“Never let them see you sweat.” That was the slogan used in Gilette’s Dry Idea deodorant commericals back in the early 80s. Even designer Donna Karan appeared in this typical 1987 commerical for Dry Idea stating that “when showing your lines to the press, never let them see you sweat”.
I love me some Donna Karan, but this commerical… totes embarrassing.
All of us 4th graders anticipated the first sprouting of our underarm hairs, and there were a few girls who had it, and we were envious. Once we entered into the realm of pubescence, we were stinky, clutching onto the knowledge about antiperspirants that the school nurse would gather us to discuss. Picking out antiperspirant scents at the drugstore was actually something to look forward to. There was something exciting about running out of your favorite stick, Teen Spirit was my stick of choice, and picking out a new scent–Orchard Blossom, perhaps? Little did we know, we were rubbing chemicals on our pits, aluminum zirconium to be exact. How were we to know this was dangerous? We were just kids, and the internet didn’t exist to warn us of such dangers.
What is the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant? Well, that’s simple to explain: an antiperspirant blocks the sweat glands from producing sweat, and a deodorant kills the bacteria which causes the bad odor. Which sounds like a healthier choice? Sure, blocking your sweat glands sounds very bad, right? Right. So bad that it causes several health concerns, including breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, bone disorders, and kidney issues. If you think it is easy enough just to switch to a deodorant instead of using an antiperspirant to arrive in the safe zone, you are wrong. There are still many dangers of wearing deodorants with cheap ingredients. These dangerous ingredients are known to be endocrine blockers, and they include triclosan and propylene glycol, with triclosan being the biggest threat of the two. Unfortunately triclosan can be found in many leading products, including Arm and Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant; Queen Helene Tea Trea Oil Deodorant and Aloe Deodorant; DeCleor Deodorant Stick; and Epoch Deodorant with Citrisomes.
What makes triclosan so terrible? For starters it disrupts the body’s thyroid hormone metabolism, and when you’re hormones are off, everything is thrown out of whack. Triclosan can weaken the immune system, cause infertility, and can cause a miscarriage or birth defects if you do become pregnant. Read more on the facts of triclosan here.
Now that you know what to look out for when buying a deodorant, let’s talk about how to find out if what you are using now is bad for your health. There is an amazing database on the internet (there’s also an app) for Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group’s exhaustive effort to help consumers buy healthy products. Let’s revisit Dry Idea as an example. We already know the brand has been around for a long time, and we know that the products can be purchased at a relatively low cost. When I type in Dry Idea into the Skin Deep database, several products appear, all of them with startling discoveries. The Dry Idea Advanced Dry Clear Gel contains way too much fragrance, propylene glycol and aluminum zirconium. EWG gives this product a moderate warning on it, but I wouldn’t take my chances! Plus, the makers of Dry Idea, Procter & Gamble, participate in animal testing. A double negative!
All you have to do is your research and read the labels. I find that the natural deodorants that I use have far better scents (yes, better than Teen Spirit), and work incredibly better than cheapo drugstore choices. Some of my favorites include the following: Zion Health’s Adama Minerals Clay Dry Deodorant. Lovely smell, and lovely ingredients. Cruelty-free makes me happy, too! Also, the Whish Deodorant Swipes are AMAZING. These individually wrapped swipes contain witch hazel extract to kill odor and wipe away any underarm funk. I was also told that the wipes will help fade any darkness from under the arm. Leaping-bunny certified, I have a deep love for these wipes! I also use them on my feet or anywhere else I need a refresher–a total summertime rescue product.
Well, whaddya think? Will you think twice before picking up your next stick of deodorant at the drugstore? Check out the natural selections at Whole Foods and other natural health stores and let me know what you think!