Chemicals In My Deodorant: It's The Pits!

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The other day I discovered that there was an insidious chemical in my “natural” deodorant called Cyclotetrasiloxane or “D4.” It’s used to help things like deodorant slide on the skin and is often used in conditioners to make your hair feel moisturized and healthy when it’s really just a chemical sitting on your hair shaft.
I’ve been using this deodorant for as long as I can remember, so was really dismayed when I read that siloxanes like D4 and D5 have “long half-lives in people. The weak estrogenic activity of D4, in combination with its long half-life, poses potential concerns for exposed individuals.” Umm ok, great. It is a hormone disruptor, among other things. I wonder if this has any effect on my ovaries (see previous post).

I bought it at Whole Foods, it’s the Earth Science brand, and aside from D4 all the ingredients are botanicals I know and love like mint and rosemary. This is a really good reminder to vet all of the products you use: who makes them, what are their standards and what is each and every ingredient?
Naturally, the next step after finding out that there was poison in my deodorant was to get to work finding a new, actually natural one! After this discovery, I will only be buying products from people who’s faces I know and who will stand behind every ingredient.

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The two that I’m starting with are both women-led brands who extensively research every ingredient and their products are designed with your whole body system in mind. Mother Mountain Herbals Mermaid Mist Deodorant and Agent Nateur Holi (Man) No. 5 that I found at CAP Beauty. Mother Mountain Herbals uses magnesium in her formulation instead of potentially irritating baking soda. In the listing it says, “Magnesium neutralizes odors, while therapeutic grade essential oils provide a fresh scent and keep bacteria at bay.” Agent Nateur’s uses a small amount of baking soda that I have not found irritating and the smell is divine! Despite the fact that it is branded for men, I love the earthy scent of this and think it’s a great unisex option. All of the ingredients in both formulations are completely natural and both are made with just a handful of ingredients. I also love the packaging on both!

Now, if you just came here to learn which deodorants I switched to, the above will suffice. If you want to know more about armpit health, and how it relates to your whole body, keep reading!

Who knew there was so much to know about armpits! There are two important clusters of lymph nodes residing in the armpit-called the Axillary Lymph Nodes. They filtrate and conduct lymph from the upper limbs, pectoral region and upper back. The lymph system is as important as the blood circulatory system, but much less talked about and performs very different functions. It does not have a pump like the heart to keep things moving, so it can easily become stagnant due to chemicals (like the ones in my old deodorant). The lymphatic system helps to detox the spaces between the cells, lymph fluid races to an infection site to help repair and bring healing, and it plays a huge role in the functioning of our immune system.

It is not sweat that makes our pits smell, it is bacteria. Everyone has a different mix of good and bad bacteria in and around their body, and this includes the armpit area. I personally do not have a problem with excessive sweat which can often be a genetic trait (or caused by coffee which I no longer drink), and because I eat a healthy diet, I find my armpits are pretty low maintenance. If you are using a chemical deodorant and want to switch to a natural one, you can try this armpit detox to help ease the transition if you are worried about smell or sweat.

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Aside from what you are putting on your body, what you are putting in your body matters when it comes to your pits too. Drinking chlorophyll, eating mostly vegetables, and taking probiotics can help you smell better! Modern medicine is only now starting to understand the human microbiome and the importance that it plays in overall health. Western medicine tends towards the inclination that our body systems function independently of one another, but in truth, your body is an ecosystem and everything is intricately connected. Your diet and overall health play into the health, and smell, of your pits!

There has been no conclusive evidence when it comes to that often talked about link between aluminum in antiperspirants, and breast cancer. But if there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is not to wait until a study, or the FDA (which still allows D4 to be put into products), says something is good or bad for your health. If you have a reasonable understanding about how the body works, then it would follow that putting something potentially harmful on a vital fluid-producing, circulating part of the body is not a good idea.

Know your ingredients and know your makers and we will all be happier and healthier for it.

Sources (not included in links):

https://www.annmariegianni.com/ingredient-watch-list-cyclotetrasiloxane-the-hair-conditioner-that-may-harm-our-waterways/

https://www.innerbody.com/image_lympov/lymp05-new.html

Energy Medicine, Donna Eden

Why I Quit Coffee and What I Drink Now!

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I love coffee. As a New Yorker trying to keep up with it all, it always felt like a necessary ally. There aren’t that many memes dedicated to it for nothing. However...

At the beginning of 2018 I set out to once and for all get to the bottom of my lifelong abdominal pain and menstruation woes. I, like almost every woman I’ve talked to about this, have ovarian cysts and fibroids. I think it’s important to share about this intimate detail of my physical body because so many of us suffer in silence thinking that the doctor’s lack of answers or advice is the be all end all. I’m here to tell you that it’s the opposite. If you care to go deeper, that feeling of hopelessness at the doctor’s office can actually be the beginning of understanding so much more about yourself and the universe than you thought possible (lots more on this in later posts). I’m thankful that I grew up with parents who were open minded and thus I didn’t feel any ideological resistance on my journey into “alternative” medicine, foods, and ways of being. My first step in trying to heal myself was to cut out coffee.  Coffee and caffeine are metabolized differently by men and women and can adversely affect hormone levels in women. Coffee use is scientifically linked to breast and ovarian cysts and fibroids. This enlightening article from FloLiving is a must-read if you have any of these issues. It’s shocking to me that I had to stop and dedicate my life to working out this health puzzle to find this simple and important piece of information. I’m not saying this is 100% what caused my, or anybody else’s, issues. It’s impossible to know in each specific case. But if there’s something that can help, why not give it a try?

I soon discovered that I couldn’t just replace coffee with other caffeine like matcha or black tea to get that morning jolt. Caffeine in general just doesn’t seem to make me feel great, and as mentioned in the above article, caffeine can contribute to the hormone imbalances that cause cysts and fibroids. Cacao, on the other hand, is my best friend. That is the base for my main morning drink. Most people think there is caffeine in chocolate but it’s actually something called theobromine, a sort of alkaloid cousin to caffeine. 

Here is one version of what I drink instead of coffee:

-1 TBSP organic cacao (delicious, slight buzz)

-1 tsp Anima Mundi maca or 1/2 tsp mucuna (pizazz! Like caffeine but sustained energy and no crash. Both of these have so many other health properties I’ll go into in another post)

-1 tsp Anima Mundi Vegan Collagen (for skin, hair, nails and gut lining...contains powerhouses like he shou wu and nettles)

-A couple shakes of cinnamon (yum and also good for blood pressure)

-1 1/2 TBSP Anima Mundi Coconut Cream Powder OR 1/2 cup fresh almond milk (I like these two as cream options because they are #plantparadox friendly and they don’t contain any guar, xanthan or other gums like packaged nut/seed/oat milks)

-1/2 tsp Luce Farms CBD Honey (honey for sweetness and cbd for evening out my fast-paced brain which can sometimes veer over into anxiety territory)

-Sprinkle of salt to round out flavors

Boil water in kettle, add everything together in blender and mix for a couple seconds. Done!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned on my health journey it is that every single person is so different. I’ve found through almost a year of trial and error that this is what works for me right now. If you’re curious—give it a try and see how it makes you feel! If it seems daunting/expensive you can just try part of it and see what you like. I find that Anima Mundi and Luce Farms are a good price point for such high quality for most of the above ingredients. They are small businesses doing good and making great products.

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