Deodorant Ingredients to Avoid


by Megan Winkler

With ingredients that have been linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, hormonal imbalance and neurological issues, I think it’s time we start looking a little more closely at what’s going into our deodorant. I’m pretty horrified at the information I dredged up on the topic. I know this isn’t a glamorous topic, but it’s an important one. So important, in fact, that I’m going to try a natural deodorant recipe out this week. But before I get to the recipe, let’s talk about what we’re applying to our armpits on a daily basis.

 

THE ALUMINUM-ALZHEIMER’S CONNECTION

Yeah, we’ll start off with a big one. Aluminum—as in the metal—is used to block pores from releasing sweat. The problem is, aluminum has been linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men and an increased chance of Alzheimer’s. Now to be fair, the Food and Drug Administration has never said it’s a carcinogen, but there is definitely a case for drawing a correlation between the two. It might be something to look out for.

POTENT PARABENS

Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are sometimes present in health and beauty products. There are two interesting bits of information that I’d like for us to consider with regards to this ingredient. The first is that the Centers for Disease Control conducted a study to see how many of us have parabens in our system. Of 100 subjects tested, 100 percent—each and every one of them—showed paraben presence in their urine. This research told scientists a lot about how easily chemicals enter our body via the skin. The other bit of information is that parabens have been linked to hormonal imbalance in early puberty. Food for thought.

OH GEEZ, PROPYLENE GLYCOL

The petroleum-based ingredient propylene glycol is present in many antiperspirants and deodorants. It’s the ingredient that gives deodorant a slick consistency so we can slather it on our skin. Bad news is that in large quantities it can do damage to the central nervous system, the heart and the liver. To be fair, this is like saying that broccoli in large doses is lethal, but no one would ever eat that much anyway, so it’s a moot point. The amount of propylene glycol used in the average stick of deodorant is probably completely safe, but it’s worth mentioning.

FUNKY PHTHALATES

Phthalates help ingredients to dissolve, and because of this they are sometimes found in deodorant. Unfortunately, phthalates are also linked to birth defects and the disruption of hormone receptors in the body. Yuck!

TRICKY TRICLOSAN

After finding out that triclosan was classified as a pesticide by the FDA and as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, most companies that produce deodorants and antiperspirants have removed this ingredient from their formulas. It’s still a good idea to read the product label just to make sure triclosan isn’t hiding inside.

A DIY NATURAL ALTERNATIVE

I did some research to see if I could talk about some great mainstream companies that have eliminated these ingredients from their products, but with the exception of Old Spice, none of the companies I investigated even go so far as to display the ingredients for their deodorants online.

There are a few all-natural deodorants on the market, but I found a couple of homemade recipes via Wellness Mama that are supposed to be amazing, assuming the above information doesn’t sit well with you either. Using coconut oil, baking soda, shea butter, and some optional arrowroot and essential oils, you can make your own quite easily. Simply melt the coconut oil and shea butter in a double boiler and add the other ingredients to create an all-natural alternative that really works. Another option is to combine coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch in a small glass jar. Neither recipe requires refrigeration, which is nice.

New Commitment​s in Support of My Brother’s Keeper


Earlier this week, President Obama visited the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. to participate in a town hall with youth, and to announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

Find out more about the new commitments here.

As the President said during the town hall, “We want fewer young men in jail; we want more of them in college. We want fewer young men on the streets; we want more in the boardrooms. We want everybody to have a chance to succeed in America. And it’s possible if we’ve got the kind of team that we set up today.”

 

In February, as part of his plan to make 2014 a year of action focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans, the President unveiled the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

The Administration is doing its part by identifying programs and policies that work, and recommending action that will help all our young people succeed. Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper, the President’s Task Force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans, through online and in-person listening sessions, who are already taking action.

Learn more at WhiteHouse.gov/My-Brothers-Keeper.

And if you haven’t already, commit to making a difference by pledging to mentor a young person in your community.

Stay Connected

Watch President Obama answer questions during this week’s town hall:

 

 

 

 Watch the President in this week's town hall.

 

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Walmart Moms on Strike!


Walmart moms on strike - find an event near youMoms who work at Walmart are fed up! And this week, in more than 20 cities across the country, they’re going on strike to protest the company’s retaliation against its employees who have spoken up about inequality.

Can you stand with them at a store near you?

Find an event »

Thanks for stepping up at this important moment, Smiley Director of Campaigns, Jobs With Justice

P.S. If you can’t make it to an action, check out this powerful video on how we’re all living in the Walmart Economy.