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.
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.
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):
Energy Medicine, Donna Eden