This past weekend I asked someone, “If you don’t trust what the government allows in our food supply, why would you trust what they allow in our personal care products?” (or our water, our prescription drugs, our household cleaners for that matter…)The person looked a little perplexed, and it definitely got them thinking.
I explained that the US government hasn’t passed a major federal law governing the safety of our personal care products since 1938. Companies aren’t even required to disclose exactly how or where their products are manufactured, which is why toxic chemicals like heavy metals make their way into our bathroom cabinets, our lip glosses, and our kid’s “baby oil” from contaminated sources in overseas production facilities and even on our home turf in America. Not only that, the FDA does not have the authority to mandate recalls of personal care products they deem harmful. They can only suggest the company participates in a voluntary recall at their own financial burden. Haha, yeah right. (source: FDA website)
It’s not like scientists haven’t discovered the potential and proven dangers of the toxins in our personal care products. They have. In fact, the European Union has banned 1,400 of the 1,500 chemicals that American cosmetics company Beautycounter has banned from their products. America has only banned 30 of the 1,500 chemicals known to be potentially harmful or confirmed to be harmful.And just because a shampoo gets washed out of your hair or a mascara touches just your eyelashes doesn’t mean these chemicals aren’t getting absorbed through your skin and mucous membranes.
One of the biggest potential offenders in your bathroom
is actually your deodorant.
Why deodorant? Well we put it on every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and we apply it to our underarms. Our axillary lymph nodes can be found in this area of our body. Other lymph nodes can be found in the groin and in the neck. They are part of our larger lymphatic system, which is responsible for filtering and draining fluids, bacteria, and toxins as well as acting as an important part of our immune system. Yes, the lymphatic system is INCREDIBLY important in preventing autoimmune diseases!!
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
Current research is challenging the safety of typical over-the-counter underarm antiperspirants, but it still isn’t clear the quantity of chemicals absorbed through the skin. Maybe the research will turn up that we were always in the clear, but I’m going to say likely not since it has been proven that toxic chemicals applied to the skin do pass the skin barrier and can be absorbed into our bloodstream.
And frankly, our bodies were MEANT to sweat! It’s one of our detoxification mechanisms, so why would we block that using an antiperspirant? Especially one full of these chemicals like these!
- Parabens (endocrine hormone disruptors)
- Aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s disease and heavy metal toxicity)
- Propylene glycol (a synthetic chemical solvent)
- Silica (a Prop 65 carcinogen)
- Phthalates (endocrine disruptors linked to permanent birth defects)
- Formaldehyde contaminated synthetics (a carcinogen)
- Triclosan (which can lead to liver toxicity and thyroid dysfunction and has been banned by the FDA last year in effect as of September 2017).
What’s in a popular Dove women’s anti-pespirant that is potentially absorbing into your bloodstream? Mmmm…
Active Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly (15.2%). Purpose: Antiperspirant. Inactive Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ppg-14 Butyl Ether, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Peg-8, Fragrance (Parfum), Dimethicone, Silica, Polyethylene, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Steareth-100, Bht, Hydroxyethyl Urea.
source: Dove website
THE POISON IS IN EVEN THE LOWEST DOSE
One could argue that the dose is in the poison. We don’t slather on deodorant over our entire bodies, mascara is only applied to our eye lashes, and foundation only touches our face.
But the Environmental Working Group is disproving that notion. The poison may be in even the lowest dose of a partially-carcinogenic chemical (which are found in MANY of our personal care products).The Environmental Working Group has its own team dedicated to cancer prevention research. This is from a 2015 article titled “Rethinking Carcinogens”:
The Halifax Project team investigated 85 common chemicals not known to be carcinogenic on their own and found that 50 can disrupt cancer-related pathways (known as the Hallmarks of Cancer) at low doses typically encountered in the environment. The researchers go on to propose that combinations of these chemicals could cause cancer by disrupting multiple pathways and overwhelming the body’s defenses. This thinking is in-line with the current understanding of cancer as a multi-step process. They also noted that even in the lowest doses, these potentially cancer-causing ingredients were disrupting cancer-related pathways. You didn’t need to glug a bottle of parabens a day!
It’s simply that the everyday choices we make overtime make our bodies more prone to developing and having difficulty fighting cancer. One of the first products I switched out for safer was my underarm deodorant.
Although it hasn’t been without-a-doubt confirmed that the aluminum and hormone-disrupting chemicals found in deodorant definitely cause breast cancer, I’m not willing to put chemicals on top of the lymph nodes nearest my breast (and that breast cancer frequently spreads to).
I went without deodorant for 3 years between 2013 and 2016. I lived in colder climates for most of the time, so it wasn’t a big deal, but once summer hit in Austin, Texas, I knew I needed to bring deodorant back into my routine! Now that I live in Florida where it’s pretty much 80 degrees or warmer year round, yeah I can’t away with no deodorant anymore!
After trying 3 different brands of safer deodorant from Whole Foods that neither prevented perspiration or covered up any sweaty smells, I had almost given up. But then I discovered Primally Pure.
PRIMALLY PURE SENSITIVE DEODORANT
Primally Pure is this truly inspiring skincare and beauty company started by Bethany McDaniel. Bethany is a fellow new mom whose passion for safer products has extended to a full line of highly effective solutions to our everyday problems like dry skin, fine lines, stinky underarms, chapped lips, and even beard itch (man problem, ladies!) I wrote about her company here. She’s been a huge inspiration for me throughout my journey in motherhood and switching to safer products. One of the most generous and kind people I’ve “met” in our Paleo community of business owners! And her products are innovative, environmentally-conscious, and well-researched.
Primally Pure Sensitive Deodorant is the only safer deodorant I’ve tried that doesn’t just look pretty but it works. It is SO effective, I put it on in the morning and I don’t have to fear what I’m going to smell like by the end of the day. Showers are a luxury these days since staying home with an 8-month-old doesn’t give you much time for self care.
I use the Sensitive Deodorant in Lavender because the scent makes me feel happy and relaxed. It also comes in Tea Tree, Lemongrass & Unscented, if you prefer one of those.So what’s in this safer deodorant you may be wondering? How could it possibly put the stop on stink without pore-clogging aluminum and hormone-disrupting
It is formulated with a small amount of baking soda which even your grandmother used for absorbing smells. Baking soda is a time-tested odor absorber, so you know it’s going to do its job. I recommend the Sensitive formula over her original formula only because some people react to the higher amount of baking soda in the original with a red rash under their arms. I have gotten a rash from safer deodorants in the past + I’ve been using Primally Pure Sensitive Deodorant for months with no rash! Other ingredients include non-nano zinc oxide to fight smells, kaolin clay to help with detoxification and moisturizing coconut oil and grass fed tallow.
Compare THAT to the list of ingredients in Dove deodorant above! Start small with your lifestyle changes – even just switching to a safer deodorant can make a big difference in your overall toxin burden.