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Do You Know The Ingredients In Your Deodorant?

Do You Know The Ingredients In Your Deodorant?

Like many people, I used regular deodorant for as long as I could remember. From the second I hit puberty, I would religiously slather on a cucumber and lemongrass-scented stick that was anything but “all-natural.” I never questioned the harmful chemicals I was putting under my arms, one of the most sensitive parts of the body, until I was asked to do a story a few years ago about finding the best natural deodorant. Since then, I’ve never looked back. And it looks like I’m not alone: According to a study by Grand View Research, the global organic deodorant market is expected to be worth USD $158.5 million by 2025. “In the last 10 years, there has been a huge boom in natural self-care products, and the cleaner deodorants now available are much higher quality,” says Dr. Mallory Reinthaler, a naturopathic doctor at the family health clinic Wellbe in Toronto. We took a deep-dive into the harmful effects of using regular deodorant and why you should make the switch ASAP. 

Why do ingredients matter in your deodorant?

“Sweating is our body’s natural way of releasing harmful toxins and heavy metals,” says Dr. Reinthaler. “Antiperspirants are designed to plug your pores, thereby impeding the important sweating process. When the toxins have nowhere to go, they are reabsorbed into the lymph nodes and breast tissue, which can have long-term health consequences.” Whether it’s sunscreen, moisturizer or deodorant, these substances are getting absorbed into your body, and thus it’s important to know exactly what is in them and how it effects your health.

What are endocrine disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors are any ingredients that can mimic our natural hormones, impacting how they function within the body. “Understanding the impact these products have on our systems can potentially reduce long-term health risks, says Dr. Reinthaler. “Minimizing the daily use of endocrine disruptors alone may decrease symptoms of many hormonal conditions like endometriosis, type 2 diabetes and hypothyroidism.”

What are some ingredients to avoid?

 When shopping for your next stick, make sure to look out for ingredients like aluminum, triclosan and phthalates/synthetic fragrances, according to Dr. Reinthaler. “Aluminum is a heavy metal that is both a neurotoxin linked with Alzheimer’s, and along with parabens, can impact estrogen metabolism in your body,” she says. “Triclosan is classified as a pesticide by the FDA and creates a carcinogenic gas when mixed with water. Phthalates/synthetic fragrances can irritate the skin and disrupt testosterone metabolism, which is important in both males and females.” 

What are some ingredients to look for?

“The less ingredients, the better,” says Dr. Reinthaler. “Many natural deodorants on the market have just four to five ingredients and are void of fillers and harsh chemicals. The most common ingredient for odour absorption is baking soda. Coconut oil and shea butter keeps skin moist, essential oils add natural fragrance and activated charcoal helps draw out toxins and kill bacteria.”

Canadian-made Undercarriage Deodorant’s products contain just that — ingredients you know: arrowroot powder, coconut and almond oil, baking soda, activated charcoal, vitamin E, beeswax and shea butter. Founder and CEO Julie Dorion was inspired to create her own natural formula when her then 12-year-old daughter was reaching for conventional drugstore deodorant sticks. “Not finding anything that suited, I started formulating little by little,” she says. The creamy formula dries into a powder and can be applied anywhere you sweat or chafe (think: under the arms, in between your thighs, under your boobs and more).

Why aren’t more people making the transition to natural deodorant?

There is a stigma about sweating and smelling. “People are self-conscious and prefer to stick with products they know will work, which has masked the amount of attention being allocated to the health impact,” says Dr. Reinthaler. “In the past, there were few natural deodorants on the market that were effective.” Chemical deodorants have been the norm for so long, and they’re easily accessible in grocery stores and pharmacies and often come at a lower price point. Plus, when you make the transition to natural deo, there can be a detox period. You might experience increased wetness and odour for a few days, a few weeks or not at all — it differs person to person. But in the end, it is well worth it.

 Shop Uncercarriage Natural Deodorant - Lavender

If you’re ready to make the switch, shop some of our favourite scents from Undercarriage here at Bonjibon!


About the writer

Victoria Christie

Victoria Christie is a Toronto-based freelance journalist, who specializes in health, sex and relationships.

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