In this day and age, where the days get hotter and you become more prone to sweating, who doesn’t need a deodorant? A deodorant is every person’s fresh smelling defense against sweating and bad body odor. It stops your skin follicles from excreting toxins and makes you smell fresh and pleasant. But, how does it do that? What is in a deodorant that literally blocks your skin follicles from sweating?
It’s a product we use everyday without giving it much thought. For us, only the smell matters and we rarely go through the label of ingredients in it. The smell may be good, doesn’t mean the ingredients are as well. Your skin gets exposed to a lot of toxins from the deodorants. By applying them on the skin, the harmful chemicals in the deodorant can access the bloodstream easily without metabolizing.
Why Do You Smell
Eccrine glands and apocrine glands, these two glands are involved in your body’s sweating process. The function of the eccrine glands is to lower down the temperature of the body. When it gets too hit or warm, the glands secrete fluid on your skin to help you cool down.
The fluid released from the apocrine glands are to blame for the body odor. These glands are commonly found in areas with dense hair such as the underarms. It secretes the fluids near the hair follicles.
Both of the glands produce odourless fluid at first. But the fluid secreted by apocrine glands can develop a bad odour because of the bacteria thriving under your pit. Your armpits offer a dark and moist environment for the bacteria which is perfect for them. They break down the fluid by the apocrine glands and produce thioalcohol. When thioalcohol evaporates, it produces the pungent smell.
Harmful Toxins in Your Deodorant
Here are some chemicals and toxins to watch out for that may be in YOUR deodorant:
Aluminum is one of those ingredients you wouldn’t expect to be in a deodorant. However, it is very common in deodorants. This metal is responsible for blocking the sweat by your skin follicles by 20%. This metal can make you vulnerable to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even breast cancer!
It may seem like everything on this Earth causes some kind of cancer. However when you use a product which contains aluminum almost everyday, your chances of cancer could increase. Breast cancers usually develop on the upper outer quadrant of the breast. This area is very close to the armpit. That is why it is thought, and studies have shown, that using metals around the armpit can contribute to breast cancer. Even shaving can increase your chances because the aluminum being used is direct! Luckily, a lot of aluminum-free deodorants are available in recent years.
- Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is usually identified is non-toxic when ingested. However when its applied on the skin paired with other harmful ingredients, it helps those ingredients to penetrate into the blood stream easily. This is because propylene glycol is a skin sensitizer. It can also result in allergic reaction on the skin such as irritant contact dermatitis. It is toxic enough to cause developmental abnormalities, neurotoxicity, etc.
Listed under the label of ‘fragrance’, this chemicals is very common in self-care products. They are literally hidden as a ‘fragrance’ label on the ingredients. Phthalates can help dissolve other substances and ingredients. This chemical disrupts the endocrine. Phthalates are absorbed by the body and once they enter the blood stream, they act as estrogen. This disrupts your normal hormonal functions and cause other problems such as infertility, asthma, cancers, allergies, etc.
Parabens are more commonly used as preservative in many self-care products. Parabens can mess with the estrogen levels in your body. The main worry is that there is estrogen-sensitive tissue near the breasts so applying products with parabens can leads to an increased risk of breast cancer. It takes time for cancer to grow but with the repeated use of such a substance, cancer cells may grow.
Triclosan has been identified as a pesticide by the FDA, yet it is still used in self-care products. It is used to kill bacteria when manufacturing and on the surface of your skin. Triclosan is very common. In a study carried out in the US, it was found that triclosan was so common, 75% of Americans had triclosan in their urine which was detected. Triclosan, when combined with water, is also known to create chloroform gas.
These are ammonia compounds. On most self-care products, you will find abbreviations such as MEA, DEA or TEA. Recognise them as ethanolamine immediately. Ethanolamines are viscous like liquids which have an ammonia like smell. They seep into your skin and cause disorder in the liver and kidneys. It is so harmful that Europe has banned this product and labelled it as a carcinogen.
You may not realise it and it is easy to dismiss cancer claims, but these ingredients are harmful for your health. Use fragrance and paraben free deodorants.