Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sweat Doesn't Have To Be a Dirty Word

I realized the other morning during the second of my two one-hour workouts that I hadn't put on any deodorant.

Then I realized I didn't really need it because despite the fact that I was in a yoga pose that had my nose in fairly close proximity to my underarm, I didn't smell anything.

That set me to thinking.

Deodorant was one of the first crunchy things I made. Before I tossed anything besides my shampoo, I had read a few blogs expressing concern about the effect of antiperspirants on our bodies' ability to expel toxins through sweat. Those writers pondered a possible connection between limiting the effectiveness of our underarm lymph nodes with antiperspirant and the rise in breast cancer, more so in women because we shave and therefore put the chemicals in antiperspirants directly on our skin.

When I decided shampoo free hair was working and my daughter who had spent too much time reading Pinterest suggested "crunchy" was better, I made my first batch of deodorant. It broke me out. I frequently had to go days without using it in an effort to heal, and at the time it was a big deal. I could tell I'd forgotten some important hygiene.

My daughter, who had bought her deodorant off Etsy, said she'd got a batch with Shea butter in it and had the same results. I tossed mine and started over with basically coconut oil, baking soda, tea tree oil, and beeswax as a stabilizer. No more problems with rash and I could go back to my regular use routine.

I continued my crunchy journey and gave up body and face lotions loaded with chemicals for homemade or natural alternatives. Shea and coco butter, beeswax, olive, almond and coconut oils and essential oils for fragrance have replaced all the petroleum-based products and chemicals I once used to battle dry skin. The last time I picked up a commercial product because it was handy, I felt like my hands were smothering and had to wash it off.

When I realized I'd missed Tuesday's deodorant, I couldn't honestly remember the last time I had used it. Although an hour of Zumba and an hour of yoga will make me sweat even in cold weather, I don't notice the odor I used to expect. Could it be that without the toxins put on my body my sweat is no longer a desperate attempt by my skin to save itself?

It was one of those light bulb moments.

Our skin is actually our bodies' largest organ and the chemicals we apply in lotions and cosmetics are quickly absorbed. As long as we see the result we seek we don't generally give it a second thought. Perhaps we should. Maybe just being clean and keeping the chemicals away is enough.

Perhaps the lie we've bought into about cosmetics and beauty products is really part of what's aging us, overloading our systems in ways that cause chronic ailments, and filling our bodies with toxins that kill us.

Perhaps if we go without we will find we are better off in ways we never expected.


  1. I am in agreement. There are so many commercial products out there with "harmless" chemicals that long term studies haven't been done on. Thank you.

    1. Since eliminating most chemicals from daily use on my body, my need for daily allergy medication is also gone. We want to blame the environment for a lot of what's wrong with us, when it may be much closer to home -- the things we eat and put on our bodies.