Deodorants that Stink (for our Health).

October being National Breast Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to write about something that most of us don’t normally think about but that can play an important factor in our risk of breast cancer.  The application of deodorant or antiperspirant is so imbedded into our daily morning grooming routine that most of us don’t think twice about it – we just roll it on and go about our day.  Research suggests that we should start paying attention!

Antiperspirants work by preventing sweat production by blocking our sweat ducts.  Aside from inhibiting our body’s natural cooling system, the main problem lies in the ingredient list of most conventional antiperspirants on the market.  Aluminum is a common ingredient in most products that may enter the bloodstream and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells.  Estrogen can promote the growth of cancer cells in the breast tissue.  Studies on Aluminum in the bloodstream also suggest it plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease as well as other neurodegenerative disorders.

Another common ingredient is talc that is a lung irritant and also a possible carcinogen.  (Talc was also a common ingredient in baby powder until recently.  A much safer alternative to use on our babies are powders made from corn starch).  Parabans are another ingredient you want to steer clear of (in your deodorant and other products like shampoo and body washes) because they are also absorbed by the skin and can have weak estrogen-like properties.
We all (or at least the majority of us) need to wear something under our arms to avoid the unsightly sweat marks and odors.  What you should be looking for is a natural deodorant/antiperspirant.  Look for a glycerin or glyceryl laurate -based product that allows your body to perspire, but blocks the odor-causing bacteria from forming.  Witch hazel extract is another safe bacteria-fighting ingredient as are crystal deodorants that are made from mineral salts.  Natural essential oils that can help mask odor include lavender, rosemary, lemon & tea tree oil.

Many of us have become conscious of what we put in our mouths – organic fruits and vegetables, antibiotic and hormone-free meats and dairy, etc.  What we now need to start doing is being more cognizant of the products we are applying to our skin (the largest organ in our body) because chemicals are being absorbed into the bloodstream and can have negative effects on our health and well-being.

Source: Remedies for Life, October 2011 issue, by Lisa Fabian.

About Jenna Ferraiolo

Jenna is a CA state licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and a nationally certified Diplomat of Oriental Medicine (Dipl. O.M.). She graduated Summa Cum Laude with her bachelor's in Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation/Exercise Science from Ithaca College in New York. After graduation Jenna worked as a Medical Assistant in a Cardiology practice in Hartford, CT. Looking for a more integrative approach to health care, she then went on to obtain her Masters from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM). During her time at PCOM, she worked with HIV/AIDS patients at UCSD’s Owen Clinic and also with NCAA athletes at the UCSD campus. In 2006 she had the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China to study in several area hospitals with Traditional Chinese Medical Doctors. In 2008, Jenna had another amazing opportunity and was able to travel to Uganda to volunteer with the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project. While there, she trained both Traditional health care workers and hospital nurses on how to utilize Acupuncture to help treat the symptomology of HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. She also traveled to refugee camps at the southern border of Uganda to treat refugees from several neighboring African countries. Immediately after graduation, Jenna worked with Neuro Acupuncture Associates in Carlsbad, CA inside of an internationally-renowned, non-profit Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation center for 2 years. In December 2010, she moved to Northern California and co-founded Earth and Air Wellness in Walnut Creek. Jenna is committed to educating her clients on the many benefits of using natural methods to obtain optimal health. In all aspects of her life, she tries to live by example by eating a nutritious, well-rounded organic diet and getting regular exercise including yoga. Since having her first child in 2010 and seeing the positive impact it has had on her daughter, she has gained an interest in treating pediatric patients with TCM.
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