The Deodorant Debate

The Deodorant Debate

Ever wonder why brides carry and wear flowers on their wedding day?  It seems to be a tradition that dates back centuries.  Coupled with symbolism and emotional significance, bouquets were used to ward off not only evil spirits, but also bad body odour!

Thankfully the cosmetic industry has come a long way since then in the field of deodorising, but have we gone too far?  Just like a headache or fever, the way we smell can offer significant insight to a state of health, or lack thereof, in our bodies.

A holistic view always looks to remedy the cause of the condition, rather than applying the ‘band aid’ solution to the symptom.  So why do so many of us accept and mask the way we smell with an antiperspirant deodorant?

I’m fairly laid back when it comes to my appearance, especially when you consider how many years I’ve spent working in the entertainment industry, but I’m definitely most comfortable when I’m fresh, clean, have a clear complexion and smell good.

Nowadays many of us are fortunate enough to be able to achieve this with ease by living a healthy lifestyle (drinking plenty of clean water, eating fresh food, exercising regularly, wearing natural fibres and minimising chemical absorption/ingestion etc.).

Sweat occurs all over the body and serves multiple functions, but what I’m looking at here is the role of underarm sweat for the purpose of elimination and its direct relationship to deodorant.

Controversy over whether or not breast cancer is linked to the use of antiperspirant deodorant is still being debated.  This suggested link (which has yet to be accepted or proven across the board) exists largely because of the chemical content of antiperspirant deodorants; and also due to the close proximity of application to/function of the lymph nodes in and around our armpits.

The lymph system in humans works by picking up foreign/unhealthy debris in the circulatory system and sending it to the lymph nodes for processing and elimination.  Because one means of elimination is via sweat, common concern lies in the uncertainty of what happens to all that unhealthy debris if the underarm channel for elimination is blocked with an antiperspirant deodorant.  Where does it go?  Sitting in such close proximity to the sensitive breast tissue (of both men and women) certainly raises cause for concern.

Personally, I prefer not to buy into the conspiracy/big business theories that surround any topic, but rather look at both sides of an argument in direct relation to my own situation, and attempt to reach an unbiased, educated conclusion from there.  Here’s the one I’ve reached with deodorant – there are situations where it is useful to have dry underarms, but it is neither necessary to remain this way 24/7, nor to use the same form of deodorising every day.

In true holistic fashion, the answer is different for everyone.

So if you’re attached to your antiperspirant deodorant but seek to find harmony in balance, then my advice is to apply your products with awareness of what they contain and how they affect your body, so that you may choose the most appropriate product for you, and for the particular situations you generally find yourself in.

Look at the routine that makes up your average day; your average week.  If there are times where you need to have dry underarms, and you wish to continue wearing antiperspirant deodorant, then do so.  But consider the times where your surroundings are more relaxed, such as time off work.  If it isn’t imperative that you stay bone dry, then trial giving your sweat glands some breathing space.

If those times seem few and far between for you, work said ‘breathing time’ into an exercise routine, such as:

  1. Remove the film of your antiperspirant deodorant with soap and a wash cloth (remember that being antiperspirant by nature, simple water alone won’t remove it well).
  2. Apply a natural deodorant if desired OR just leave your skin bare all together – remember that when you’re exercising, you’re supposed to sweat.  It’s a natural process and is healthy for you.
  3. Work up a sweat!  Go for a brisk walk or run, ride a bike, swim some laps, dance like a maniac for 20 solid minutes around your living room – whatever your desire, just let your body enjoy the freedom of clear, open channels while you exercise.
  4. Shower when you’re finished to wash away all the toxins.
  5. Rehydrate by drinking plenty of water.
  6. Re-apply your choice of deodorant (if any) that suits your following tasks after that.

Independent to exercise, if you only need antiperspirant deodorant for work, then get into a routine of removing it thoroughly as soon as you get home so that your skin has more time with clear, open pores than not.

Additionally, remember that you don’t need to stick with just the one deodorant.  I’ve tried countless deodorants over the years and now have a happy wee stash of different options ready at my disposal.

The main four that I use include one chemical filled antiperspirant stick for any mainstream stage shows I get the privilege to perform in (I put it on when I apply my make-up and remove both straight after the show); a roll on deodorant made up of natural, organic compounds that I wear for everyday work; and a crystal stick that I apply on my days off (not because it doesn’t work, but because it takes longer to dry and I prefer a quick drying option for work days) and an essential oil pump spray that I keep in my car for any last-minute spritzers I desire after a bout of impromptu tree climbing or ocean dipping has left me slightly dishevelled.

Aware and in tune with my body, I can always tell when it needs some aromatic assistance long before anyone else can; and I fix it.  But on most days, I sweat mildly when demand of some sort is placed on my body, and the smell that emits from me is that of whichever natural deodorant I’ve applied, not unpleasant body odour.

Many women get complimented on their perfume.  Every time I get asked what I’m wearing that smells so good, it’s a pleasure to respond with “it’s my deodorant”… incidentally, it happens most often when I’m wearing my crystal deodorant, the kind of deodorant that people seem to have the least faith in.

I hear many people declare that they’ve ‘tried natural deodorant and it just doesn’t work’.  Now if a product doesn’t work for you, then I absolutely do not advocate your continued use of it.  However, if you found a ‘mainstream’ deodorant that didn’t work, would you simply stop using deodorant all together?  Or would you keep searching for the right brand for you?

If one deodorant, or any product for that matter, worked for all people, then there would be no competition, ever, but simply ‘The Deodorant’ that everyone bought, used & loved for all time.

An amusing notion, yet such a large portion of the western population will group all natural products and therapies in the ‘not effective’ group after just one bad experience.

I encourage you, for your own health, to remove any mental blinkers you may have applied along your journey that group any such products or therapies into a set category, so that a world of goodness may open up to you.

Author: Adrienne Megan Lester.


Photographer: Dmitriy Evdokimov. Dancer: Kylie Chappell.

1 Comment

  • Reply September 29, 2014


    Be safe and go for an all-natural brand like Lavilin. It’s honestly the best one out there in my experience.

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