Monday, October 22, 2012

Breast Cancer Prevention Month: Is your Deodorant causing Breast Cancer?

Continuing on with Breast Cancer Prevention Month, today I’d like to talk about the relationship between deodorant and breast cancer. Studies have yielded mixed results regarding a correlation between the use of deodorant and increased incidence of breast cancer, however; I feel that it’s a topic worth talking about.

What Makes Deodorant so Toxic
The main active ingredient in antiperspirants is aluminum, usually in the form of aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium. Aluminum is very soluble and easily absorbed into the body where it ionizes and becomes a free radicle. The ion then enters the cell and becomes a plug, stopping perspiration.  Sweating is a natural process that, not only helps to regulate body temperature, but also helps to release toxins from the body. If waste products are not able to be excreted through the action of sweating then there is a buildup of toxins in the tissue and in the lymph nodes. High concentrations of toxins cause the surrounding tissues and glands to become overly acidic which is linked to the cell mutations that can cause cancer.
Aside from causing toxins to build up in the tissue and having a known genotoxic effect (known to damage DNA), aluminum based compounds (the main ingredient in deodorants) and the fragrances in antiperspirants have an estrogenic effect making them a Xenoestrogen. By causing Estrogen Dominance, xenoestrogens are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Xenoestrogen that are absorbed through the skin are 10 times more dangerous than ones that are ingested and processed through the liver. Topical Xenoestrogens are absorbed directly into the tissue and by using deodorant we are placing xenoestrogens almost directly on breast tissue.
Using Deodorant can Increase your Risk of Breast Cancer
The National Cancer Institute, and many other cancer foundations, states there is no conclusive evidence to show that antiperspirants are linked to breast cancer. Although the findings are mixed, there are many studies being done regarding the topic. Most of the information linking deodorant use to breast cancer is based upon information about parabens, the most widely used preservative in cosmetic and personal care products and a known xenoestrogen. One study showed that 18 out of 20 breast tumors contained parabens but the study failed to show that the parabens are what was causing the breast tumors. But all this talk of parabens is a moot point considering that most deodorants do not contain parabens.
One study of women with breast cancer showed that the sooner in youth that a woman started using antiperspirants, the more she used it and the more frequently she shaver her armpit, the earlier in life she was diagnosed with breast cancer. What’s scary about this is that children are beginning to wear deodorant at younger ages and the buildup of toxins in the breasts can also be exacerbated by Wearing a Bra.
Alternatives to Common Deodorant
There are many products that you can try as alternatives to aluminum containing deodorants and antiperspirants but it is important to realize that sweating is a natural and necessary process. Most of the natural alternatives can help with the odor but don’t hinder your natural elimination processes.
  • Diet and BO: Body odor is a reflection of the toxins that have built up in the body. If you don’t put toxins in your body then the toxins won’t have to come out of your body. By eliminating processed and refined foods and increasing consumption of fruits, veggies, leafy greens and nuts and seeds, you can help to cleanse the body and keep body odor at bay. You also want to make sure your other elimination pathways are functioning properly (i.e. urination, defecation and exhalation). If one of these pathways is not functioning properly, especially if you’re Constipated, the body releases more toxins via other pathways, especially through the skin, causing body odor and acne.  
  • All Natural Deodorants: At most health food stores you can find a number of natural deodorants. Make sure that the product you choose doesn’t contain any form of aluminum. Even the crystal stones that are said to be a better alternative to typical deodorant contain a form of aluminum. The aluminum molecule that the stones contain isn’t supposed to be able to enter the cell because the molecule is too large; however, I prefer not to take the risk and use only product that contain no aluminum.  
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda makes a great and very inexpensive deodorant. Mix 1/8th tsp of baking soda with a little water (not too much water as to dissolve the baking soda) and rub the mixture under your armpits. You can also mix 1 part baking soda with 6 parts cornstarch and dust your pits with it to help prevent odor and wetness.
  • Lemon Juice: Rubbing your armpits with a lemon wedge helps to kill off the odor causing bacteria. Be careful if you have recently shaved as it can burn.
  • DIY Deodorant: There are plenty of DIY recipes for deodorant on the web. Try making your own deodorant. Let us know what works for you.
Overall, I don’t understand how the cancer industry can say that typical antiperspirants don’t increase an individual’s risk of breast cancer. Not only do they cause a buildup of toxins in the tissues that can cause cell mutations and breast cancer, but the aluminum and fragrances they contain are xenoestrogens. Antiperspirants may not be the cause of breast cancer but they certainly aren’t helping it. So why take the chance?
Weed, S. S. (1996). Breast cancer? Breast health!: the wise woman way. Woodstock, N.Y.: Ash Tree Pub.


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