According to the Handbook of Over-The-Counter Drugs (1992 edition), “Concern over perspiration is practically a national preoccupation. Worry about wetness and underarm odor prompts Americans to spend more than $750 million annually on over-the-counter deodorants, deodorant soaps and antiperspirants.” Today, people spend nearly $1 billion to mask body odor.
Deodorants and antiperspirants are not the same thing. Deodorants help mask body odor. Antiperspirants help reduce wetness under the arms or other areas (such as feet).
And when it comes to deodorants and antiperspirants, more expensive doesn’t mean better for you. The ingredients are what matter. Check the label, then you’ll know if it’s the right product for you.
What is perspiration?
When we perspire, we are excreting and releasing toxins. It is a healthy body function that has been targeted as “undesirable” by many.
The skin is the largest organ of the human body, and perspiration is the way it eliminates toxins from the body. Reduce skin’s ability to do its job properly, and it makes it harder on the rest of the body.
Antiperspirants work by irritating the skin to cause an inflammatory reaction accompanied by swelling and expansion of the cells around the sweat duct and it’s opening to shrink. This reduces the amount of sweat that can get to the surface.
Why does it smell?
When we use deodorant, we are not affecting a bodily function. Basically, we are masking body odor with fragrance and targeting bacteria via antibacterial agents such as Triclosan.
There are many causes of body odor:
- underlying condition or illness, particularly the lymphatic system
- poor diet (e.g., meat, dairy, processed foods, refined starches and grains)
- drinking alcohol
- taking drugs
- poor personal hygiene
Why deodorants and antiperspirants are harmful
The vast majority of over-the-counter and prescription deodorants and antiperspirants are made with potentially harmful ingredients that can enter the blood stream and hurt the body’s ability to function. For example:
- Aluminum chloride-a known irritant that helps reduce perspiration, but also removes color from clothing and degrades fabric
- Propylene glycol-used to degrease engines and other industrial products.
- Triclosan-a known irritant made from petroleum. It’s a synthetic antibacterial agent.
- Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorhydrex-GLY-plugs the pores and stains fabric when mixed with sweat (It’s what leaves that yellow-ish tinge on your white shirts)
- Stearyl alcohol-slows the evaporation rate of water (sweat)
Aluminum has an affinity for the brain and human pineal gland (our spiritual center) and large concentrations of toxic aluminum develop in these body parts. Aluminum has been implicated as the number one cause of Alzheimer disease.
Whether male or female, the underarm lymph nodes are impaired from the use of deodorant and antiperspirant.
Lymph nodes are ducts that throw off toxins. When there is such a backup of toxins in the lymphatic system area of the chest, the nearby armpits suffer. The lymph nodes at the armpits become swollen and inflamed.
Ever felt a burning, tender soreness in your underarms? Ever developed a large and painful knot or lump (that lasts for days) in your underarms? This is the result of the chemicals in commercial brand underarm deodorants and antiperspirants, which is why they should not be used.
If you are experiencing swollenness, redness, soreness, and/or inflammation (and in the form of a large lump) under the arms (armpits), immediately stop using deodorant/antiperspirant. Perform the “Sea Salt” soak. Apply Aloe Vera gel to the armpit area (throughout the day). Immediately perform a detox (7-day, 10-day, or 20-day cleanse) to facilitate healing. After you heal, only use a good brand of deodorant (i.e. Alvera).
Individual herbs great for cleansing the lymphatic system include:
- Echinacea root
- Goldenseal root
- Mulein Leaf
- Red Root
- Wild Indigo Bark
- Chaparral, and
- Burdock Root
Good brands include Alvera, Aubrey Organic, and Avalon Organics. Tom’s of Maine brand products are a better choice than most commercial brands of deodorant and toothpaste, but not as “clean” as the brands mentioned above.
Simply check the ingredients on the stick, spray or roll-on.
Crystal stick deodorants require special attention as well. If the brand only contains mineral salts (i.e. ‘Naturally Fresh’ brand), you can take a chance. Just make sure “aluminum” is not an ingredient in any crystal deodorant you purchase. Make sure the crystal deodorant doesn’t list “alum” as an ingredient. Alum is short for “aluminum”, as in ALUM-inum (Alum + inum).
Always remember to check the ingredients of any product you buy. If you are not now at present a conscious consumer, become one to save and/or prolong your life.
If you had to choose antiperspirant over deodorant, the wise choice would be deodorant, as deodorant doesn’t affect a bodily function whereas antiperspirant does.
kshamicaMDherbs.com products that can help include:
Compliments of Kshamica Nimalasuriya MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine & Public Health