Friday, January 17, 2014
Finding a natural deodorant that works, especially if you're a heavier sweater, can be a challenge. But it CAN be done--it's just about finding what works for your body chemistry. What do we mean by body chemistry? A number of factors: how much you sweat, the composition of bacteria on your skin, the composition of the fatty acids in your sweat. Body chemistry can change over time based on diet, hormones, and even environment. Sometimes layering deodorants will be the key--a stick over a cream, a powder over a spray, a stick over a spray. Sometimes if you're a heavier sweater it can be a realistic expectation to need to reapply more often. It's just about finding that right thing for you.
Myth 2. Natural Deodorants Can Keep Me From Sweating
There is a difference between a deodorant and an anti-perspirant. Deodorants are designed to stave off odor, while an anti-perspirant keeps you from sweating. No natural deodorant will keep you from sweating, as there is no botanical substance that can keep you from sweating. The next best thing is to use a product with powders to absorb sweat and reapply throughout the day to keep heavier perspiration under control.
Myth 3. The Crystal is a Healthy Option
Crystal deodorants have gained in popularity over the last few years--you can even find them in Walmart! Most people think this is a healthier option and that it's just salt. Well, crystal deodorants are usually made up of either potassium alum or ammonium alum. Potassium alum's full chemical name is potassium aluminum sulfate. (Likewise with ammonium alum, it's ammonium aluminum sulfate.) When you wet a crystal deodorant your'e releasing a concentrated dose of aluminum ions to your skin. (More info here, here, and here.) A lot of the crystals will say "no harmful aluminums" or "no aluminum chlorohydrate" but aluminum in all forms has no place in the body, leading to a host of health effects. (More info here.)
Myth 4. Eating Clean Will Keep me From Smelling Bad
It's a common myth that body odor is caused by toxins being released through the underarm and that eating a certain way (ie, vegan diet, only organic, low-carb, paleo, etc) will keep you from smelling. While it is true that certain foods can contribute to body odor by releasing odiferous compounds through your sweat (garlic, onions, coffee, alcohol) body odor's prime cause is bacteria feeding upon amino acids in your sweat. The amino acid composition in your sweat can increase through diet (if you're eating a lot of protein) however, it's largely controlled through genetics. This means that for a lot of people, no matter what you eat, you're gonna smell. Perhaps if genetically you're pre-disposed to be a light sweater with limited amino acids in your sweat, you could eliminate the need for deodorant through dietary measures, however, diet alone won't fix a bad case of B.O. for most people.
Myth 5. There's no Difference Between Natural and Organic
Anything can practically be marketed as "natural" because there's no legal definition for the term. Uranium ore mined from the earth could be billed as "natural." Organic, however, has a very specific and legal definition when it comes to products marketed in the U.S. Organic only refers to agricultural ingredients (products grown from the earth, not mined), can't be grown with certain pesticides and herbicides, must be grown from non-GMO seeds, and also can't be contaminated with ionizing radiation, sewage sludge and a number of harmful chemicals.