As I’ve made the transition to a plant-based diet and began to really consider what I am putting into my body, I have also become more cognizant of what I am using for body care and putting on myself in the form of makeup, soap, shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, perfume and deodorant. Did you know that according to Environmental Defense Canada the average woman applies over 126 different chemicals on her body on a daily basis- many of which are highly toxic?
So let’s tackle a sensitive area right off the bat – armpits! This is a tricky one to address because no one wants to be stinky and although sweat itself is generally odourless, the bacteria in our pits can really get rank.
This has probably been the toughest area to find a safe and non-toxic solution for because to be completely honest most all-natural deodorants just don’t cut the mustard…or the stink. But I am absolutely determined to keep trying for a number of reasons. First of all, despite conflicting scientific research, I just don’t feel good about slathering a bunch of chemicals and sweat inhibitors into an area that houses lymph nodes- a vital part of my body’s immune system (not to mention how close my armpits are to my boobs and their fat cells that are prime receptors for toxins).
If you don’t already have a copy, I highly recommend Gillian Deacon’s book There’s Lead in Your Lipstick. Gillian is an author, a broadcaster, an environmental advocate and a breast cancer survivor and she offers up a wealth of information regarding what is really in our body care products and what we can do about it. Here is just some of what Gillian has to say about our pits:
- Perspiring is our natural mechanism for releasing toxins and impurities from our bodies, regulating our body temperature and maintaining an appropriate salt level in our bloodstream
- Conventional antiperspirants essentially release aluminum salts that enter our pores to block this natural process
- If our skin isn’t able to properly eliminate toxins through perspiration, we may experience a trickle-down effect on our internal organs. The liver, kidneys and large intestine are challenged to work harder if impurities that would otherwise be released by sweating stay inside the body
- Both conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain many scary ingredients including parabens, triclosan, synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde, phthalates and aluminum
Source: There’s Lead in Your Lipstick, Gillian Deacon
As a mom, I also want to make sure my kids are armed with the safest and most effective products as they enter their tween years and begin to experience their own aromas. Their growing bodies are especially sensitive to chemical exposure and it is up me as a parent to introduce them to products that will leave them smelling fresh but will also lessen their overall toxic load.
If you are curious about the products you are currently using, check out the amazing Cosmetic Safety Database put together by the Environmental Working Group to get the scoop on your favourite brands. You simply enter the name of your personal care product and you will get a detailed report of toxicity, safety studies and a hazard rating.
So here is the best advice that I can give you when it comes to armpits and natural toxin-free deodorants– you’ve got to keep mixing it up. What works one month may make you stink to the high heavens the next so keep trying new things and alternating your favs to keep yourself smelling wonderful and your body chemical-free and healthy.
Here are some of the ones I like and what I’m using right now:
Crawford Street Deodorant Cream– this is a great lemon-scented deodorant cream and it works quite well but needs to be rotated after a few weeks with an alternate brand to maintain it’s effectiveness. I ordered mine online from their store in Toronto and it arrived within a few days.
Rocky Mountain – this is another goodie and it comes with a guarantee that it will work or your money back. I’ve ordered a number of products from this company out west from their online store and I’ve loved all of them. Again, I’d recommend switching it up from time to time.
Weleda Rose – I love this light rose-scented spray and I use it to top up my deodorant of choice or to spritz on other sweaty areas to keep me smelling….well, like a rose! You can get it at most health and natural food stores or order it online from Saffron Rouge.
Purely Great – this is my current fav and I love it. It’s a bit of a pain in the butt because you have to scoop it out of the container with the little wooden stick that is provided but if you can get over the inconvenience it actually works really well. They also have special formulas for teen boys and girls. I bought mine at my local health food store but you can also order online.
Dr. Hauschka– this is a lovely scented deodorant and works remarkably well but with the $25 price tag per bottle you might not want to pony up for this brand. If you want to add it in to your rotation it is quite effective. You can buy this one at high-end health food stores (like Whole Foods) or order online from Saffron Rouge.
Living Libations– the deodorants from this incredible company are also effective but quite pricey. They use only the very purest ingredients and essential oils, however you will smell like a bit of a hippy with their many of their scents of choice so if this bothers you at all this one probably isn’t your best bet (I quite like it). You can order any of their products online and they are shipped promptly.
Remember – perspiring is a natural function of our bodies that is in place for a reason. Instead of attempting to override sweating with artificial chemicals and fragrances, why not swap in a more natural product? Try some of these brands out and let me know how they work out. I’m interested to hear from you as well. Have you tried out any toxin-free deodorants that have been effective? Tell me in the comments!