Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Deodorant versus none

Deodorant. Oh, my love-hate relationship with you! In late August, a fellow basketball wife asked about what people use for deodorant and why. She was concerned about some of the impacts to her body of the ingredients as well. Of course I chimed in, most of which is repeated below and is the background/basis of my own dilemma. If you know all about deodorants, antiperspirants, and the body functions and chemicals involved, skip the next few paragraphs and hit my dilemma!

It's not sweat that causes the odor, but for most people the bacteria that are in the armpit (your scalp and other hairy areas excrete an oily sweat from the glad, as opposed to the rest of your body that sweats more fluid/water) munching on the oils that cause the smell . More than you wanted to know, right? The trick is to form a barrier between the bacteria and oily sweat, if the odor bothers you. I notice regularly that I can smell myself but others cannot.

Antiperspirants use aluminum to block the sweat gland, where as deodorants try to minimize bacterial growth by changing the pH of the skin. Equally worth avoiding are aluminum (linked to Alzheimers) and parabens (found in many breast cancer tumors). What I use and don't use depends on the time of year/season. I also try to avoid as many chemicals as possible, so generally that is where I am coming from.

In the summer months, when it is hot and I sweat more, I use Tom's of Maine. It is the easiest to find/most mainstream of the non-Aluminum deodorants and uses hops to inhibit microbal growth. I generally do not like to use fragrance (most fragrances are carcinogens).

In the spring and fall, when it is still warm, I tend use crystal body deodorant stick.

During the winter, unless I know I will be in a sweaty situation, I use nothing.

You can make your own by mixing cornstarch with baking soda and apply it with a puff after you are thoroughly dry post bathing. You can actually do this anywhere you feel the need. You can also make your own with a recipe.

You can always check the chemical make up of your deodorant, etc on the EWG's skin deep database-- 0 is the best rating and 10 the worst.

Since I wrote that I have given up all deodorants and the crystal, but lately I have come to a dilemma due to shower timing issues. This might be TMI, but I need to find an answer!

I used to shower every other day, mostly due to my hair getting funky. However, now that I have ditched the poo, my hair can go three of four days without a washing (amazing, no?), but my underarms cannot! So, the way I see it, I can a) shower every other day and wet, but not wash my hair each time; b) shower every three or four days but use the crystal, if that works; c) shower every three or four days but use Tom's or similar deodorant stick; or walk around stinky.

Now, obviously when I am working out as I should and not every three or four days like I have been, I will need to switch up my shower pattern, but I'm not really sure which I want to do as far as my body or the environmental impact.

Who said being green and making conscious decisions about product usage is always easy and straight forward?

Anyone want to chime in?


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