Anyhoodles, probably the major source of aluminum absorption for most of us in the West is our deodorant! Any deodorant that has anti-perspirant in it uses one of a variety of aluminum salts as its active ingredient. Check out the back of your deodorant container and you'll see: US labeling laws require that the percentage of aluminum salts be listed -- the percentage for over-the-counter anti-perspirant/deodorants seems to range from around 12% to around 19%.
As I said in a previous post, I have lately not been relishing cramming aluminum into my pores every morning, particularly since aluminum has been linked to breast cancer. Eep! So, filed under "better safe than sorry," here's a recipe of sorts for homemade deodorant. You will need:
- an old empty deodorant container (make sure you rescue the bit that holds the deodorant as it gets pushed up!
- about 1/4 cup coconut oil (you can use the fancy extra-virgin kind or just the cheap Lou-Ana stuff from the grocery store)
- about 1/4 cup baking soda (NOT baking powder, which often contains... you guessed it, aluminum!)
- about 1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot
- 10-20 drops essential oil (lavender, tea tree, cedar), optional
Put the coconut oil and essential oils in a small bowl. Add about half of the baking soda and the cornstarch. Stir and mix until smooth. Add more baking soda and cornstarch in equal proportions until the mixture is a stiff paste. Spoon into deodorant container, shaking and tamping down after each addition. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes or until quite solid.
Now. Stuff you need to know:
This is NOT an antiperspirant, if by antiperspirant you mean "a chemical that keeps me from sweating." It will reduce the amount that you perspire, and it will absorb the perspiration. That being said, some people theorize that the reason you tend to sweat a LOT when you go a day without using your ordinary a-p/d is because your body is taking advantage of the aluminum hiatus and trying to clean the chemicals out of your pores. I have definitely found a reduction in the amount of sweat, and I also don't have that awful "crap, my deodorant just gave out" sensation in the middle of a tough day. The difference between natural deo and commercial a-p/d meltdown is sort of like the difference between the spillway on a dam and a total failure of the dam. Does that make sense?
This is a VERY effective deodorant. If, like me, you're prone to get a little whiffy by day's end, you will LOVE this stuff. Coconut oil is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, tea tree oil and other essential oils are antiseptic, and baking soda is known to eliminate odors. You know what my armpits smell like right now? Tea tree oil. That's it. And it's been a good ten hours since I applied my natural deo. And I've been outside in the August humidity, and I ran around at school for a couple hours!
But speaking of temperature and humidity, coconut oil tends to liquefy at around 75 degrees (that's Fahrenheit, y'all). So if you're the type to keep the A/C set at 80 in the summertime, you're probably going to have to keep this in the fridge for a couple months out of the year. No biggie, but there it is. In the winter, keeping it solid shouldn't be a problem.
One of my biggest problems with commercial a-p/d's, aside from the aluminum, is the fact that after a few months of using one brand, my body seems to develop a resistance to it, and it quits working. (Same thing happens with shampoo, too. Weird.) But supposedly, as you go along using natural deodorant and your body gets used to not having chemicals stopping its natural processes (hello, God made us sweat for a reason! It's called detoxification!), you'll end up sweating less. I'll let you know how that goes! ;)
Verdict: thumbs up. One less chemical in my life. Good riddance!