Did you know that naturally occurring bacteria on the skin, not sweat, is what creates the dreaded funkiness commonly known as BO? As children approach puberty, hormones cause an increase in sweating which then results in body odor. If your child’s body is changing and you notice this smell, is it safe for him or her to use deodorant?
Deodorants work by making the skin a more acidic, unfriendly environment for the bacteria. Non-natural commercial deodorants contain several ingredients that you would want to avoid. They include:
- Aluminum compounds (associated with Alzheimer’s) that can accumulate in the brain.
- Parabens, a class of preservatives that are being studied to determine if they play a role in breast cancer development.
- Propylene glycol, a neurotoxin that causes dermititis and kidney and liver damage.
Natural deodorants do not include any of the aforementioned ingredients, and will be a great starting place for kids. You might want to check out Crystal Body Deodorant, made of 100 percent natural mineral salts with no artificial coloring or ingredients, or Alba Clear Enzyme Deodorant Sticks, available in scented and unscented varieties.
Homemade deodorant solutions can be made using easily accessible ingredients such as witch hazel or baking soda. For easy do-it-yourself recipes, click here.
In addition to using a natural deodorant, washing with a soap that contains a pure, antibacterial essential oil in it such as lavender (Dr. Bronner’s is easily found in most health food stores) can help. Commercial antibacterial soaps contain triclosan, a compound that the EPA has registered as a pesticide. Avoid these.
Another help can be found by wearing breathable organic cotton fabrics which absorb sweat in a way synthetics don’t. They also do not contain the dangerous pesticides found in their non-organic counterparts.
If your child still has BO after these tips, ask their physician to check for possible reasons. Excessive sweating can indicate low calcium, but it can be a sign of other concerns too.
Finally, there is also a very real difference between deodorants and anti-perspirants. While deodorants neutralize odors, anti-perspirants actually block pores with aluminum salts, preventing sweating from occurring. To avoid those aluminum salts and interfering with the body’s natural cooling process, a natural deodorant is the way to go.
By Terri Hall-Jackson, Care2 Green Living contributing writer