Today, I am going to tell you about why deodorants and antiperspirants are harmful for the body. Deodorants are a chemical formulation, which when applied to the body, reduces the body odor by killing the bacteria responsible for causing odor. Antiperspirants are applied to the underarms, where as, deodorants can be applied to the whole body.
Why do we need Deodorants?
I do not want to give a science lecture, but, it is vital to understand how a body odor is caused.
Skin produces sweat which is, basically, odorless unless inhibited by bacteria. Bacteria is produced in hot and humid places and underarms is one of the warm parts of human body. Sweat glands produce moisture to lower the temperature of the body. But, when the armpits are washed by highly alkaline soaps, the pH of the skin increases and becomes alkaline, which is the right environment for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria feeds on the sweat, and dead hair and skin cells, and produces a chemical waste which is the main cause of body odor.
What are Deodorants made of?
Now, that, we have understood why we need deodorants, it is important to be aware of the ingredients or chemical composition of the Deodorants.
Deodorants are chiefly made up of alcohol as it kills bacteria. It is combined with other compounds like Tricolsan or metal compounds to slow down bacterial growth. It contains perfurm or fragrances which mask the body odor. It is also combined with antiperspirant compounds which reduce the perspiration like Aluminum Chloride or other Aluminum compounds. Parabens are used as preservatives.
Effects of the ingredients on the body
We have already discussed the harmful effects of Alcohol, Tricolsan, Toluene, Propylene Glycol and Parabens. Please read them here. They are all common ingredients used in an antiperspirant or deodorants. Here, I am mentioning about other ingredients not mentioned before.
Aluminum is highly toxic for the body in large doses, specially for the nervous system. There is supposed to be a link between Alzheimer’s disease and toxicity of Aluminum. The ingredients of antiperspirants get absorbed into the blood stream and may get deposited in some part of your body, specially, the brain and breast tissue and may affect the respiratory system.
Talc is considered to be cancer causing agent.
Silica irritates the skin and may contain crystalline quartz which causes cancer.
Steareth-n (n may be any number like say 100) is reacted with cancer causing agents.
Word of Caution: Many people may be allergic to aluminum and its compounds. Herbs listed on the list does not mean that they are natural. They may contain Parabens.
What to do now?
You can formulate your own natural home-made deodorants.
Everyone loves to try all the new products in the block, especially, if it has been promoted with great packaging and awesome advertisements. But, many of these products are not suitable for our skin and many of the ingredients used in products are responsible for damage to our skin. So, it is always a good habit to read the product labels on the back to make sure what are the ingredients used and whether the product is good enough to be shelled money for.
Quantity of ingredients in the product: The quantity of the labels used in the product decreases in order of its listing. The list is divided on the quantity used. The first 33% of the ingredients make up the maximum of the product, the next 33% are significant in quantity and the last 33% are minimal in quantity. Thus, you can read the labels and judge for yourself which product is good enough and find out if any of the product would be allergic to you.
There are more than 5000 chemicals which are allowed to be used for skin care and hair care beauty products. Most of them are deemed harmful for the body. So, always make it a habit to choose your products after reading the ingredients.
Following is a list of ingredients you should avoid:
- Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate (SLS / SLES): extremely harsh on the skin, causes skin immune to disrupt and age quickly. Animals exposed to SLS or SLES experience eye damage, labored breathing, diarrhea, depression and sever skin irritation.
- Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, Ethyl): used as preservatives, allergic to the skin, hormone disruptors, found in breast cancer tumors and contribute to male sterility.
- Petrolatum / Petroleum Jelly / Mineral Oil: clogs up the pores and is non-biodegradable.
- Propylene Gycol, Butylene Glycol, Poly Ethylene Glycol(PEG) or any Alcohols (except Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetostearyl Glycol): dries up and irritates the skin, high levels of Dioxins present, extremely toxic, may cause abnormalities in brain, liver and kidney.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) / Monoethanolamine (MEA) / Triethanolamine (TEA): may be toxin for other organisms and its residues may react with other ingredients in products to form nitrosamines, which are potential carcinogens (substance that causes cancer), enters through skin and gets accumulated in the body.
- Benzophenone-2 / Avobenzone / Oxybenzone / Ethoxycinnamate / PABA: used in chemical sun screen formulations, they enter the blood stream through the skin and interfere with hormone regulation, are free radical generators and may damage DNA and lead to cancer.
- Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) or any Phthalates: toxic to respiratory and immune systems, damage liver/kidneys, induce birth defects, reduce sperm count.
- Benzoyl Peroxide: may promote cancer and irritant to eye, skin and respiratory system.
- Tricolsan: is a pesticide and has grave risks for both human health and environment.
- Dioxin: does not appear on the ingredient list. Contained in antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and cleansers like Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Causes cancer, reduced immunity, nervous system disorders, miscarriages and birth deformity. Highly toxic to the body.
- DMDM Hydantoin & Urea (Imidazolidinyl): preservatives which release formaldehyde which may cause joint pain, cancer, skin reactions, allergies.
- FD&C Color & Pigments: colors which are derived from heavy metal salts and deposit toxins in the body, cancerous to animals.
Following Fragrances should be avoided as they have grave health effects:
- Acetic acid / Benzyl ester
- Benzyl Alcohol
- Diethyl Phthalate
- Musk ketone / Musk Xylene
- 6-Octen-1-ol, 3,7-dimethyl
- Benzyl Acetate
- Ethyl Acetate
- Methylene Chloride
All the above ingredients cause irritation to skin, eyes, throat, mucous membranes, respiratory system; cause severe damage to the brain, liver, kidneys, bladders; are highly toxic for the body; may cause harm to the fetus; get deposited in the blood stream and brain; causes disorder in the nervous system, may cause cancer and harmful for the environment.
Now, that you have read about the possible problems with the ingredients present in all our skin care and hair care products, hope you would choose your products more wisely.
Today, I am going to talk about my habit of using the skin care or hair care products to their last drop. I am a fanatic and would love to try on all the products available in the market. And, have tried many since I have become independent. I have inherited this from my father. We both love to spend hours together looking at all the latest products launched. And, if we do buy any product, we make sure that we have squeezed out all the juice. I know it sounds crazy and weird. But, if you know that you are spending some 500 rupees or 10$ on a single product, who would not love the get the max out of it.
I used to embarrassed about this habit of mine earlier but now, I do not mind writing about this now since I have come to know that this trend is followed by many people. I am no exception. Recently, I read a post on Vivawoman. It dealt with the same issue. The author stated that she cuts open the packaging to remove the quantity left in it. I tried it lately on the hair conditioner I was using and found that there was enough quantity left for one more conditioning treatment. Since then I have not yet finished any products. But, in case of body lotions or moisturizers, I do put very little of glycerin or rose water and shake the bottle nicely and apply it or pour it into another packaging of the same product. But, remember, do not ever mix two different products. They would do you no good. Same goes with shampoo. I shake the bottle with water and the liquid is enough to wash my hair once.
Moral of the Story: Get the best out of your money.
Last time, I talked about using fenugreek seeds to increase your hair volume. Today, I want to state another advantage of it. It helps in enlargement of your breast tissue. Pregnant mothers are advised to drink fenugreek water so that they can feed their baby properly.
You can also massage your breasts regularly. Use your palm to knead the breasts just as you would knead a dough. This would help increasing their size. You can also rub some oil and then massage. It would keep the skin soft and prevent the area around the nipples from cracking and getting dry. Read this for the exercises to firm up your breasts.
You must follow your shampooing and conditioning routine by a last rinse which would provide shine to hair and make it even more softer. There are many natural ingredients which are very good to maintain hair. Some of the rinses are listed below:
Hair Conditioning Rinses
- A cup of Honey dissolved in a mug full of water gives shine and restores its vitality. It improves the scalp condition.
- The juice of one whole lemon in a mug full of water gives hair shine and removes dandruff. It also turns hair light so be cautious while using it.
- Indian Gooseberry (amla) rinse. Boil couple of gooseberry’s in a liter of water till water remains half of its original. Strain and store liquid. It will stay for a week. Use it for rinsing hair every time. It makes your hair smooth, conditions your hair and encourages hair growth. It also improves the hair texture and health. You can also use the liquid to dilute your shampoo. It improves the scalp health too.
- Curry Leaves Rinse. Boil curry leaves in water. Strain and store and use it as a hair rinse. It imparts shine to your hair.
- Rice Water Rinse.You can rinse your hair with the water which is left behind after boiling the rice. It makes an excellent hair rinse and conditions your hair well. It gives shine too.
- Fenugreek rinse. It improves hair thickness and its health. It also conditions your hair. Use it to dilute your shampoo too.
- Floral Water. It gives shine to your hair and improves its health.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse. Mix 1 cup of vinegar with a mug full of water and pour it over your hair. Your hair will shine with health. The smell of vinegar dissipates in 15 minutes as your hair dries.
Hair Dying Rinses
- A cup of tea (herbal tea like green tea, black tea, etc.). Green Tea gives shine. Black Tea is used to darken hair color. You need to rinse with black tea many times following up every time you wash your hair. Your hair will darken over a matter of time.
- A cup of coffee is also used to give color to hair. Similar to black tea, you need to follow it up every time you wash your hair. It gives a pretty brown shade to your hair with a gloss.
- Sage rinse. Boil handful of sage leaves in a liter of water till it remains half of original and use it as a hair rinse and also to dilute the shampoo. It gives shine and darkens the hair color. You can use it to dye your hair naturally.
- Henna Rinse. Boil henna leaves in water and use it as a rinse. It darkens your hair color and conditions your hair.Instead of applying henna mixture on head which is pretty messy, you can sue the hair rinses to get the same benefit.
- Beetroot Rinse: One of the best colors. It gives an auburn tint to your hair which will shine as highlights in sun. Boil beetroot in water till it becomes half of the original volume and use it as a rinse.
Dyeing your hair: You can keep the coffee, tea, sage, henna rinses on your hair for sometime to let the color settle on your hair. Fill your wash basin with the particular rinse and dip your hair completely into it. Use a cup or mug to pour the remaining rinse on to your hair and saturate your hair completely. Do this for 15-25 times. Let your hair stay in the rinse for 5 minutes and then, lift your head up and squeeze all the dipping rinse from your hair. Let your hair set for 20-30 minutes and then, wash off. The color will settle on your hair. The results would not be visible for a few weeks. Repeated rinses would show result in a month.
These are some the rinses I use generally. You can mix these rinses and enjoy them. Few drops of Essential Oils can be added to the rinses. Lavender, Rosemary, Rose, Chamomile, Sage are good for hair.
If you have a different concoction, please share them with others.