When it comes to a safe deodorant what are your options? Karin picks Weleda’s “Sage” deodorant as a good choice. But you have options. Read on.
People like us who are concerned with the environment, apply the same basic common sense to our bodies, right? That’s why many environmentalists and even just every day folk have stopped using anti-perspirant (containing aluminum) to stop sweat. On HowStuffWorks they explain in depth how it works.
Basically aluminum ions in the anti-perspirant go into our body cells, the ones that line our sweat glands at the epidermis – the top layer of the skin. Aluminum ions, and then the water that passes by them, eventually block the ducts so the sweat can’t get out.
Besides the obvious question of why in the world would we want our bodies to be deprived of a basic physiological function like sweating, the question of the aluminum ions on our health has been an important one. Wired says that aluminum concentrations in underpit anti-perspirants don’t cause Alzheimer’s debunking what they say is a myth. Meanwhile Planet Green suggests Botox injections (seriously?) as a means to stop the sweat glands from over-fuctioning, because aluminum ions have been found to have a strong association with breast cancer in freshly shaved pits.
BO is undeniably bad, but Botox? Besides, sweating is actually a necessary bodily function, according to Planet Green who cites Dr. Rob Streisfeld, a Naturopathic Doctor, “your body is designed to sweat, so using chemicals and agents to block the natural process is never good.”
The online media magazine concludes that both antiperspirants and deodorants are not good for the environment. The jury’s not quite clear on the health angle, but if there is a question will you take the risk? If not, what are your options?
Some greenies among us may have decided to go au natural. Meaning: no shaving, no deodorant, nothing.
If you live in an Alaskan village of 200 and wear a parka for 10 months of the year, this option is probably feasible, but “sweating around” in a burka (for traditional Muslims), dark suit and hat or wig (if you are a religious Jew), and in general, the traditional sweat-prone attire found in the Middle East is not always the nicest for your co-workers and neighbours to be around (unless you live in the Sinai Desert where no one’s sweat appears to smell).
But there are some options.
7 chemical free options to anti-perspirants:
1. A chemical free option is a salt crystal, which is activated by running it under water and applying it to the armpit area. Find them online or in health stores everywhere. The scent free solution is ideal, where scents are not tolerated or permitted.
2. Shaving your armpits may not reduce the sweat glands from working overdrive, but it does help cut back on the bacteria that leads to BO.
3. Wearing light materials, in dark colors, can mask any sweat stains. Those that cling less, are less likely to activate a sweat attack. Warning: when we say light we mean light in weight. In fact pastels can very much exaggerate the appearance of sweat.
4. Pure cotton clothes retain smells more than clothing with a synthetic mix.
5. Check out the lavender based deodorant powder recipe on Natural News. They also have a simple formulation for a tea tree based deodorant which doubles as a bug spray. Even just a base oil, mixed in with olive oil can work well. First check if the essential oil is safe to apply directly to your skin.
6. The Swiss company Weleda has a great natural deodorant which I use frequently. I find the “sage” formulation more effective at masking odors than the citrus one, though citrus smells better. Weleda also has one in rose scent, but I would never like to smell like a rose, so opt for the more masculine sage, which I am using now. Weleda products can be found in health stores around the Middle East, and even at big drug store chains in Israel.
A nice thing about Weleda is they pretty much give you their recipe on their ingredients label. So make your own, if you find the $10 price tag to be too hefty. The basic ingredients are rubbing alcohol and essential oils. The alcohol might be haram for religious Muslims though. Check on that if it’s a concern.
7. If you’re lucky to close enough to a Sephora store where there are lots of natural options, you can try to buy Lavanilla Laboratories “Healthy Deodorant.” The solid stick deodorant comes in a number of vanilla based scents, and the one in vanilla grapefruit smells so good you want to eat it. I like it less than the Weleda deodorant though.
Although the $20 stick lasts a lot longer, let’s say 4 months versus 1, after application it kind of has that “I am trying to mask bad odor” smell. Like French cologne on an old lady who hasn’t bathed for several weeks. This particular brand is phthalate and paraben free, as we’d expect it to be.
So as the spring turns to summer and we start to sweat more, I hope you enjoy and “apply” some greener options to your personal body care regime. Your body and planet will probably thank you.
Just be warned when a product is sold as “natural.” While there may be natural components such as essential oils in “natural” products, just look out for parabens and phthalates, which are linked to endocrine disruption and cancer.
Bonus tip – this just in: try baking soda – Video.
More articles on green health and body products:
The Dioxane Scare in Baby Bath Products
Ecover’s Dioxane Stain Makes Us Feel A Little Dirty
Dr. Bronner’s Soapy and Sustainable Vision for Israel and Palestine