While antiperspirants are a convenient solution for many people across the globe, making them smell nicely with fragrances reminiscent of flowers, yet there are some hidden truths to note about it and this brings us to the question – are antiperspirants bad for you?
In this article, I will unveil some hidden truths that bothers on the question – are antiperspirants bad for you?, malodor, harmful effects of deodorants, antiperspirants side effects, some natural ways to manage body odour, whether aluminium in antiperspirant is bad for you, DIY natural deodorant and some wholesome substitutes.
Does this sound like what you are interested in?
Let’s dig deep into it.
Are Antiperspirants Bad For You?: Hidden truths to note
From my personal research and studies, many chemicals found in conventional antiperspirants, including aluminum salts, have the potential to be harmful to human health. Aluminium in antiperspirants works by blocking the sweat glands to reduce perspiration and this hinders the body’s natural detoxification process.
Perspiration is an innate physiological process that aids in body cooling, toxin elimination, and regulation of temperature. Additionally, it indicates that we’ve exerted ourselves during a workout.
However, being labelled as malodorous isn’t ideal for anyone. This is why antiperspirants are often relied upon. While antiperspirants can mask body odor with fragrances reminiscent of flowers, they may be causing unforeseen harm to your health.
There has been ongoing debate about their safety and potential health risks. Some studies have linked the use of perspirants to health concerns such as breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, while others suggest that these claims are unfounded.
Numerous individuals utilize antiperspirants to obstruct perspiration without acknowledging the potential adverse consequences. They typically come in the form of a roll-on, spray, or stick. To further answer the question – are antiperspirants bad for you?, let us consider the application of antiperspirants, which is commonly under the armpits.
The region of our body known as the armpits has a greater concentration of sweat glands compared to other body parts. Additionally, it serves as a hub for the lymphatic system, containing a network of vessels that aid in the filtration of waste and toxins from the body.
Therefore, using antiperspirants may not cover up body odor, but rather impede the body’s natural detoxification process. Instead of relying solely on antiperspirants, it is essential to identify the underlying cause of excessive sweating and address it through lifestyle changes and dietary modifications.
Various underlying conditions such as thyroid problems, hormone imbalances, menopause, and anxiety can trigger excessive sweating. In the case of armpit sweating, it could be an indication of liver weakness or an overactive circulatory system.
By adopting a holistic approach to health and embracing our body’s natural functions, you can achieve a balanced and healthy sweat response, while avoiding the negative effects of antiperspirant use.
Read also: 33 Swoon-Worthy Healthy Lifestyle Tips
So , what is the actual cause of body odour?
According to Wikipedia, the human body generates sweat through two types of sweat glands: eccrine sweat glands that are distributed throughout the skin and produce clear, scentless sweat, and apocrine sweat glands situated in the groin and armpits that produce a thicker and oilier sweat, containing waste proteins, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. This sweat can be broken down by bacteria, resulting in the production of compounds that cause body odor.
When we sweat, the bacteria that reside on our skin break down the sweat, resulting in a distinctive odor that we commonly refer to as body odor. Additionally, the type of bacteria that reside on our skin and the kind of sweat we produce can be influenced by various factors such as diet, stress, and hormones.
For instance, certain foods like garlic and onions can lead to a strong odor, while hormonal changes during puberty or menopause can cause an increase in sweating and a shift in the type of bacteria residing on our skin.
Medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can also impact body odor. However, we can minimize the effects of body odor and maintain good health by practicing proper hygiene, such as regularly taking showers and wearing clean clothes.
Harmful effects of deodorants
Though deodorants may mask up body odors and cause one to smell nicely, there may be some harmful effects associated with using deodorants. Deodorants often contain harmful chemicals, such as aluminium-zirconium compounds, which are known to be the most damaging ingredients. These compounds have been linked to various health issues, including respiratory problems, asthma, headaches, and heart disease.
In addition, deodorants may contain aluminium chlorohydrates which can cause skin conditions like skin cancer and other skin infections. To combat body odor, triclosan, an antibacterial agent, found in deodorants is used to eliminate naturally occurring bacteria that give off unpleasant body odor from our body. However, triclosan has been found to cause hormonal imbalances.
Deodorant side effects include:
- Contributing to conditions like headache, asthma, respiratory problems, and heart diseases.
- triggering the cause of skin infections like skin cancer.
- containing components that are considered to be air pollutants.
Is aluminium in antiperspirant bad for you?
The chemicals present in conventional antiperspirants, including aluminum salts, can pose a threat to the body. Aluminum serves as the primary ingredient in antiperspirants, functioning by obstructing sweat glands to minimize perspiration. This, however, may be detrimental to the lymphatic system, hindering its ability to filter out toxins and waste substances from the body efficiently.
Studies have indicated that aluminum can bring about changes in DNA, and there seems to be a correlation between the use of antiperspirants and the development of breast cancer in the region of the breast close to where the antiperspirants are applied.
Parabens, which are utilized as preservatives in conventional antiperspirants to prolong their shelf life, represent another harmful chemical present in them. Studies have revealed that parabens may cause hormonal imbalances and heighten the risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, they can interfere with the hormones that are vital to men’s sexual and reproductive functions, hinder cellular energy production, and impede detoxification processes.
Antiperspirants contain other harmful substances, aside from those mentioned earlier, including synthetic fragrances, phthalates, and triclosan. These components can trigger skin irritations, allergies, and various health issues, such as hormone disruption, interference with muscle function, and the development of antibacterial resistance.
Antiperspirants side effects
Although antiperspirant poses no immediate danger, some of its negative effects may influence you to go for a natural alternative. Some of these effects are:
May interfere with Hormone function
Hormone disrupters like parabens, and triclosan interfere with your thyroid and gene functioning, many antiperspirant manufacturers have stopped using them.
May cause Breast cancer
Studies show that estrogen-like effects may be brought on by aluminum based substances that are applied to and absorbed close to the breast. It is therefore possible that these aluminum based compounds in antiperspirants/deodorants may cause breast cancer because estrogen has the capacity to trigger the formation of breast cancer cells.
May cause Alzheimer’s disease
According to several research, the brain cells of people with Alzheimer’s disease have aluminum contents that are above average. Other research have either been unable to reach the same conclusion or are still debating the findings. Aluminum, however, is known to cause nerve damage and may even be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease.
May cause allergic reactions
Compounds in deodorants and antiperspirants “have the potential to cause irritant and allergic reactions in many consumers,” according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. The study names fragrance, and biological additives, like parabens, as the most frequently used potential allergens, specifically causing axillary dermatitis.
What are some natural ways to manage body odor?
There are various ways to manage body odor naturally. They include:
- Good hygiene: Regularly bathing or showering with mild soap and warm water helps to remove bacteria and sweat from the skin, reducing body odor.
- Natural deodorants: Opt for natural deodorants that are free of aluminum, parabens, and other harmful chemicals. These deodorants contain natural ingredients, such as essential oils and baking soda, that can help control odor.
- Wear breathable fabrics: Wearing clothes made from breathable fabrics, such as cotton, linen, or bamboo, can help to reduce sweating and minimize body odor.
- Diet: Consuming a healthy diet rich in whole foods and minimizing the intake of processed foods and refined sugar may also help to reduce body odor.
- Essential oils: Essential oils, such as lavender, tea tree, and lemon, have natural antimicrobial properties that can help control odor. Dilute them in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and apply to the underarms.
- Shave underarms: Removing underarm hair helps to reduce the surface area available for bacteria to grow, thus minimizing odor.
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated helps to flush out toxins and waste substances from the body, which can reduce body odor.
Some wholesome substitutes
There are natural alternatives available, so you don’t have to stutter around like a sticky mess. Probiotic deodorants, for instance, eliminate the use of harsh chemicals found in standard deodorants and encourage a healthy balance of microorganisms on the skin, which can assist to control body odor. They also contain live cultures of helpful bacteria.
Baking soda is one of the most widely used natural alternatives. It is an alkaline material that works well to keep the underarm dry and can assist in balancing the acids created by the bacteria. Coconut oil is another alternative. Coconut oil keeps the underarms clean and fresh by controlling fungus and dangerous bacteria. It works well as a skin moisturizer as well. These two items can be combined to create a cheap yet efficient natural deodorant that you can apply beneath your arms.
Lemon juice is one of the best deodorants I have ever used. Citric acid, which is present in it, naturally kills microorganisms that cause odors. You can rub a slice of lemon under your arms or dilute it with water and spray under your arms. It also helps to brighten and exfoliate the skin and lessen body odour
Make your own natural deodorant
It is not difficult, you can make your own natural deodorant at home by following this recipe outlined below;
- 4 tablespoons of any natural oil of your choice (coconut oil, orange oil, olive oil, etc)
- 1/2 teaspoon of any essential oil of your choice
- 2 tablespoons of corn starch or (arrowroot powder for sensitive skin)
- 2 tablespoons of baking powder
1.In your mixing bowl, add coconut oil , baking soda, corn starch and essential oil.
2. Mix everything together until it is thoroughly blended
3. Make sure to mix with a plastic or wooden spoon to avoid lumps forming in the mixture.
4. Transfer to a clean old deodorant bottle for use or apply under your arm pits by warming a tiny bit of it between your fingers until it becomes liquid.
In conclusion, natural antiperspirants are an alternative to traditional deodorants that use natural ingredients to combat body odor and reduce sweating. These products are often free from harmful chemicals such as aluminum compounds, parabens, and triclosan. Instead, they use plant-based ingredients such as essential oils, and baking soda to provide odor protection. While they may not be as effective as traditional antiperspirants, many people prefer natural alternatives as they are gentler on the skin and are better for the environment
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- Paschal Achunine Is the founder of Health Emergency Initiative(HEI) for Indigent patients. HEI stands as next -of-kin to indigent patients in public hospitals and also for road accident victims.
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