Deodorant/Antiperspirant: It’s the Pits!
I haven’t worn deodorant or antiperspirant in 6 years, and I smell great (most of the time anyways). It all started when a friend asked why I choose to live such a healthy lifestyle, yet put toxic chemicals directly into one of the most absorbent parts of my body…
We’ll obviously I didn’t want to smell… What I didn’t know was the smell our bodies creates, is derived from festering bacteria on our skin… If we kill the bacteria, rather then mask the smell, there is no smell.
Traditional deodorants actually create an environment for increased bacteria growth (so gross) ensuring future sales and profits for their business bank accounts…
Deodorant: Making a Big Stink
Wearing deodorant is something that we almost take for granted. It’s something that’s so basic to modern life, we don’t really think about it. We simply put on deodorant as a regular part of every day.
This daily ritual isn’t really due to how much we need…it’s the product of years of clever marketing and advertising. We’ve been brainwashed by huge corporations to believe that our sweat is something to be ashamed of. And it’s helped the deodorant and antiperspirant industry rake in close to $18B in sales.
Deodorants—and the marketing and advertising that have made them a staple of everyday life—are a relatively new concept, dating back to 1888 when a deodorant called Mum was trademarked. The first antiperspirant wasn’t launched until 1903.
Back then, people weren’t very impressed with the products. Victorian society rarely if ever spoke about bodily functions, let alone advertised products to make armpits smell better. People simply washed regularly and wore perfume to cover up unpleasant odors. Deodorants and antiperspirants weren’t seen as necessary. Many thought they were unhealthy.
In 1912, however, during a particularly hot summer, one liquid antiperspirant sparked the public’s curiosity. The brand—called Odorono—was introduced at an exposition. It didn’t hurt that the exposition lasted for an entire summer and that the average person wore multiple layers of clothing, even during sweltering temperatures.
Odorono made an impressive $30,000 from exposition sales, giving the business the capital to explore marketing campaigns. The owners hired a former Bible salesman named James Young to push their product.
Young came up with the idea of positioning perspiration as something negative, targeting a female audience with copy such as: “A woman’s arm! Poets have sung of it, great artists have painted its beauty. It should be the daintiest, sweetest thing in the world. And yet, unfortunately, it’s isn’t always.” These words appeared alongside an image of a man and woman, gazing longingly at each other.
The message was clear: you weren’t going to get a man if your pits didn’t smell like perfume.
Young’s advertisements ran in Ladies Home Journal and other prominent women’s magazines. And the response was revolutionary, at least in terms of Odorono’s sales figures. By 1920, their sales figures topped $417,000; by 1927, sales figures rose to $1M.
And so the trend of creating and playing up to our insecurities began. Advertisers went after a male demographic next, launching the first men’s deodorant in 1935, harnessing the Great Depression to prey on male insecurities, with advertising campaigns that suggested body odor could ruin a man’s chances of ever finding a decent job.
Not finding a love match. Not being able to get a job. No wonder we think we need deodorant!
What are antiperspirants and deodorants really doing for us?
Sweating is a natural, healthy and necessary bodily function. Sweat is how the body detoxifies itself, removing toxins and impurities. The lymph system, the body’s #1 defense against illness and infection, traps toxins and other unwanted substances and flushes them out through the armpits.
Deodorants and antiperspirants block smells by blocking the glands in the armpits that produce sweat. When these glands are blocked, we may smell better, but we’re putting ourselves in harm’s way.
There are 600 lymph nodes in the body; 200 are in the neck and 50 are in the armpits. Slathering on deodorants and antiperspirants clogs the nodes, preventing them from doing their job—removing toxins.
Without a way to exude toxins and impurities through glands in the armpits, these are absorbed back into the body and go straight to the nearest source to deposit waste—breast tissue. And, unsurprisingly, antiperspirants have been linked to breast cancer.
But we’re getting a lot more than potential breast cancer when we slather on stuff to make our pits less stinky. Deodorants and antiperspirants are loaded with chemicals that can cause many different forms of cancer as well as a host of other diseases.
Just look at some of the ingredients found in many deodorants and antiperspirants:
• Formaldehyde, a key ingredient in embalming fluid
• Toulene, a fancy name for paint thinner
• Hydroquinone, a skin-bleaching agent linked to cancer, toxicity and ochronosis, a disfiguring skin disease
• Sodium laurel sulfate/Sodium laureth, a detergent additive used to make soap lather that strips the skin of natural oil
• Chemically-synthesized fragrances
• Coal tar
Regular use layers these substances inside the glands just as effectively as advertising has convinced us that we need them.
So, What Makes Us Stink?
Sweat is essential to our health and wellbeing. We couldn’t really survive without it. Sweat does more than just release toxins. It’s also a natural antibiotic, flushes out the kidneys, reduces pain, regulates body temperature and releases endorphins.
But sweat is full of toxins and impurities, including bacteria. Bacteria is essentially garbage, discharged through the skin. When we smell “bad”, we’re smelling bacteria that the body is releasing.
When we slather on traditional deodorant, moist with chemicals and toxins we are creating an environment for bacteria to thrive and grow in. Creating a vicious cycle of smelly, toxic, and decreased functionality of our lymphatic system.
When we notice a smell, it’s our body letting us know where we have excessive bacteria growth that needs attention (arm pits, feet).
Our Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is designed to eliminate toxins from in between our cells working with our colon, liver, kidneys, and skin.
Our highest concentrations of lymph nodes are found in the armpit and groin regions and plays a critical role in our overall health.
Approximately one in three women with breast cancer have cancer cells in the lymph nodes in their armpit when their breast cancer is diagnosed. Chemicals applied to this area, the underarms, should be highly scrutinized.
Fighting Odor Naturally
While the process of releasing toxins and sweating them out through the armpits is essential to our overall health, that doesn’t mean we have to smell. There are much better ways to keep odor under control than clogging up lymph nodes.
Mineral salt is one of the most effective odor-fighting agents. Mineral salt, aka potassium alum forms naturally in the earth’s crust. When it’s mined, it looks much like a chunk of quartz crystal, colorless and translucent.
Mineral salt has been sold commercially as a deodorant since the 1980s. Mineral salt, sold as “crystal” deodorant, is incredibly easy to use. Simply wet the crystal and apply it, the stuff lasts forever, or at least a while, one crystal can last a year or more!
When used, it kills bacteria which eliminates odor without clogging pores. It’s completely odorless and very gentle, unlike fragrance-filled deodorants and antiperspirants that can irritate the skin, and, in some cases, cause rashes and allergic reactions. Crystal deodorant won’t stain your clothes and don’t contain any toxins or harmful additives.
And, unlike brand-name “traditional” deodorants and antiperspirants, they’re completely safe for all skin types as well as the environment. Since these are naturally formed by the earth’s crust, they’re mined, cleaned, tested for purity and packaged for sale.
Today, there are many different companies who manufacture crystal deodorants. They can be found in many stores, including chains like Whole Foods and even in select supermarkets.
If you want to ensure that you’re getting a quality crystal, the brand isn’t as important as the crystal itself. Mineral salt crystals are colorless and see-through; to ensure you’re getting a good deodorant, simply give your crystal a quick once over. If it’s not clear, the overall quality may be compromised.
Reputable brands clinically test their crystal deodorants—never on animals!—for optimal quality and purity and list their findings on the packaging. Even still, until you find a brand you trust, you should always hold the crystal up to the light to see if you can see through it to ensure it’s safe and effective.
The foods you consume also play a huge role in your own unique smell. If you ingest toxic foods, you’ll have a sour or more pungent smell. If you eat clean, natural foods, you’ll have minimal smell or a slightly sweet scent.
Recommended Safe Deodorants: