My grandmother used to say that men sweat, women “glow.” But who among us hasn’t taken a surreptitious whiff under the arms on a hot, humid summer’s day? As temperatures soar, so does our tendency to fret about body odor and wetness.
It’s no wonder we worry. The skin is home to some two million sweat glands. Under normal circumstances, these glands secrete up to 6 cups of sweat per day. But, when the weather turns toasty that amount can increase to 15 cups! To stem the flow—and the smell—most of us reach for the deodorant or antiperspirant. Although we often use the words interchangeably, deodorants and antiperspirants actually have two entirely different functions. So which should you use? And, more importantly, are they really good for you?
Both deodorants and antiperspirants fight odor, but they work very differently on the body. Deodorants simply inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes odor, while antiperspirants actually stop perspiration by blocking the pores. The dissimilarity in the two products’ actions is reflected in how the Food and Drug Administration classifies them: Deodorants are considered cosmetics because they work only on the skin’s surface; antiperspirants are treated as over-the-counter drugs because they change how the body functions.
But, whether you opt for a deodorant or an antiperspirant, recent research suggests that some of their ingredients may not pass the sniff test. Among the alphabet soup of chemicals these products contain, parabens have gotten the most press after researchers found these estrogenic preservatives in breast tumors. Phthalates are another concern, mostly due to their potentially harmful affect on developmental and reproductive health. Deodorants are also packed with synthetic fragrances and masking chemicals that are intended to keep you smelling sweet. Unfortunately, these chemicals can cause irritation, especially on freshly shaven armpits.
While it’s true that the aluminum compounds in antiperspirants may not contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease as once thought, recent studies have found the presence of this sweat-stemming mineral in human breast tissue—especially in women with gross cystic breast disease, a benign condition that may increase the risk of breast cancer. Other studies suggest that, because antiperspirants block the sweat that would normally carry toxins, excess hormones, and other waste out of the body, their regular use may contribute to breast and prostate cancer.
Food for Thought
Many holistic health practitioners believe that body odor is directly linked to a toxic inner environment. And one way your body stays well is by purging harmful substances via sweat glands.
An anthropological study carried out by researchers in the Czech Republic found that meat eaters smell worse than their vegetarian counterparts. Other foods that are perennially linked to an increase in body odor include curries, chilies, onions, and garlic. On the flip side, you may want to consider getting enough chlorophyll: Nutrients rich in chlorophyll, such as alfalfa and spirulina, are thought be especially effective at reducing body odor.
The evidence connecting what you eat to how you smell may not be conclusive, but adopting a clean diet can boost your overall health.
earth science tea tree and lavender deodorant stick has pure tea tree and lavender oils for an effective, all-day solution against odor. It has a lovely, fresh scent, too.
Tom's of maine natural confidence deodorant in a refreshing Citrus Zest scent is perfect for the whole family. It's mineral-based with potassium alum and zinc citrate.
Herbs Etc. ChlorOxygen chlorophyll concentrate is an excellent source of chlorophyll, which naturally purifies the blood, helps build red blood cells, and increases oxygen.