Many commercial antiperspirants – deodorants that inhibit the production of sweat by blocking the sweat-producing glands in your armpits – have come under fire recently for their possibly carcinogenic effects.
While there is some controversy about these effects – some studies claim that a conclusive relationship between breast cancer and underarm antiperspirants can’t be proven, while others have shown that diagnosis in breast cancer survivors statistically happened much earlier in regular users of antiperspirant – what is clear is that we live around and interact with many potential carcinogens every day(1).
Recent studies have called for more research into the potential carcinogenic effects of underarm antiperspirants(2) with many individuals having chosen to give up antiperspirants altogether, deciding that they’re ultimately not worth the potential increased risk.
Whether or not aluminium-containing antiperspirants cause cancer, holistic, all-natural alternatives to commercial antiperspirants aren’t hard to come by. And who can fault people who choose to forgo commercial antiperspirants for homemade alternatives for deciding to reduce their risk of exposure to carcinogens wherever they can?
Fortunately, homemade deodorant is also easy to manufacture in your own kitchen, from various all-natural ingredients.
Homemade Coconut Oil Deodorant
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- 10 tbsp organic coconut oil
- 5 tbsp aluminium-free baking soda
- 5 tbsp arrow root powder
Optional: Add 10-15 drops essential oil (scent of your choice)
Mix the baking soda and arrowroot powder, then add the coconut oil and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until it is roughly the same consistency and texture as commercial deodorant.
Because the recipe uses coconut oil, make sure to store it in a small glass jar. If you put it in an empty deodorant container it can leak from the bottom and make a gooey mess. Remember, coconut oil liquifies at 24 °C (76 °F).
To apply, simply take a small amount and rub it together with your hands to soften it and then rub it into your underarms like a lotion.
How It Works
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical compound often used in cooking. It has a slightly salty, alkaline taste. It is also commonly used as a household deodorizer, neutralizing odours from rotten food, pets, and other household contaminants. It’s odor-neutralizing powers come from it’s alkaline nature, which attacks odours from strongly acidic particles, neutralizing them and making them less acidic.
Arrowroot powder has been shown to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria on feet(3), with no adverse side effects; it stands to reason that the same principle can be applied when it comes to odour- causing bacteria in the armpit. While antiperspirants block the sweat glands using aluminium salts, a natural deodorant made of arrowroot and baking soda allows the sweat glands to naturally produce sweat while neutralizing the odour.
Coconut oil has many benefits for your skin, but it’s primary purpose in this recipe is to act as a anti-bacterial and moisturizer(4). While many antiperspirants and deodorants work by drying out the skin under your arms, this can irritate the skin but coconut oil doesn’t have that effect.