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If you're like most Americans, your typical morning includes taking a shower, cleaning your teeth and wrapping up your hygiene routine with the swipe or spray of deodorant before getting dressed and primped. A whopping 95 percent of Americans regularly use deodorant, which has made the deodorant business an $18 billion industry. “You guys have no idea.” “Wow. You stink!” While few of us could ever imagine walking out the door without putting on deodorant, there's some compelling evidence that shows that not only is deodorant unnecessary for many, the use of deodorants and antiperspirants can even be dangerous to your health. Giving up this common odor-control tradition might seem unimaginable, but consider what scientists are discovering about their use. Here are the real reasons you should stop using deodorant. Rendered unnecessary Some of us really do need deodorant if we want to feel and be clean by today's standards.
No one ever wants to smell bad, even when we're alone. “My God. What is that smell?!” But not everyone actually needs it. The reason some people smell bad in the armpit region is that the bacteria living there breaks down lipids and amino acids found in sweat and turn them into substances that have a very distinct odor. However, one study found not everyone produces the bacteria that leads to underarm odor.
Scientists discovered that a gene called ABCC11 determines whether people produce wet or dry earwax. Interestingly, people who produce the “dry” version of earwax also lack a chemical in their armpits that leads to underarm odor. Researchers discovered about two percent of Europeans lack the genes for smelly armpits, while most East Asians and almost all Koreans lack this gene. So, for those who don't have the genetic propensity for underarm odor and still wear deodorants, it's just an added, unnecessary expense. Chemical overload, Unfortunately, deodorants and antiperspirants may also contain a whole slew of questionable ingredients, including toxic chemicals that can lead to some pretty serious health issues when absorbed through the skin. In fact, chemicals placed on your skin can be even more dangerous than if you ingested them orally because they can enter the bloodstream without being metabolized. With so many questionable compounds used in some deodorants that can be absorbed and stored in fat cells in the underarm area, the results can be dangerous. There are hormone receptors in your underarm tissue, which can react to some of the ingredients in deodorants. So if you aren't already reading the ingredient labels on your brand of deodorant, you might want to consider finding out what's going on you — and ultimately, going in you.
Excess paraben alert Some deodorants include parabens, which are used as preservatives. While these preservatives are what help prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria in their products, they can also mimic estrogen in the body, and extra estrogen can potentially lead to the development of breast cancers. Aluminum compounds, which are used in many antiperspirants to block the sweat ducts from producing odor-causing perspiration, have also been found to mimic estrogen. It should be noted that not all scientists agree with these findings, but there is certainly enough evidence to make you think twice. At least one study has found women who developed breast cancer at an earlier age shaved their armpits and used deodorants more frequently and at an earlier age. Dangerous pesticides An antibacterial agent and pesticide known as triclosan is another common ingredient found in some deodorants and antiperspirants. Several animal studies have shown triclosan may alter hormone regulation and has been thought to contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It's also been linked to a slew of other health risks, including skin irritation and endocrine disruption. Surprisingly, research in 2008 found triclosan in the urine of nearly 75 percent of people tested.
In light of the research, several cosmetic companies including Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble have said they would be removing triclosan from their products out of safety concerns and the FDA announced it was banning the use of several common ingredients, including triclosan, in antibacterial soaps and washes. Hormone disruption Phthalates are added to many deodorants and antiperspirants to help the product stick to your skin. Like parabens and aluminum compounds, phthalates can also interfere with your hormones. It differs, however, in that it disrupts the way your body produces and uses testosterone. Granted, women do produce some testosterone naturally, much like men produce a certain amount of estrogen, but too much testosterone can lead to a variety of reproductive and other health issues. Experts caution that phthalates can impair reproductive ability in men and can impact fetal development in pregnant women. In addition, there is evidence that phthalates can be a contributing factor in lower IQs, as well as producing higher rates of asthma. And we're not done yet. Odor increase Okay, wrap your head around this. Antiperspirants use antimicrobial agents to kill bacteria and other ingredients to block your sweat glands.
However, antiperspirants actually affect the bacterial balance in your armpits. Ultimately, their use can actually create an even greater odor-inducing sweat problem. The bacteria killed off by deodorants and antiperspirants allow bacteria that produce even more pungent odors to thrive instead. In other words, they can mess with the microorganisms, many of which are beneficial, that live on and in your body. As some researchers would argue, deodorants can make the odor more pronounced, while stopping the use of antiperspirants may eventually lessen the smell. More food for thought: before you assume deodorants and antiperspirants can actually stop body odor as much as you might think, consider that the FDA only requires that a brand reduce sweat by 20 percent in order to claim it provides “all day protection.” Producers that claim their product is “extra strength” need only reduce dampness by 30 percent to pass the grade. Another smell solution There are other ways to control pit odor other than relying solely on deodorants and antiperspirants. One way to reduce your body odor is to follow a clean lifestyle of healthy eating, drinking plenty of water and getting regular exercise. Other recommendations include bathing daily, avoiding spicy or strong-smelling foods like garlic, limiting caffeinated beverages and trying relaxation techniques like yoga or biofeedback to reduce the nervous sweat that can lead to body odor.
“Sometimes when I get nervous I stick my fingers under my arms and I smell 'em like that!” So eating well, going for a run, heading to the gym or even hitting up a sauna can help eliminate the toxins that produce body odor. But for those who do need a little help, a paste of baking soda and water can be a very effective deodorant for some people. Other options include dabbing a bit of apple cider vinegar under your arms and eliminating the use of chemically-enhanced deodorants and antiperspirants from your daily routine.
If you really feel you need to continue using deodorants or antiperspirants, read the label to see if any dangerous products are listed in the ingredients before purchasing a product that might not be beneficial for your health. *speaks gibberish* If you can't even pronounce what you read there, that's a good sign you might to take a deeper dive into what's included in the mix.
With so much conflicting information out there about the safety of deodorants and antiperspirants, it's better to be safe — and a little smelly — than sorry, right? Thanks for watching! Click The List icon to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Plus check out all this cool stuff we know you'll love, too!.