Only a few years ago, there was a lot of concern that the chemicals in antiperspirants might contribute to breast cancer. The FDA and the American Cancer Society strongly report that studies do not support those concerns. However, many woman are still reluctant to expose themselves to the aluminum and parabens in antiperspirant, so they choose to only apply deodorant instead, especially natural deodorant.
Walk into any health food store and you are faced with an abundance of natural deodorant choices each touting how wonderful and pure they are. Searching the web, I found National Geographic’s Green Guide which does not endorse products but does review “the science, the manufacturer's detailed product information, their claims and third party certifications when developing the product recommendations.” http://www.thegreenguide.com/buying-guide/deodorants
The Green Guide lists 14 deodorants that meet their standards with Crystal Deodorant being the most cost effective and Burt's Bees Herbal Deodorant as being the “greenest”.
● Crystal Deodorant has been around since the 80’s and was the first “natural” deodorant people seemed to use. While regular deodorants use aluminum, Crystal deodorant uses alum (not related to aluminum). They claim that the mineral salts in their deodorant create a film to eliminate the bacteria that causes odor. http://www.thecrystal.com/
● Burt’s Bee Herbal Deodorant uses sage, lemon and lavender to neutralize odor. It comes in a spray bottle and the Green Guide was impressed with the company’s strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the environment.
● Tom’s of Maine is not on the “Green list” probably because they use zinc ricinoleate from castor beans as one method to reduce odor along with other botanicals to neutralize bacteria. Tom’s does provide a popular product with numerous fragrance choices and is also is an environmentally conscious company.
● Make your own. If you are so inclined, I found a few sites that have recipes containing similar basic ingredients along with other herbs to suit your style. For a simple deodorant, some women just use baking soda and cornstarch.
The main consideration to keep in mind is that allergies and skin irritation can occur even with the most “natural” of products especially if underarm skin is irritated, red or newly shaved. Do not rely on seeing “hypoallergenic” on the label as proof that problems won’t occur as the FDA does not evaluate for allergy susceptibility, the manufacturer is making the claim. It is always a good idea to test a new product under just one arm first to make sure it doesn’t cause a problem.
Info on deodorants and antiperspirants and cancer risk: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/ap-deo
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele can be read at http://www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles