>> 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:
- Parabens: Widely used preservatives, parabens mimic estrogen in the body and may increase the risk for certain types of cancer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Triclosan: Classified as a pesticide by the FDA, this is that "antibacterial" ingredient that they're putting in everything these days.
So what's your average sweaty girl (or guy) to do?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.