Recently a top L.A. colorist shared her woes of deodorant detoxing…the smells, the worries, the unknown. She was two weeks in and she wanted to jump ship. Her work requires her to constantly raise her arms, as she applies highlights like a mad scientist. Her beauty routine consisted of switching between chemical deodorants and antiperspirants (one conceals odor and the other blocks sweat), both of which are laden with chemicals. She had tried to detox her bodycare before, unprepared for the side effects. Luckily, it can be done with greater ease and your body will be better for it.
WHY ALUMINUM-BASED PRODUCTS MIGHT BE LINKED TO DISEASE
There are more than a few reasons to ditch chemical deodorants and antiperspirants. The active ingredient in all the major antiperspirants is an aluminum compound, which forms a plug within the sweat ducts to stop sweat from getting to the surface of the skin. This means the skin can’t breath; the body can’t function as it is meant to. More concerning is that some research suggests that aluminum-based deodorant, when applied daily and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed and cause estrogen-like hormonal effects. Due to the fact that estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists suggest that aluminum-based compounds may contribute to the development of breast cancer. Studies have been conducted that have shown a link. Other studies have refuted these results. One thing not up for debate is that breast cancer, other than skin cancer, is the most common cancer among women in the U.S.
In addition to breast cancer, aluminum deodorant has been also been linked to Alzheimer’s and kidney disease (the FDA now requires a warning on all aluminum deodorants to people with kidney disease). Even though findings have not been conclusive, they raise concerns.
After using chemcial body products for years, the body is out of balance. Here is how to start your detox:
- Timing is Everything – Find a time to start the detox. Ideally this is a vacation in the sun, where sweat is inevitable, but that isn’t always possible. If free time is an issue, a long weekend can be used to kick start this process.
- Clear Your Calendar – Simply toss out your chemical deodorant, so you are certain not to use it again. Try to plan the detox without a big event on the horizon, because you don’t want to revert back to your old brand when your body is adjusting to an aluminum-free life.
- Rid the Body of Toxins – You should not switch to a natural deodorant right away, because your pores were previously blocked. Chances are you are going to sweat a lot and often. It’s best to not using anything during this period. It may seem like your body is purging all that sweat it needed to release when it couldn’t. This will taper off, and your body will begin to find balance. Be patient, it may take two or three weeks before this happens.
- Shower Essentials – Not a pleasant fact, but the scent of your sweat will be pretty brutal. A friend said she would wake up in the morning during her detox and just absolutely stink. Shower often and use a soft body loofah, in the armpit areas, to remove dead skin cells during this initial detox. The intense sweat and the smell will slowly taper off and you will find your body start to self-regulate beautifully.
- You Are What You Eat – Remove red meat and processed foods from your diet, this modification improves body odor. Perspiring excess minerals and healthy waste doesn’t result in offensive odor.
- Your Cycle – After your body adjusts to being chemical-free, you may find that around your menstrual cycle you will perspire a bit more and the smell may be a bit noticeable. This is normal and natural deodorants can take care of it easily.
In order to share the best options available, we enlisted the extremely knowledgeable staff at Rising Tide Natural Market. Rising Tide is a leader in healthy living. They opened their doors before organic chain markets existed. Their best advice: the simpler the better. Like healthy food, look for deodorants with the fewest ingredients, which are recognizable as natural.
“People often turn to natural deodorants after cancer. It’s unfortunate that it takes something so terrible to finally make a change.”
– Lilian, Rising Tide Natural Market
Schmidt’s is Lilian’s absolute favorite product for sweat and odor protection. The award-winning formulas are created with ingredients derived from minerals and plants.
Tom’s of Maine deodorant sticks are made with odor-fighting hops. Our editor’s favorite is scent is Beautiful Earth.
And Mountain Spring for the guys!
“The ingredient of Tea Tree oil seems to work well for heavy sweat-ers. Tea Tree has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties”
Nourish Organics uses a blend of cornstarch and plant enzymes to prevent odor. It’s a great for product for sensitive skin because the ingredients include shea and cocoa butters.
“The crystal deodorants are great, because they are so pure. They have to be applied wet, though; either right after the shower while your skin is still damp, or you have to wet the crystal with water.”
A RARE PIT STOP
After you detox, you may still wish to buy a aluminum-based product in case of a special event (e.g. a wedding or an important business presentation). For times like these, it’s best to buy your former deodorant in a small travel size since you will only use it once in a blue moon. Keep it somewhere out of sight, so it doesn’t work it’s way back into your routine. You may never end up using it again; the natural options perform really well once you’ve detoxed.
*Special thanks to Rising Tide Natural Market. Scientific findings included in this article were taken from studies cited on Cancer.gov.