cause a buildup of toxins, and it has been suggested that heavy antiperspirant use could be contributing to the rising rate of breast cancer. Conventional medical researchers discount this, and it will be several years before studies weigh in, but it is worth remembering that sweat is the body’s way to excrete toxins and waste products.

Natural Deodorant 1 Best Way to Choose a Natural Deodorant

So, how can we stay sweet-smelling naturally? There are plenty of natural odor-busters in natural food stores, many of which avoid the ingredients listed above. Some are alcohol-based, and according to natural health guru Dr. Andrew Weil you could just rub alcohol under your arm, since it acts as an antibacterial agent. Check out those by Tom’s of Maine, Weleda, Desert Essence, Dr. Hauschka, Aubrey Organics, Neal’s Yard, Logona, and The Body Shop, among others. Origins, too, has formulated its No Offense deodorant without aluminum. You could also make your own: try a dusting of baking soda (a terrific deodorizer), arrowroot, or cornstarch.

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