Have you ever heard the phrase “Your skin is a mouth”?
It may not have teeth or a tongue, but your skin is extremely permeable and able to absorb just about anything you put on it, which is why the administration of drugs and medicines is often through “transdermal” skin patches – since this is up 95% more effective than oral medication.
In other words, drug manufacturers know that if you want to get a drug delivered into the bloodstream fast, you figure out a way to put it on the skin.
Now, let's take this one step further: which area of your skin do you think is best at absorbing chemicals?
I'll help you out: any area that has a combination of high blood flow and sweat pores is going to be an area of high skin absorption.
And your armpits rank pretty high in that category.
So when it comes to the deodorant that you slather in your armpits, you need to start looking at the label. There are specifically seven ingredients that you need to look for that must not be in your deodorant:
#1) Aluminum: This is added to deodorants to prevent sweat by causing cell swelling which squeezes the sweat ducts closed. Check the label of your deodorant for aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium or any other chemically phrase that includes the word “aluminum”. This metal can easily accumulate in your body, and is associated with neural issues such as Alzheimer's. The last thing you want is your deodorant destroying your brain.
#2) Triclosan. You can find this in many deodorants, and it is a carcinogenic pesticide that you can absorb through you skin and easily store away in body fat. It's added as an antibacterial, but ironically, may actually encourage growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
#3) Talc. Talc, or “talcum powder” can often contain asbestos, and is classified as carcinogenic if so (you can read more at cancer.org) It is typically added to deodorants to prevent rash and help keep the skin dry – but should be avoided.
#4) Parabens. Parabens include anything that begins with methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl or butyl, and these are all toxic petrochemical compound that can disrupt your hormones, mimic estrogens and other hormones, harm your reproductive system, and act as carcinogenic compounds.
#5) Propylene Glycol. This is a form of mineral oil that is also found in automatic brake and hydraulic fluid and industrial antifreeze. In deodorant, propylene glycol works as a humescent, which preventing the escape of moisture or water. But it is neurotoxic and can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.
#6) Steareth-n. When you're looking at your deodorant label, you need to know that the “n” in steareth-n could be any number. But this can react with another compound called “ethylene oxide” to form a carcinogenic compound.
#7) Silica. Silica is added to deodorant to absorb moisture, but it can be contaminated with crystalline quartz, a carcinogenic compound, and the inhalation of crystalline silica can lead to silicosis (a respiratory disease) or cancer.
If you look at the label of your deodorant and see any of the compounds above, toss it out. And check for these as warning signs when you're purchasing deodorant.
So which deodorant do I personally use?
If you read my article “4 Easy Ways To Ensure Your Skin Doesn’t Look Like A Wrinkled Elephant From Your Outdoor Exercise Habits”, then you learned that I use products made by a company called Everyman Jack (sorry ladies, this one is for the guys, but my wife uses Alba brand as a natural solution for women).
Instead of using the dangerous chemical cocktails described above, Everyman Jack uses lichen extract and rosemary as natural antibacterial agents that help control odor-causing bacteria.
Cotton extract and witch hazel absorb wetness, essential oils of rosemary and sage refresh and a crtified organic aloe vera soothes sensitive skin. There's no aluminum, no propylene glycol, no parabens, no phthalates, no animal testing and no animal byproducts.
In other words, it's clean stuff (and it's owned by a cool triathlete, so there's even more props).
I was able to get BenGreenfieldFitness readers a proprietary 25% discount with code SKINSAVE at Everyman Jack. So enjoy your chemical-free deodorant, and leave any questions, comments or feedback below.