Should Natural Deodorant Be The Only Deodorant?
By Jaime Newman
For some reason, my mom goes to a health club where most of the members are senior citizens. All of her “ladies,” as she calls them, in the locker room are at least 20 years older than her (talk about a confidence booster). My mom’s girl gang have become her little Yodas for life advice, and my mom is keen to share their words of wisdom with my sister and I. Sure, some of the stuff my mom relays from the health club locker room is to be taken with a grain of salt, but some things truly do stand out.
A handful of the women are breast cancer survivors. They told my mom that the first rule their oncologists told them once they were diagnosed was to stop using antiperspirants with aluminum. Aluminum is used in antiperspirants to plug up sweat glands and prevent us from stinking. There are a ton of theories out there to prove or disprove the theory that there is a link between antiperspirants and breast cancer. Neither side is definitive about aluminum compounds causing or not causing cancer.
The supporting theory says that the toxins in deodorants enter through the sweat glands in your armpit and into the lymph nodes located near breast tissue. Some of such theories even go on to say that the parabens in deodorants are as big of a risk to women. Parabens act similarly to estrogen, the female hormone that has a more definitive link to cancer.
But on the other side, even organizations like the American Cancer Society itself say that there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove either of these claims. However, after the talk with her locker room buddies and doing some of her own research, I don’t think my mom will use anything aside from natural deodorant again. She’s used products from Tom’s of Maine and Crystal, which she says is her favorite. She even went on a stint of making jars of homemade pit paste.
As for me, I’m too self-conscious that if I smack on some organic goop for a full day of schlepping to meetings that I’ll wreak of B.O. after one lecture. I do, though, try to limit how much I am using my clinical strength sticks and use homemade deodorant when I know I’m just going to be doing stationary activity or be out for an hour or two.
Even if there is not enough evidence that the toxins in regular deodorant cause cancer, and while more research is being done, I want to try to be at least a little bit preventive by limiting the chemicals put into my body.