The axilla, better known as the armpit, is one of the warmest parts of the body and is home to hormone receptors, blood vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, and over 20 lymph nodes that service the arm. This hot and sweaty area has the perfect recipe for producing odours caused by bacteria breaking down the sweat. But, odour isn’t the only thing that can occur in our armpits; 50% of breast cancer starts in the upper outer quadrant of the armpit, so do underarm cosmetics
No one wants to walk around with an odour trailing behind them, so we resort to underarm cosmetics such as deodorant or antiperspirant. The main difference between the two, is that the main focus of deodorant is to mask the smell of body odour, while antiperspirant blocks sweat from reaching the surface of the skin.
The armpits are a delicate area where toxic ingredients can be reached, dispersed, and even stored. Here are some top ingredients to be on the look out for in your underarm product.
1) Parabens - Parabens are a widely used preservatives in food and cosmetics that are a known carcinogenic. Research suggests that parabens disrupt the estrogen hormone. The armpits are in close proximity to the breast tissue, which is estrogen-sensitive. When our armpits are exposed to parabens, the development of cancerous cells can increase exponentially and can lead to breast cancer tumours.
2) Aluminum compounds - Typically found in antiperspirants, aluminum compounds work by reducing the amount of sweat that reaches the skin surface. The interaction of aluminum and sweat forms a plug over the sweat glands and traps the sweat under the skin. Research shows that aluminum can disrupt hormones and can cause gene instability within the breast tissue. Similar to parabens, aluminum has been found in cancerous tissues within the body.
3) Silica - This anti-caking and moisture absorbing material is common in both antiperspirant and deodorant. Silica is known as an irritant and can cause inflammation and be contaminated with crystalline silica, which a known carcinogen.
4) Triclosan - Classified as a pesticide, Triclosan is used to inhibit bacteria growth. It is a powerful anti-bacterial agent that kills both good and bad bacteria. Studies have shown that it may disrupt hormones, thyroid function, and is on its way for potentially being a carcinogen.
5) Talc - This is a mineral made up of mainly the elements of magnesium, silicon, and oxygen, Talc works to absorb moisture and keep skin dry. Talc may contain asbestiform fibers, a crystal habit, making it another known carcinogen.
6) Propylene Glycol- Propylene glycol, a known neurotoxin, may affect the central nervous system, heart and liver health. It may also cause allergic reactions, which can irritate the skin, especially if you have sensitive skin.
7) Steareths- Steareths, known carcinogens, are additives made from weakening harsh chemicals in the manufacturing process. If steareths have the capability to weaken harsh chemicals, imagine what they can do to your skin.
8) Fragrance - Although scents are appealing, fragrance can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions. They may also cause organ toxicity.
9) Triethanolamine (TEA) and Diethanolamine (DEA) - TEA and DEA are chemicals that may affect liver and kidney health. Both of these products are known carcinogens that have been banned in Europe. If Europe has banned these chemicals, they probably shouldn’t be used on our bodies.
10) Artificial colors - Some artificial colors and bleaches are known carcinogens that may also cause allergic reactions.
One way to avoid these chemicals, and other ones we may not know about yet, is to switch to a natural deodorant. By switching, you will be keeping your body free of toxins and keeping your body as healthy as you can. You’ll feel better knowing that just by switching to natural deodorant, you are ridding your body of toxins and preventing illness. Shea butter, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, baking soda, and Fuller’s Earth clay work together in our deodorant to control body odour, absorb excess oil and moisture, and draw out toxins and dirt.