You’ll find no shortage of natural deodorants on the market today, but as you probably already know, “natural” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Because that term isn’t regulated, pretty much anyone can use it. Yikes.
And because much of what goes on goes in, daily exposure to toxic chemicals and synthetic preservatives, which are commonly found in conventional personal care products, can be not awesome.
That’s why it’s so important to understand natural deodorant ingredients and know what’s in it, and what’s not.
The World Health Organization explains, “Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and potential EDCs are mostly man-made, found in various materials such as pesticides, metals, additives or contaminants in food, and personal care products. Human exposure can occur through the skin.”
They even get more specific when it comes to pregnant mothers and children, stating that they are “the most vulnerable populations to be affected by developmental exposures, and the effect of exposures to EDCs may not become evident until later in life.”
Think about medicated transdermal patches
A transdermal patch is a medicated adhesive patch that is placed on the skin to deliver a specific dose of medication through the skin and into the bloodstream.
The key here is that size matters; molecules that are small enough can pass through skin, and certain ingredients that are commonly used in personal care products are small enough to enter the bloodstream. The challenge is that it’s difficult to know, without a molecular biology degree that is, which ones are problematic. And since many conventional products don’t disclose all their natural deodorant ingredients, even if you did have a PhD, you can’t see what’s not there.
That’s why Earth Mama uses the safest natural and this is important—organic--deodorant ingredients, as well as all product ingredients, knowing that what goes on you and your baby could potentially go in.
Love your lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are important for the proper functioning of the immune system, acting as filters for foreign particles and cancer cells. They are part of the circulatory system, working around-the-clock to clean up and properly dispose of waste left behind by other body systems. Lymph nodes filter blood, remove impurities from the body, and fight infection.
And guess where the main lymph node area just so happens to be? Your armpits.
When you perspire, your body expels toxins, which supports proper immune function and helps prevent diseases related to toxic overload. So, using an antiperspirant, which most often contains unsafe ingredients, to stop yourself from sweating completely can potentially affect the good work your lymph nodes are doing for your body.
Ingredients in deodorants to avoid
Here’s a short list of the biggest ingredient offenders that are commonly found in conventional products, and yes, even in some natural deodorants.
Aluminum is in most antiperspirants to stop you from sweating (releasing toxins). It is applied to the armpit which is at the upper part of the breast. As you may have heard, there is great concern that aluminum may interfere with hormones and that it is neurotoxic.
In a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), they state “Although children are more susceptible than adults to toxic effects of heavy metal exposure, fetuses and neonates are even more vulnerable and the least protected by existing regulatory bodies
. Therefore, environmental and iatrogenic exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during critical periods of early life—in utero, neonatal and during infancy—are of particular concern. The proper function of the brain depends on the integrity of the whole central nervous system (CNS). Any developmental toxicity capable of affecting optimal development can have life-long consequences.”
This synthetic liquid absorbs water and serves as a “vehicle” for topical products. Found in thousands of cosmetic products and processed foods, it’s also found in antifreeze for HVAC systems.
These synthetic compounds are commonly used as preservatives in personal care products. In cosmetics, they are added to prevent mold, yeast, and bacteria from forming. Known to disrupt hormone function, the European Union banned parabens in 2012. The FDA says parabens are safe in limited amounts, but when they are in almost every drug store product you could purchase, this cumulative exposure could be overloading our bodies and contributing to many health concerns.
Pro tip: Paraben Ingredients Hide as: Methylparaben, propylparaben, methyl 4-hydroxybenzoate and propyl 4-hydroxylbenzoate.
The ingredient called “fragrance” (sometimes “parfum”) may appear as a single ingredient on labels, but it’s really a grab-bag of any combination of over 3,000 different chemicals. Manufacturers are not required to list them on the label. Fragrance represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants, and mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system.
What natural deodorant ingredients to look for on labels
While natural deodorant ingredients will vary based on the product you choose, finding a product, like Earth Mama’s, that contains organic ingredients with a specific certifier mentioned (for us, it’s the Oregon Tilth NSF/ANSI 305).
Also, look for ingredients that you recognize as being from nature, like coconut oil and organic essential oils.
And while baking soda is safe, it can cause some irritation for some people, which is why Earth Mama Deodorant is now baking soda-free.
If you see a label and still have questions, the biggest test is what happens when you reach out to the brand for clarification. They should be open and willing to explain any and all of their natural deodorant ingredients.
The Earth Mama difference
Each of Earth Mama’s four scents are formulated for super-sensitive skin and are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, combining traditional herbs with evidence-based research. In fact, they’re so safe, anyone with armpits can use them, even stinky tweens and everyone in between.
Choose from Bright Citrus, Calming Lavender, Ginger Fresh, or Simply Non-Scents, which was formulated for people with extra sensitive skin who want something truly (and safely) unscented.
All Earth Mama products feature a “naked” ingredient panel, which means you know as much as we do about what goes into everything we make. And if you have any questions, we’re more than happy to answer them. We’re nerdy like that.
So, with so many natural deodorants to choose from, we say stick to the ones that are certified to an organic standard because you can be assured that they are using the best safe raw materials available. Because as much as the word “natural” is open to interpretation, “certified to an organic standard” is not.