In today’s world, it seems like chemicals and toxins are everywhere we look. From beauty products to the food we eat, almost everything seems to contain additives that our bodies probably doesn’t need. When raising children, this worry can be especially bothersome, as no one wants to risk their child’s physical health with unnecessary byproducts. It’s important for us to understand what goes into their bodies, how it affects them, and weigh its risk and benefits. When it comes to deodorant and other personal care products, there are often many ingredients that affect the body in potentially adverse ways. For parents, kids, and anyone concerned with their physical condition, it’s worth knowing what these ingredients really are.
What’s In Personal Care Products?
Most personal care products, including deodorants, rely on a variety of additives to inhibit sweat, kill bacteria, and provide a more pleasing aroma. Preventing sweat not only inhibits kids’ bodies from performing one of their most basic natural functions, but it also blocks the release of toxins and bacteria that sweat would normally remove. Additionally, some chemicals are known to disrupt hormones, while others are known to have toxic effects overall. There are many unique substances that can be found in personal care products, which is why understanding them is crucial for understanding how they interact with our physical well being.
This chemical is a known endocrine disruptor and is also classified as a pesticide by the FDA. Its primary use is to kill bacteria by mimicking or interfering with hormone signals, which prevents the bacteria from fully developing. Since underarm odor is largely caused by bacteria, triclosan is a common ingredient in many forms of deodorant. It is, however, linked to several severe health conditions and environmental dangers. Though banned from antibacterial soap across the US and other products in certain states, it’s still found in many personal care items including deodorants.
Found in a variety of foods, cosmetics, and other personal care products, propylene glycol is toxic in high enough doses. In fact, it’s actually a quite strong skin irritant that’s capable of causing kidney damage, liver abnormalities, and even damage to the central nervous system. The use of propylene glycol is regulated, and most drugs are supposed to limit it to non-toxic doses, but many personal care products are known to use a relatively large amount. Over time, it can be particularly damaging to sensitive skin and potentially lead to worse health risks.
Many personal care products including deodorants, moisturizers, shampoos, lotions, cosmetics, and even feminine hygiene products use parabens as a preservative. Like triclosan, parabens are known to mimic hormones. In fact, they’re specifically known to mimic estrogen, which could complicate the body’s natural hormone balance. They also discourage the growth of microbes, which can further complicate the body’s natural processes.
A large variety of personal care products use phthalates as a fragrance enhancer. Basically, it helps make their odors last longer. What’s worth bearing in mind is that phthalates are not required to be explicitly labeled on products. Many personal care items simply use the word “fragrance,” which often includes the use of phthalates among other chemicals. Like triclosan, it’s also an endocrine disruptor, which has raised concerns about its effects on hormonal health. Studies have linked phthalates with onset puberty in girls, as well as to disruptions in the endocrine system in boys.
Butane & Isobutane
These gases are common in aerosol deodorants. Though useful as a propellant, they’re highly flammable and also known to pose significant health risks. Inhaling butane is especially dangerous, but trace amounts of it can be absorbed through the skin as well. Over time, exposure to these gases could lead to adverse health effects, particularly for kidneys and brain cells. Butane is banned from being used in cosmetics across Europe and is completely restricted in Canada, but it remains legal in the US.
Protecting Our Children’s Health
As mentioned above, it’s natural for parents to want the safest personal care products for their kids. Given that their bodies are still developing, they have the most to lose from the negative consequences of dangerous chemicals, particularly those that influence hormones. Fortunately, there are ways of limiting their exposure to such chemicals by paying close attention to the products they use. Once you know what to look for, it’s relatively easy to avoid ingredients that may cause problems. Remember to read labels thoroughly and keep an eye open for these ingredients:
- Fragrance – According to US law, companies are legally allowed to keep the ingredients of their products secret when labeled as “fragrance.” That means there are literally thousands of possible ingredients that could be hidden behind this one word. Products that take advantage of this legal loophole make it essentially impossible for us to know what they contain, though fortunately, some companies do choose to disclose their ingredients.
- Artificial Colors – The ingredients in most artificial colors are known, but you still won’t usually find them listed on labels. The issue with these is that they may contain allergens and some may even be made with carcinogens. You can usually look up specific ingredients for artificial colors online, but you may also prefer to avoid them altogether.
- Anything You Don’t Recognize – There are thousands upon thousands of chemicals used in our everyday products. Too many to be familiar with all of them. One option to avoid using hazardous chemicals unknowingly is to choose products that rely on pure, simple ingredients.
Natural, Chemical-Free Alternatives
Today, it’s a lot easier to find natural alternatives and there are plenty of options, such as soap, toothpaste, lotion and deodorant. At Tandem, we provide plant-based deodorants exclusively for kids. We’re a company that supports safe, chemical-free alternatives in a market over saturated with industrial chemicals. Our products are 100% cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, and most importantly, they smell great. You won’t find any parabens, aluminum, phthalates, or other industrial chemicals on our list of ingredients. We only use effective, plant-based substances that are non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin. Our selection includes a variety of natural scents for boys and girls, each with its own distinct aroma and character.