Deodorant is one of those products that we don’t usually think about. We gladly slather it under our arms to keep from experiencing any embarrassing surprises from our underarms during the day when we are around others. But what’s really in deodorant? Let’s find out.
Conventional deodorants contain many harmful ingredients. Let’s look at some of the most common ingredients you should avoid before, and at the end of this post I’ll offer an alternative that avoids them all.
There are lots of chemicals in deodorants, but if this short list doesn’t scare you, then you probably wouldn’t be reading articles on a site like mine anyway.
Triclosan is used in deodorants to kill odor-causing germs on the skin. It is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic hormones. It is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The FDA has already banned it in hand soap, but for some reason it still exists in deodorant, among other products.
Phthalates are found in most personal care products, including deodorant. It helps extend the life of any fragrances present in deodorant. Unfortunately, they also disrupt the endocrine system, especially in men. In women, it can cause early onset puberty, which is associated with breast cancer later in life.
Parabens are used as preservatives and are readily absorbed through the skin. They are hormone impersonators, mimicking estrogen in the body. Daily exposure is linked to breast cancer.
Diethanolamine or DEA is common in deodorants as well as other personal care products. It is linked to cancer. The process of treating the ingredient with ethylene oxide is called ethoxylation. One of the byproducts of this process is dioxane, which is a known carcinogen.
Aluminum is a common ingredient in antiperspirants and blocks sweat ducts to stop sweating. Aluminum can instigate cell mutation, which can increase the chance of tumor growth.
The Good News
Yes, there is good news! You don’t have to coat your underarms with synthetic chemicals to avoid odor throughout the day. Below is a two-ingredient (yes, TWO) deodorant that gets the job done without the risk to you and the environment. And it’s dead easy to throw together!
Two Ingredient Deodorant**
- ¼ c Baking Soda
- ¼ c Arrowroot Powder
- 10 drops essential oil (ingredient three, if you want it)
Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Optionally add essential oil and mix until evenly distributed. Pack in a jar. To apply, place a small amount into the palm of your hand and dust your underarms. Some use makeup sponges for dusting, but that’s up to you.
That’s it! However, I have one word of warning. Arrowroot is very good at absorbing moisture, so if you forget to close the lid for an extended period, you may come back to a brick instead of a nice powdery substance.