Step 2. Reduce deodorant use

Let me tell you that I always had issues with BO. I don’t like to be the stinky one in the room, but probably I am. I read all these articles about how deodorants and antiperspirants contain unpronounceable chemicals, many of which pose serious health concerns and some are carcinogens. And putting these chemicals on our skin may actually be worse than eating them, because they enter our bloodstream. Although when eating small dosage of toxic chemicals, the enzymes in the saliva and stomach break down what’s ingested and flush it out of the body.

But then I read this article in The Guardian that says “Deodorants and antiperspirants are probably as safe as the other chemicals we use on our bodies: soap, shower gel, perfumes and moisturisers. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason to demonise one set of chemicals over another. It makes sense not to use any products on broken skin, and to stop using them if you develop allergic reactions.” that makes sense, right!?

However, some of these chemicals cause hormonal disruptions – such as a class of substances called parabens. If you look at your deodorant or antiperspirant ingredient list, they are probably mentioned there as butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben. These are actually preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast, and negatively impact the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.

Moreover, the Aluminum compounds (e.g. aluminum chlorohydrate) that we hear so much about them, they are used in deodorants to block the sweat ducts. But some say that they mimic estrogen, and promote growth of breast cancer cells. Again, no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer. But how can you be sure that these studies weren’t sabotage or blocked by the deodorant companies and lobbyists. Don’t forget that the deodorant and antiperspirant market size was just over US$70 Billion.

The small samples under study in the research that found Aluminium and paraben compounds in the deodorant carcinogen are the issue. 18 out of 20 is not a good sample size for any study let alone research that wants to diminishes a widely marketed products that most believe is keeping the fabric of our societies together and keeping us from intoxicating each other with our BOs.

Also Triclosan that is flagged as a risk to both human health, the environment, and animals have shown it alters hormone regulation and contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Research has also linked triclosan with allergies, weight gain, inflammatory responses and thyroid dysfunction, and there are concerns it may interfere with fetal development in pregnant women. The research on Triclosan found it in the urine sample of nearly 75% of people tested! But how many people were tested? We don’t know! Under what research condition? there are so many questions unanswered.

It has been noted that deodorants and antiperspirants can irritate skin. I can assure you that if I shave my underarm and then put spray or roll on deodorant on, it sting and irritates my skin but that is quite a given. Isn’t it? That is just common sense, put a bit of alcohol on your irritated skin, doesn’t it burn?

 

They say that Antiperspirants are keeping you from sweating, or as the tag line goes “Keep you Fresh!!!”  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines says “an antiperspirant product must reduce sweat production by at least 20 percent over a 24-hour period after application using the guidelines for effectiveness testing referred to in Sec. 350.60.” in order to be allowed branded or marketed as 24-hour protection. I don’t know about you, but 20% is not much for me.

On the other hand, you actually want to sweat to regulate your body temperature. We have all these, between two million and four million, sweat glands that must have been put there to do something necessary not just to hang out and get plugged by chemicals, you would think!!

Experts even recommend to switch antiperspirant/deodorant brands every six months as they become ineffective while your body figures out how to unplug its glands. So it must be something unsavoury for your body that is trying so hard to shake it off.

 

They also stain my clothes, yellow underarm stains are unsightly, embarrassing and ruining dresses and shirts specially white ones. The Wall Street Journal reports that deodorant makers, detergent manufacturers, stain-removal companies, doctors and textile professors all disagree on what exactly causes the underarm staining, although many believe it’s the aluminum in the antiperspirants.

So you agree there are a lot of negatives about them but for those of us that stink what is the solution. Well there are a lot of natural options out there. I can tell you what I did.

I start rinsing with apple cider vinegar to kill the bacteria on the surface of my skin that feed of the sweat and emit the gas that is  causing the odour of BO. This obviously doesn’t work for the whole day as you can’t keep showering with vinegar if you lead a busy life like me and are out of the house for considerable hours.

You can use Bicarbonate Soda which is a salt as well. I used the food grade one that doesn’t have aluminium. It is powder and I carry it around to freshen up when needed. But some people are allergic to it and irritates some other.

For those that are allergic to Bicarb Soda, you can use natural salt roll on or sticks. There are some marketed salt deodorants out there. Like:

 

They last quite a while, so more cost effective and they let you sweat but the salt kills the bacteria off. So it creates an inhospitable environment for the bad bacteria but doesn’t plug the glands.

They don’t have a scent so if you are like me and don’t like the scent of these chemical sprays then you are safe.

You should also make sure to wash regularly, both your body and your clothing. Moreover, keep an eye on your diet. Avoid foods that make a juicier sweat for the bacteria like spicy foods, garlic and onion, caffeine, alcohol, processed, fatty and sugary foods. Minimising intake of these foods, also help your gut bacteria and keep your tummy happier too.

Keep your liquid intake up to regulate your body temperature without sweating too much. And herbs like parsley, basil, mint, sage and rosemary, along with supplements like chlorophyll and wheat grass, are all said to be natural body deodorisers.

Make sure you’re getting enough of the B Vitamins, and Vitamin C, as these water soluble nutrients encourage toxins to be eliminated via the urine rather than the skin.

The least is that by not using conventional deodorant, I feel less sticky in my underarm, I feel happier and I save between $3 to $5 every month. So go natural.

Step 2. Reduce the size (Continued)

4. Cleaning products

Being renters, we used to buy all sorts of cleaning products to make sure the place that we are renting is spotless especially when we first moved into a place or when we were leaving one. Cleaning is part of our everyday routine but deep cleaning was never my thing. However, in order to make sure I don’t have a mammoth task of cleaning at a end of our lease I always tried to keep the houses I rented in a as good as new (first moved in) condition. Hence, we used to buy window cleaners to clean the glass and mirror surfaces, oven cleaners for the obvious use, antibacterial wipes and antibacterial liquids to clean kitchen surfaces, shower and toilet cleaners and bunch of other chemicals that I just ceased to remember.

These all meant that not only we are stuffing our lungs with fumes and our bodies with super bugs (this is not clinically proven though), we were emptying our pockets from money and filling the premium space in our apartment, because as you all know apartments in the Melbourne city, especially in north Melbourne where we used to live are small and each square meter that you have free from stuff can help you breath and let the energy to flow (#Feng Shui).

This all back when I used to have a Facebook page[1], so when I was going through my Facebook page, I read a post that my friend had shared with me on uses of vinegar. I started to read the post and realised that there is more to this smelly water looking liquid that I thought before, AKA vinegar. That was an epiphany, I realised not only I can toss all the above mentioned cleaning products and replace them with white vinegar and water cocktail but also I can save tens of dollars month after month.

It took me a while to convert my husband as he was one of those sold to the idea of chemical cleans like no other. Although I have to agree nothing is strong as bleach but you have to decide whether you value your longs and skin more than spotless toilet or not. Plus if you clean surfaces regularly you will never need a strong bleaching action, believe me!

I mixed one part vinegar and five part water to clean surfaces, including but not limited to kitchen bench tops, stove, oven, bathroom surfaces, fridge, toilet and bath plus all mirrors and windows.

You might think, girl your house must reek of vinegar. My response is, HELL NO! The diluted vinegar does not have an overpowering smell and even the slight odour that might be sensed at the time of applying is not distinguishable after couple of minutes. Vinegar water is a perfect solution for almost all cleaning problems in the house. More on other usage of this miracle liquid in my future posts.

5. Microwavable popcorn

I am all up for good old popcorn with my favourite movie but please ditch the microwavable one, save money and packaging and buy a kilo of corns from a bulk store and pop them in a pot on your stove. You’ll thank me for it.

The argument for these microwavable popcorn can be the ease of use and the speed of preparation. But the difference between the price of this type of corn and the bulk one can easily turn the argument on its head.

6.Papers towels/tissues

Some paper towels can be used even multiple times but majority of them are disposed after only one use. In either case, using a simple rag can be your safe haven; you save money and the environment at one go.

You might use paper towels for other purposes, for all those you can utilise a more sustainable solution. For instance, make your own floor wipe with old clothing that are not useful anymore. Or design and sew your own cloth napkins instead of using disposable tissues.

7. Antibacterial Hand wash

Refer to the 6th thing to toss as the same reason applies here. These hand washes are defeating their purposes, causing resistant bacteria living among us and therefore using normal bar soap that can be bought in bulk to reduces packaging and waste is your way to go. In this way you eliminate bottles of hand wash, paying for expensive and often illusive products and still keeping hygienic household.

Another way to eliminate frequent shopping of bottled hand wash is to buy bulk. You can fill your liquid hand wash dispenser with a hand wash you bought in bulk to avoid packing but still have the ease of the use of liquid hand wash.

8. Body wash

I agree that we are increasingly using bunch of corporately produced and marketed chemicals and smear them all over our bodies’ everyday just to get by. These chemicals with their synthetic smells make us feel acceptable in the society and abandoning them seems too outrageous and even frowned upon in some communities. You have grown up believing these products make you clean like no other and nothing else can do the job. WRONG! Your body does not need them. Your body is meant to sweat to get rid of toxins and regulate its temperature. To keep the Body Odour (BO) at bay you only need to keep the bacteria away from your skin surface that feed on your sweat and create the BO. These bacteria are easily washed away with a simple body scrub (wool or cotton one, even the synthetic will do the job). As long as you clean your body with water on a daily basis you will not have BO problem and do not have to use chemical to clean or cover the smell of your body, i.e., with deodorants and so forth.

Take the challenge and go chemical free and give a couple of weeks to your body to adjust to its chemical free life (like a rehab period for your body), and you will save money and time and your sanity next time you shop.

We use bar of soap for as body wash if we feel the need to wash with something more than water and scrub. I also use Bicarb Soda to kill bacteria underarm to avoid BO. They work fine for both of us so far.

9. Antibacterial wipes

Antibacterial wipes can spread superbugs. Disinfectant wipes routinely used in hospitals may actually spread drug-resistant bacteria rather than kill the dangerous infections; most cases are associated with hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities. So if these wipes are defeating the sole purpose of their existence, it seems logical to get rid of them. Risking sound like a broken record, I suggest you use diluted vinegar spray and a simple rag to clean your surfaces. Especially surfaces in the kitchen that contact your foods are sensitive places that you don’t want to be covered in super-bugs. Water will clean most of the problems in the kitchen but to make sure all is clean acidity of diluted vinegar will do the job.

[1] I abstain from all social media, more on that in my future post