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Antiperspirants, Our Armpits, and Our Health

Over the course of the last century, our sense of smell has become highly judgmental. We not only expect people to present themselves in public clean and fresh, but layered in odors which conform to modern whims and tastes. And, because we want to fit in, we all buy into this.

We get up in the morning. We wash. We raise our arms to the sky and roll on our deodorant. We spray ourselves with perfume or cologne.

We do all this to fortify ourselves – to build a protective wall of smell that helps us avoid the negative judgments of others just as surely as does our makeup and our clothes.

The trouble is, our determination to smell good is very possibly doing us harm.

So, what’s the problem?

For many of us, the problem lies with the deodorants we use. Most deodorants are also antiperspirants. They’re designed to stop us from sweating, an entirely natural process that is important for our health and which, as we shall discover later, can happen without any accompanying ‘stink’.

Conventional deodorants contain aluminum, generally aluminum chloralhydrate or aluminum zirconium. These ingredients are designed to form a temporary plug or an invisible film covering the sweat duct, preventing sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. Whilst this process has become widely accepted, it is potentially harmful, as sweat is the means by which we eliminate toxins from our body. If the sweat duct is blocked, then these toxins get trapped under our skin.

And this is where the problem lies. Our armpits contain lymph nodes, which act like little filters for our blood and form an essential part of our immune system. They fight germs and infections and help to keep us healthy. In order to function well, they need to be kept clear of toxins and heavy metals. And yet, by choosing to use antiperspirants, it’s entirely possible that many of us are trapping these toxins in. Worse, since our lymph nodes act as a gateway, these toxins have direct access to our blood system, leaving us at risk of them being absorbed by our liver, kidney, brain, cartilage and bone marrow.

It is this very concentration of aluminum in our systems that has been the source of recent concern in the medical community and has prompted the research being done on Alzheimer’s Disease and Breast Cancer. Significantly, Health Canada now imposes specific restrictions governing the use of aluminum chloralhydrate and aluminum zirconium in deodorants and antiperspirants, whilst the FDA in America requires the following caution to be printed on all feminine deodorant sprays:

Caution--For external use only. Spray at least 8 inches from skin. Do not apply to broken, irritated, or itching skin. Persistent, unusual odor or discharge may indicate conditions for which a physician should be consulted. Discontinue use immediately if rash, irritation, or discomfort develops.

And the Solution?

Although more research needs to be done to discover the full health impacts of using aluminum-based deodorants, the safest answer is to use a natural deodorant. A good quality natural deodorant will be free of aluminum chloralhydrate or aluminum zirconium and other potentially toxic chemicals and it won’t clog your underarm pores.

Crystal deodorants are particularly recommended in this regard. Far from a new-found discovery, they are as old as life itself and have been used for many hundreds of years in some Eastern countries as a pure and natural form of body deodorant, helping to rid people of body odor and keep them fresh.

The benefits attached to using crystal deodorants are many. Not only are they free of chemical nasties, they’re also entirely invisible and leave no sticky or oily residue on the skin. Most important of all, however, is the way in which the natural mineral salts interact with the bacteria we produce when we sweat, neutralizing those bacteria and preventing odor from happening.

There are a number of excellent crystal deodorants now on the market, as a quick survey of any quality online, or bricks and mortar, retail store will reveal. If you have any concerns about the deodorant that you’re currently using, then it might be a good idea to give a crystal deodorant a try and see if it works for you!