Deodorant — What’s In It?

The Truth: Deodorant 

Deodorant. A normal thing most people use everyday, once, twice, or maybe more. Since a young age, I have avoided fulfilling the stereotype of Indians having a stank like no other. I don’t blame people thinking that, I’ve experienced it first hand! Either way, hygiene is an important practice, but controlling body odor can sometimes be an issue for some people.

I used to use clinical protection secret (it smelled great and lasted fresh all day, even though I didn’t even need that strong of something, I thought hey, why not?). I never thought twice about how it worked, until recently. There’s a lot of controversy of whether or not deodorant is linked to cancers such as breast cancer, or disorders such as Alzheimer’s. I’d rather not wait to find out, so I’m making necessary adjustments.

How deodorant works is the active ingredient–normally forms of aluminum–forms a bond that clogs your sweat glands to block the bacteria from excreting through your underarm’s pores. The antiperspirants also have a smell that masks odors. So basically, deodorant uses an ingredient so powerful it’s changing the chemistry of your body, blocking a natural process and containing fluids that are attempting to leave the body by sealing your pores. That sounds slightly drastic, don’t you think? Turn to the back of the label and see what’s in it. If you know most of the ingredients, I’m sure it’s more comforting than deciphering and guessing what the other ingredients are potentially made of.

Solution(s!):

  • Change your diet–what you eat is directly linked to your body odor; eating habits are a main cause of body odor. In one study, 2 groups of men were studied on identical meat and non-meat diets for 2 weeks. In the final 24 hours of the diet, axillary pads were used to collect the odor and the scents were judged by 30 women. Results showed odor donors on the meatless diet were judged as “more pleasant, more attractive, and less intense”. The following month, researchers switched the diets on the same group of individuals, and got consistent results [1]. Cutting out fried and greasy food is probably a good idea as well. If you have serious body odor or bad breath (and even if not), definitely consider incorporating [organic if possible!] raw fruits and vegetables and some healthy nuts and seeds as a majority of your diet. Eating these in their natural state allows the food to retain all enzymes, vitamins, and minerals–making food more digestible and better absorbed [2].
  • It has been reported individuals who are obese, consume spicy foods, or have certain medical conditions are prone to body odor [3]. Lose some weight, and again, focus on adjusting your diet!
  • Obviously: shower and keep good hygiene on the daily. Wear clean clothes. Basics.
  • Use an organic or natural deodorant/spray! I use Avalon Organics Lavender (had to order it online…it was hard to find too because I think it was discontinued. Overpriced because of that I’m guessing, but worth it!). Aluminum-free deodorants from brands such as Burts Bees, Toms, and a huge selection are available at health stores such as Sprouts or Vitamin Shoppe. They say they are not as effective, but that is probably because it takes time to adjust and again, diet is a factor in how intense your scent is.
  • Your body needs to get used to switching something; give it at least a month until you notice changes if you’re changing your diet or deodorant.
  • Keep in mind, each person’s genetic make up is different, providing for a distinct scent [1]!
  • Everyone is different — you need to find the right thing that works for you!!

References:

1. Havlicek J, Lenochova P. The effect of meat consumption on body odor attractiveness. Chem Senses 2006; 31:747-752.

2. How raw foods make body odor and bad breath vanish: Prana [Internet]. 2010. [March 23, 2012]. Available from http://www.hivehealthmedia.com/raw-food-body-odor-bad-breath/

3. What is body odor? (B.O.): Medical News Today [Internet]. 2009. [March 22, 2012]. Available from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173478.php

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