As I learn more and more about the chemicals, pollutants and toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, I pay even more attention to the ingredients in products I use. I’ve slowly switched what I buy so that almost all the products I use now are natural and organic. The first switch I made was to natural deodorant, and here’s a bit of information why It’s important to be mindful of what you’re exposing yourself to when it comes to anti-perspirants and deodorants.
One of the most interesting books I’ve read in this area is ‘Slow Death by Rubber Duck’ – It is a really thought-provoking read based on scientific results. Typically we think of pollution as car fumes and big rubbish dumps. However, unfortunately there are many more polluting and toxic substances in everyday items too. At a recent health expo, I learned a lot talking to the charity Breast Cancer UK. This charity are are doing some amazing work in bringing greater awareness of the risks of some of these chemicals (among many other important issues).
One of the most well researched and discussed compounds when it comes to breast cancer is Aluminium. Aluminium salts are used in antiperspirants to block the sweat ducts to stop sweating. Doesn’t that sound pretty dreadful and unnatural in itself when you think about it?
Aluminium is absorbed through the skin, however when applied after shaving 6x the amount can be absorbed, plus as it’s left there all day continuous exposure occurs. I’ve been shocked to learn that Aluminium containing products are linked to many neurological diseases and illnesses – most famously Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. We come into contact with 25+ different types of aluminium compounds in products like lipsticks, toothpastes, antacids and vaccinations – pretty scary stuff!
Many health advocates have long supported a ban on the use of these risky compounds in cosmetics and food, particularly in under-arm antiperspirants. Lukily, there have been some positive developments in this area recently with France, Norway and Germany all concluding that ‘based on current knowledge, aluminium in cosmetic products cannot be considered safe’. At least some countries seem to have some sense!
As with many chemicals found in products made by huge multinationals, despite many questions and challenges born from concerning results and statistics, these are mostly ignored due to ‘no direct causal link’. However, a recent scientific review collated the most concerning results such as; 50% of breast cancers in the UK start in the area near the underarm, and aluminium has been found at higher levels in women with breast cancer than those without. Seems logical to avoid nasty chemical deodorants when you hear stats like these.
Natural Organic Deodorants – Aluminium Free
So most importantly, what can you do to ensure you avoid aluminium whilst staying fresh? Here are some fabulous brands that offer a range of safe and effective alternatives. Many offer worldwide delivery or free UK delivery.
I personally use Dr Organic deodorant from Holland & Barrett. The range includes a variety of smells such as rose, lavender, etc
What I found when first switching to natural deodorant is that it does take a week or so to get used to it. At first you may notice a difference, however its quick and easy get used to and worth the minor inconvenience. I now find the stench of anti-perspirant products awful and can’t believe how severe and chemically they are.
(In case you’re wondering, Deodorant works by using perfumes to mask the smell and antibiotics to kill bacteria which cause the undesirable odour, vs antiperspirants that work by blocking the sweat ducts).
If you’re not into buying products online, check out your local independent health food store.
I urge you to have a think about the products you come into contact with every day, and whether some unnecessary chemicals can be avoided.
Look after yourself, your body needs to last you a long time, and it’s difficult to get spare parts!
Here are some of the studies relating to this article:
Darbre PD (2010) Environmental oestrogens and breast cancer: evidence for combined involvement of dietary, household and cosmetic xenoestrogens. Anticancer Research
Mannello F, Exley C, Darbre PD (2013) Aluminium and breast cancer: sources of exposure, tissue measurements and mechanisms of toxicological actions on breast biology. J. Inorg. Biochem
European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (2014) Opinion on the safety of aluminium in cosmetic products.
House E, Polwart A, Darbre P, Barr L, Metaxas G, Exley C (2013) The aluminium content of breast tissue taken from women with breast cancer.