Let's face it: No one likes icky body odor, but everyone has to deal with it at some time or another. It's just a fact of life. So unless we live alone on an island somewhere, we will need to address this odiferous fact of life if we ever want to be invited to our friend's birthday parties.
In recent years there has been quite a hullabaloo in the press about potential links between underarm deodorants and antiperspirants and certain cancers, particularly breast cancer because of the close proximity of the underarm area, underlying lymph nodes, and breast tissue. Because I have family and friends whose lives have been severely affected by breast cancer, and because I myself, like most humans, happen to have breasts this obviously concerns me. After quite a long time researching the subject, reading others' opinions, and pondering the general topic of routine chemical exposure on our bodies, I have a few of my own opinions.
First of all, the four main ingredients that concern me that are commonly in deodorant/antiperspirants are triclosan, propylene glycol, parabens, and aluminum.
Moving on to propylene glycol. In short, there are several grades of PG used in foods,
Parabens, acknowledged endocrine disruptors (fancy terminology for "they get in the way of hormones being produced in correct amounts and then doing their jobs properly"), have been found in higher concentrations in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer in some studies. The catch is, no one seems to know what the actual effect is of those parabens being there or how they even got there in the first place. But considering the breast is comprised of glandular and fatty tissue, and some breast cancers are encouraged by certain hormone concentration abnormalities, there is reasonable cause for concern about an endocrine disruptor making itself at home there. Parabens in any form, introduced to the body by any means, are generally considered unhealthy and are probably best avoided.
|"I'm kinda worried 'bout this!"|
Aluminum is not an antibacterial agent or a perfume, so what is it doing in our pit-stick anyway? Well, the presence of aluminum is usually what transforms a simple deodorant into an actual antiperspirant that not only battles odor but prevents wetness. (This is where your antennae should pop up and start vibrating.) But aluminum does NOT prevent sweat from being produced in the sweat glands! It works by entering the tiny outer opening of each sweat gland where it causes micro-irritation of the lining of the duct, which causes the duct to swell closed. Sweat is trapped within the gland and cannot exit through the swollen-shut duct, therefore no underarm wetness!
But again, I have to wonder if such a total interference with a natural process is a good idea. We must remember that sweating not only cools us off, it is also one of our most effective means of removing toxins from our bodies! So when we essentially padlock the exit door to a whole bunch of sweat glands, we are literally trapping fluid inside. Now, that fluid can and will be absorbed into the lymphatic system and removed from the body through our circulation and eventual excretion through the kidneys...seems like no problem, right? Another "hmmm" right here...
|"Ick...I'm a lil' worried too!"|
Those are the same lymph nodes that already handle fluid balance in our bodies, doing their part to maintain homeostasis. That's a big word, "homeostasis", that literally means "keeping things constant or stable". Our bodies, including all of the fluid in them which is about 60% of our total body weight, exist in a living state by a miraculous system of checks and balances keeping millions of tiny variables always stable. The lymphatic system plays a key role in that stability, so it could be reasonable to assume that adding more strain to its workload might not be to our benefit healthwise, nevermind the possible effect directly on the lymph node tissue itself by a high concentration of an irritating metal.
So, what to do? Again, for myself I prefer not to run to the streets shouting death-by-deodorant rhetoric so the neighbors all think I'm crazy. But I DO see an opportunity to take the safe route of avoiding the substance in question when possible and save myself the stress of worrying about it. I have perfected a recipe for homemade deodorant that I have become quite fond of, which you can easily try out yourself. I find it to work very well, and I don't sit quietly in an air-conditioned room all day.
Meanwhile back at the ranch...I leave it in your hands what you decide to do with your armpits. If you do try out my deodorant recipe, let me know how it works for you. I don't want anyone missing out on any birthday party invitations on my account! And if you have words of wisdom, new data, intresting articles, or gut feelings to share on the subject, I want to hear those too!
Here's to our health! Thanks for reading.