Does Natural Deodorant Work?

Natural Deodorant?I mentioned recently in another post, that  I had purchased a natural deodorant at Anamaya’s gift shop.  I have given it a test run and am ready to tell you all about it!

The product that I bought is made here in Costa Rica by a company called Aromaflor.  It is a natural deodorant that has 0% aluminum, alcohol and parabens and uses natural, non-harmful ingredients in their place.

Now why do we want to avoid these supposedly harmful things? My urge to switch to a less chemical-laden under-arm protector came from hearing from people here and there that they were bad, but why are they bad? and is it true?

As a yoga teacher and employee at a yoga retreat center I want to live consciously and as healthy as possible.

I did a little bit of research online, and I will share with you the gist of what I discovered.

What I Found Out

Aluminum is used as an antiperspirant in “regular” deodorant/antiperspirant products.  It works by combining with the water in sweat to block the sweat duct, which in turn does not allow the sweat to leave the body.  Some people have claimed that blocking the sweat doesn’t allow toxins to leave the body; which can cause cancer.  Others have theorized that aluminum can get into the body and change the DNA and can cause breast cancer. The information I read on WebMD demonstrated that neither of these claims are true, however in my personal opinion it really could go either way. Is it worth the risk?

Alcohol is used in these products as a “cooling agent”, bacteria killer and also as a base for the active ingredients because it dries quickly once put onto the skin. The only “bad” thing I could find about alcohol in deodorants is that it may be drying for people with sensitive skin.  I did find that in place of alcohol (or in addition to), some products contain triclosan, which is an antimicrobial and anti-fungal agent (it is also found in MANY other personal care and household products). Triclosan enters the bloodstream on contact with the skin and has been accused of harmfully effecting thyroid function, causing liver toxicity and also impairing muscle function.  I don’t know for sure that these claims are true, but I find myself asking again, if it’s worth the risk.

Parabens are found in many cosmetic and personal care products as a preservative and also as an agent of death for bacteria and fungi. Some people say that parabens cause cancer by messing with the body’s hormones.  I read that it is true that parabens do have an effect on estrogen, however it is very minimal and doesn’t cause cancer, but… Is it worth the risk?!

The Good Stuff

In place of all of these potentially harmful ingredients, this Aromaflor natural deodorant (Lemongrass, Lavender and Tea Tree “flavor”) uses some very different ingredients.  Here they are along with what they are in there for.

Magnesium Hydroxide (milk of magnesia) – Commonly used as a laxative and to treat indigestion and heartburn. It is the antiperspirant component of this product.

Colloidal Silver – Silver particles suspended in liquid. Antimicrobial, it kills bacteria on the surface of the skin so that the fats and proteins which create body odor have less bacteria to react to.

Essential Oil of Organic Lavender –  The scent of lavender has a calming effect on the body which can help reduce stress and anxiety and it just plain smells great!

Essential Oil of Organic Lemongrass –  Antibacterial, anti-fungal and increases lymphatic flow!  I  find it interesting that it also releases resentment and regret on a spiritual level, so if you are having an extra sweaty day and are regretting your choice to switch to a natural deodorant, just take a big sniff of it and you’ll be good to go again!

Essential Oil of Organic Tea Tree – Another antibacterial and anti-fungal.

Grapefruit Seed Extract – Antiviral and anti-fungal properties.

So, Does it Work?

Since I was about 12 years old I have been using various brands of regular deodorants and anti-antiperspirants. I am an active yoga teacher and tend to sweat a fair amount on a daily basis. By no means is this a perfect scientific experiment, but more my observations and experience with using the Aromaflor deodorant.

I absolutely love the smell of this product.  It goes on a little damp, but dries pretty quickly and the smell lingers for about an hour.  I noticed that I do sweat less then with no antiperspirant on, but more then with my old stick product.  In regards to odor, if I am moderately active (working at my desk interspersed with playing with my daughter), I can go a whole day without a foul smell creeping up on us.  If I am more active (teaching yoga or welcoming a new group of Yoga Teacher Training students to Anamaya), I definitely need to reapply once or twice during the day to combat that “horrible” natural smell that my body emits (I actually kinda like it!).

All in all I have decided that I am going to stick with this natural deodorant.  It’s not perfect and sometimes I do have to reapply, (but then I get to smell it again!), but the ingredients inside are so much healthier and unsuspect in terms of causing harm to my body.


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