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Antiperspirants

Following a clean diet is obviously very important when it comes to maintaining good health.  What you put in your mouth directly impacts every cell in your body and can either increase your energy and vitality or lead you on a path to disease and obesity.  Most people, whether they follow a healthy diet or not, understand this concept, but what about the products you put on your skin?  What people may not realize is that any skin care product you use gets absorbed directly into your blood stream within 10 seconds.  What’s worse is that there is no filter like your digestive system to weed out what should or shouldn’t go into your blood, everything is absorbed!  When you look at it this way, what you are putting on your skin is even more important than what you’re putting in your mouth. 

One very common product that gets used on a daily basis by most people is antiperspirant.  It has been the topic of a lot of research in recent years due to the questionable chemicals it contains and the mechanism by which it works.  There are claims suggesting that it is the cause of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s, although these have not been proven to be true just yet, it is still a scary thought.  

Aluminum, the active ingredient in antiperspirant, blocks sweat ducts and prevents the body from purging toxins.  It does this by forming a chemical reaction with water from the sweat to create a plug that gets deposited into the sweat duct.  Sweating is a key way that the body cleanses itself and regulates temperature.  By not allowing this to happen you are disrupting your body’s natural heat-regulation system and polluting your body with unwanted toxins.

The link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s has been made based on autopsy findings revealing that aluminum levels are increased in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients compared to those without the disease.  Aluminum accumulation in the brain has been shown to cause neurological disorders both short-term and long-term. 

Aluminum is in many other products that we use on a daily basis as well, including containers, appliances, cooking utensils, pots and pans, ceramics, astringents, antacids and food additives.  It is even used in the process of water purification and can leach its way into our drinking water.  Through all of these sources, we are being exposed to an extreme amount of aluminum every day.  However, aluminum is not readily absorbed through the gastrointestinal system.  In fact, only about 0.1% of dietary intake of aluminum is actually absorbed into the bloodstream.  This further supports the evidence that aluminum being absorbed through the skin is much more dangerous to the body and can make its way into the brain a lot faster than by any of the above mentioned sources.

Studies came to the conclusion that antiperspirant is linked to breast cancer because most cases of cancer develop in the upper outer part of the breast closest to the armpit.  They suggest that the chemicals in antiperspirants get absorbed into the skin and interact with cells causing changes in their DNA.  The chemicals also disrupt the regular action of estrogen, which increases growth of breast cancer cells.  Furthermore, aluminum compounds contain estrogen-like properties which can further proliferate the growth of breast cancer cells.  An interesting fact to note as well is that most breast cancer cases begin in the left breast.  It has been speculated that this is due to the high occurrence of right-handed people putting more antiperspirant onto their left arm pit.

Even if there is not conclusive evidence to date confirming antiperspirants are to blame for breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, wouldn’t it be wise to avoid anything that may be a potential cause anyway?  Besides, there are way too many products that make it to the shelves deemed safe because of poor testing that are later removed when they are eventually proven hazardous years later after it’s too late.  

Instead of using antiperspirants, swap them out for a natural deodorant instead.  This will likely take some trial and error until you find one that works for you.  There are plenty of options including sprays, crystals, sticks and roll-ons.  Natural fragrances such as rose and sage are anti-bacterial and neutralize bacteria that lead to odour.  The most important thing is to read the labels and avoid using any ones that contain ingredients you can’t pronounce.    

By: Megan McDonald CNP

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