I’ve always wondered who originally thought it would be a good idea to plug our sweat glands and prevent perspiration or the excretion of toxins from our lymph. Perspiration is one of our main forms of detoxification. And while it’s not always pleasant and can also be embarrassing to have “sweaty pits,” it is a necessary bodily function. However, there are some ways to overcome those tell-tale pit stains. 

Why should we read deodorant labels?

When you eat something, it’s broken down by your liver and digestive system. But when you put something on your skin, there are times when it can enter your bloodstream without being metabolized and it gets absorbed and eventually taken into fat cells for storage. Blood tests show that many of the substances in deodorants can get into the body. Underarm tissue contains hormone receptors which can react to some of the ingredients found in antiperspirants/deodorants. 

What do we need to avoid?

Aluminum - When you use an antiperspirant or deodorant that contains aluminum, you are blocking your body’s ability to detoxify. Aluminum is also a potential endocrine disruptor. These are chemicals that have adverse developmental, reproductive and neurological effects in humans. 

Parabens – These are preservatives found in many personal care products and even in some brand of tortillas! Parabens are also endocrine disrupting. You’ll see the words “methylparaben” or “propylparaben” or “butylparaben” on the label. Parabens can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. 

Fragrance – Label loopholes allow manufacturers to hide all sorts of chemicals under the label “fragrance.” Many of them are actually phthalates – chemical plasticizers that help the fragrance linger longer. They contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals and have been linked to weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, fertility problems and low testosterone, just to name a few. 

It’s easy to switch to a natural deodorant. It may take some getting used to in the beginning because you may actually detox and sweat a bit more. Look for brands that have arrowroot or organic cornstarch, baking soda, some sort of natural oil like shea butter or coconut oil and a fragrance from nature. It should say aluminum-free and paraben-free.

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