I Need...Deodorant

>> Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An actual conversation between me and my husband a couple weeks ago:

Me: Did you try that Crystal deodorant today?
Hubby: Yes, did you?
Me: Yes. Is it working for you?
Hubby: I don't know. I haven't smelled myself. Is it working for you?
Me: I haven't smelled myself either. I guess we'll have to smell each other later.

Ah, the joys of testing out new deodorants!

I think we can all admit that deodorants are a very useful product. Not stinking is a pretty nice thing. So why do they put so many bad things in something so good?

Deodorants/antiperspirants contain three toxic chemicals from the Dirty Dozen, as well as a couple other suspicious ingredients:

  1. Parabens: Widely used preservatives, parabens mimic estrogen in the body and may increase the risk for certain types of cancer.
  2. Talc: This is that ingredient that used to be in baby powder that we're now told at the hospital, "Do not use!" Talc is a known carcinogen.
  3. Propylene Glycol: Besides being a neurotoxin and a skin irritant, propylene glycol "alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate deep into the skin increasing the amount of chemicals that reach the bloodstream," according to the Dirty Dozen.
  4. Aluminum compounds: The ingredient that keeps you from perspiring, aluminun compounds have been linked to Alzheimer's disease, and some scientists have found correlations between anti-perspirant use and breast cancer.
  5. Triclosan: Classified as a pesticide by the FDA, this is that "antibacterial" ingredient that they're putting in everything these days.
Using deodorant also generates a lot of non-recyclable plastic waste.

So what's your average sweaty girl (or guy) to do?


BABY STEPS
  • Switch from an anti-perspirant to a deodorant. Sweating might not be the most comfortable thing, but is your desire to stay dry worth increasing your risk for Alzheimer's or breast cancer? Logically, it just doesn't sound very safe to plug up our pores with aluminum.
  • Prevent sweating the natural way by wearing light-colored clothing that fits loosely, choosing cotton over synthetic fabrics, and drinking lots of cold water.
JOGGING STRIDE
  • Check Skin Deep for a less toxic deodorant. Beth over at Smart Family tips has created an awesome list of products that rate low on Skin Deep and can be found at most drugstores, Target, or Kroger.
  • Look for a solid deodorant bar that is packaged without a container, such as these from Lush.
  • Try a deodorant crystal like this. These all natural mineral salt stones neutralize odors, allowing your body to sweat without stinking.
MARATHON RUNNER
  • Dust your pits with baking soda. This is probably the most popular "all-natural" deodorant. You can either use a cotton ball or powder puff to apply it to your fresh-out-of-the-shower armpits, or mix the baking soda with a little water to make it more like a paste.
  • Try out other all-natural deodorant recipes, such as these from Care2.com.

Tips for the Budget Conscious
Using baking soda is probably your best bet, but since I've never used baking soda as a deodorant for longer than a week, I'm not sure how long a box of baking soda lasts in this situation. Any users want to provide some input?

The deodorant crystal is only $7 at Whole Foods and should last a year. If you don't have a Whole Foods near you, deodorant crystals are generally available at health food stores.


Where I'm At
I've been using the deodorant crystal, and it's working great so far. But I'm not a very sweaty person. In fact, I barely sweat at all. So it's hard to make a judgment call until summer when I actually break a sweat. I will say though that I tried baking soda a couple years ago in the summer, and didn't like it at all. It mostly worked fine, but I was so paranoid about whether or not it was working that I never felt comfortable. And there were definitely one or two days that I started to smell a little.

My husband also tested out the crystal, and it worked okay for him. But as I've mentioned, he's a super sweaty man and it's winter. I don't think the crystal will hold up to a North Carolina summer, especially when he's biking to work.

7 comments:

Maren Hansen February 25, 2009 at 2:49 PM  

This is a hard one for me as I fall in the same catergory and your hubby: super sweaty even when the temp is 62 indoors... It's sad, but I can even sweat while other parts of me are super cold. I think I'd be willing to try the crystal, however...

Stephanie February 26, 2009 at 10:12 PM  

Oh, I envy you! I didn't really ever break a sweat until after I had my son. Nowadays, I'm like my own tropical rainforest, it gets really embarrassing. Thankfully, I don't have an intense odor problem, any odor is kept in check by whatever deodorant I'm using, but who wants to go around looking like she just stepped out of the shower all summer long? LOL

greeen sheeep February 27, 2009 at 11:00 AM  

I have tried, tried, tried and failed miserably each time at switching deodorants. I now have a drawer full of "natural" deodorants that just don't get the job done for me. I refuse to give up though. When the one I have runs out, I'm going to try again. This time with a homemade concoction using baking soda. I have little hope and lots of doubt, but if at first you don't succeed....

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 27, 2009 at 8:12 PM  

Maren, Stephanie, and greeen sheeep - Deodorant's a tough one. I think there are some areas where we just have to say, "I gave it my best try." I'm going through this right now with natural shampoos - so far I haven't been satisfied with anything I've tried. More on this next week...

Green Resolutions March 21, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

Please make sure you give us an update on a 90-degree day. I tried the crystal thing last summer, and seriously, I could've used a child's play deodorant and had the same effect. Such a waste of money, and I still have it in my bathroom b/c I hate to throw away the plastic. So I started using Tom's of Maine when I'm home in the summer (or everyday in the winter) and the old antipersperant when I go out. But I'm almost out of the old stuff and wondering if I should try baking soda this summer. At the blog SuburbanCrunch, she mentioned mixing baking soda and something else together with success.... I guess I'll give it a go since it won't cost anything. I already have a 10-pound bag of baking soda :)

Billie May 5, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

I have been using a natural deodorant for the winter. Since I am a sweaty person, I will have to switch over to an antiperspirant in the summer.

It is not cool to have big wet circles in my underarm area while at work.

But I figure using a natural deodorant for 8 months of the year is better than 0 months. We do the best we can in our walk.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper May 5, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

Billie - Totally agree with your last statement. Have you read my post about the 80/20 rule for going green?

(http://consciousshopper.blogspot.com/2009/04/8020-rule-for-going-green.html)

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