Podcast Episode #24: Natural Deodorant
Alyssa: Hello, welcome to another episode of Ask the Doulas. I am Alyssa Veneklase, co-owner and postpartum doula, and today we’re talking with Cindy from Cindy’s Suds again.
Cindy: Hey, how are you?
Alyssa: Hello, good. Good to see you on this beautiful spring day.
Cindy: Yes, for sure.
Alyssa: So today we’re going to talk about your deodorant, and that comes up because as women become pregnant or even sometimes when we’re trying to conceive, we start to really think about what we’re putting in and on our body, and one of those things we question is deodorant. Especially because we’re so worried about breast cancer, and you think about the fact that we’re shaving our armpits, and then we’re rubbing deodorant into this freshly shaved skin, which is right next to our breasts with all these lymph nodes, so it can be a scary thing. And it’s kind of good timing to talk about this because you just rolled out a couple new deodorants. So I want to talk a little bit about deodorant in general. What’s the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant, and what’s in yours that others don’t have?
Cindy: Sure. Well, first of all, I think it’s kind of – everyone talks about their deodorant, and I think a lot of people are assuming that it’s deodorant, but it may actually be an antiperspirant. So the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant is essentially aluminum. So aluminum is something that is used in regular antiperspirant that you would just pick up on the shelf in any store that you go to, and it’s great because aluminum stops wetness, which is what we all think we want. We think we want to not sweat; we think we want to prevent any sweat from being seen, and we also think that preventing the sweat will prevent the smell, and sometimes it does, but what also has kind of come to light recently is that your body really needs to sweat. We’re made to sweat; we need to release the salt and toxins.
Alyssa: Your body does things for a reason!
Cindy: It does things for a reason! You and I go back to that over and over; it does that for a reason. So while it does prevent wetness and maybe odor under the arms, what is being blocked because of that? It’s to a detriment now that we are blocking that area from sweating. So they’re finding – more and more research has been done finding that aluminum is definitely linked to breast cancer and also to Alzheimer’s, so those are two really big health concerns. If you don’t know somebody with breast cancer, you may know somebody with Alzheimer’s. You could have both in your family, and we also know that aluminum is a cumulative type of metal that builds up in your system and in your neurological system, specifically, and in your tissues, like your lymph tissues, so it’s not like you use it and it gets flushed out. No, you use it and it builds up. And it builds and it builds, and so when we start using antiperspirant when we’re 10, 11 years old, and if we use that till we’re 70, 80, we have a lifetime of metal that’s building up in our system, and so that is where researchers are now starting to see, oh, wow, there’s a direct correlation now, and so now they’re trying to come up with some alternatives. And one thing that you can do is to just use a deodorant vs. an antiperspirant, and so that’s kind of where my soapbox is. I’m trying to get people to realize that you can eliminate the need for an antiperspirant by using a really good natural deodorant. Now, having said that, I know you personally have tried many deodorants and have had many deodorant fails, so tell us a little bit about that.
Alyssa: Yeah, you know, I think, too, when I became pregnant, you start thinking about this stuff. And I’ve tried here and there – nothing ever seemed to work. You still sweat. And I knew it; like, I wasn’t using an antiperspirant, so I was still going to perspire. It’s the odor that gets me.
Cindy: I don’t want to smell.
Alyssa: Yeah, so the difference, I think, with mine is that – so when I worked in an office, I was up every day. I showered every day. Now that I own my own business and I work either from home or from my office, and maybe I’ve just gotten lazier, I don’t shower every day.
Cindy: Me either! And it’s not good for you to shower every day!
Alyssa: Yeah, and that’s true, too. My skin feels better. My hair feels better.
Cindy: Well, think about it. I don’t know – I mean, I’m older than you are, but growing up, people showered or took a bath once a week, and that was just kind of what you did.
Alyssa: I took a shower every day as a kid, and I’m sure I didn’t need to.
Cindy: I did. Starting around middle school, I think, is when I started showering all the time, but little kids, you know. And even my mom. She took a bath twice a week and that was her routine because that was the routine of her parents. So we’ve kind of evolved from taking showers or baths once or twice a week to, “You’ve got to shower every day,” and it just strips your body from oils. But that’s a whole other rabbit trail.
Alyssa: So I was wondering then if I was still showering every day, would a deodorant work better for me because I’d be showering every day? I didn’t know if I was getting stinky because I just wasn’t showering every day and I was not using an antiperspirant, and it’s not like – when I say stinky, it’s almost like a musk, right? Every once in a while, I would get a whiff of myself and be like, oh, was that me? Okay, I better shower tonight! And my husband was kind enough – I asked him, “Have I been stinky lately?” And he’s like, “Yeah….” This was just recently. So I’m like, okay, maybe I should start using a regular deodorant or showering more, but I don’t want to shower every day. I really don’t have the time, and my skin just feels better when I don’t. But I also don’t want to be stinky. So my compromise lately has been I use a regular deodorant when I have an event or I’m speaking in front of a crowd.
Cindy: Now, when you say “regular deodorant,” are you talking about an antiperspirant?
Alyssa: Oh, sorry. Yep, I’ll use an antiperspirant, depending on what I have to do. I don’t want to be standing up in front of people speaking with wet pits. So those days I’ll use an antiperspirant, and then days that I know I’m just going to be working or around the house or with my daughter or on the weekends when I don’t have anything important to do, I can just use a natural deodorant.
Cindy: Yeah. And now, for me, I’ve been using natural deodorants for about five years or so, but it has taken FOREVER to find one that actually works and I think that’s a frustration with so many of us because they’re not cheap. They’re $12, $15 a pop.
Alyssa: I have, like, five of them in my drawer.
Cindy: I know. I have gone through – I’ve done the same thing. So I totally get it. It’s expensive, and it’s a commitment to try yet another natural deodorant. What sets us apart is that yes, you’re still going to sweat, but what we have in ours is actually kind of the powerhouse in preventing odor, and it’s the addition of probiotics. So while probiotics are so good for your gut and colonizing the good bacteria so that your body is healthier, your immune system is healthier, we use that same science and we apply it under the armpit. So we’re actually putting good bacteria under your armpit, so if we’re populating that area with the good bacteria that’s supposed to be on your skin, it’s going to help to eliminate or at least put into better balance the bad bacteria because it’s not that the sweat swells. It’s that the stinky bacteria smells. And so it’s not just the dampness. Sweat doesn’t have an actual smell to it; it’s just salt. That’s all sweat is. But once you get that bad bacteria there that happens with dark and dampness, that’s how you get that bad bacteria populating, so we have probiotics in our deodorant to counteract those bad bacteria, get those good bacteria thriving under your armpit, and that is what eliminates the odor. It’s not the wetness. It’s the bacteria count, good vs. bad.
Alyssa: So you’d have to use that every day for a while to get that good bacteria built up?
Cindy: Yes. So it’s kind of one of those things now – each person’s body chemistry is different, and our body chemistry is constantly changing. Pregnancy, nursing, time of the month with your periods – you’re constantly up and down with your body chemistry and pH, so it may take a little while, a couple weeks, maybe a little bit longer, for your body to truly adjust. Now, some people, it takes even longer than that. Some people can switch over to a natural deodorant, and the next day, they’re like, “Wow, I smell great.” That’s usually not the norm. Most of us go through kind of like a wash out, detox. But I just know that with what we have, it works, and I’m just so thankful that we have a product that works that you can use and feel comfortable about. I know your population of clients typically are new moms, moms who are pregnant, obviously moms who are having babies, and you may not think about deodorant so much, but I had a customer actually specifically email me and say, “The reason why I’m so bent on using a natural deodorant is because I have my baby’s head right next to my armpit when I’m cuddling my baby or nursing my baby.” She wanted to make sure her baby was not exposed to the chemicals in an antiperspirant. And so it was very important to her to have a natural deodorant in that spot where her baby is resting its head, its hands, its mouth. So she was just really adamant about using our deodorant for that reason, which was eye-opening to me because I didn’t really think about the fact that a new mom may really actively try to find a deodorant that is natural because baby’s right there, right next to the breast, right next to the armpit.
Alyssa: Yeah, I would have never thought of it, either. You think about lotions because you’re doing skin to skin, but yeah. Your armpit’s pretty darn close when you’re nursing.
Cindy: Yeah, so close. So that was kind of an eye-opener to me when she said that, too.
Alyssa: Well, I have some of your deodorants. You’re saying I need to try it a little bit longer and not just one time?
Cindy: Right, yeah, because it is a body chemistry thing, and your body chemistry is changing constantly. But nine times out of ten, you will get to the point where a natural deodorant is actually working well for you. We have two different formulas which is also kind of interesting because our standard formula uses baking soda which is great for odor control and a host of other awesome things. However, some people have a baking soda sensitivity, and I’m actually one of them which is crazy because this is my deodorant. So for the longest time, I could not use my deodorant because it would give me a rash in my armpit. And it hurt and it just looked very unsightly. It was itchy; it was red, and it was caused by the baking soda. Now, a lot of people actually have a baking soda sensitivity. I wouldn’t say a lot; a significant amount, maybe 10-15% of the population have a baking soda sensitivity, but you’re not going to know it until you actually are using a natural deodorant for a while, and sometimes it just pops up, just like I said with body chemistry always changing. You could use a baking soda formula for years and all of a sudden get pregnant, have a weird period, have a hormonal change of some kind, and now all of a sudden you could throw yourself into a sensitivity with baking soda. We have an alternative, which is our baking soda-free deodorant, and that uses magnesium instead of baking soda. And the great thing with magnesium –
Alyssa: We’re all deficient!
Cindy: Right! I was just going to say that! So here you’ve got aluminum on one side with the antiperspirant group, and we’ve got baking soda which is our regular, stronger formula, and for our sensitive people, that magnesium, but magnesium’s also a really great odor-controller. People have actually used milk of magnesia under their armpits. It’s just sloppy and kind of sticky if you just do that, but it’s that same active ingredient. It’s just a really great natural deodorant and deodorizer, and so we use the magnesium hydroxide in our baking soda-free formula, so we have you covered on either side of your body chemistry sensitivity.
Cindy: Yeah. And another interesting thing, by personal experience – okay, so I couldn’t use our deodorant for a while because of my baking soda sensitivity; switched over to our baking-soda free version for six months, maybe, and now I can use the regular baking soda again. So who knows if my chemistry was just wonky for a few months, but it’s possible to kind of go back and forth in that continuum because like all things, our bodies are constantly changing, and our body chemistry is constantly changing. So don’t throw it away, if you have a deodorant that works but you’re maybe getting some baking soda issues. Do baking soda-free for a while, and see if you can go back and use it six months later, nine months later.
Alyssa: Maybe just once your body has detoxed.
Cindy: That could be it, too, and each person is so different. So that’s kind of a cool thing, so we do have you covered on all angles on deodorant, whether you can tolerate baking soda – great, we’ve got three awesome scents. We’ve got our bergamot citrus.
Alyssa: My favorite!
Cindy: I know! Lavender calendula, and then an unscented, and then we have our baking-soda free, which we call our sensitive skin formula, and that will always be unscented just because we’re trying to eliminate anything that you could be sensitive to.
Alyssa: Yeah. So for those of us who – I would definitely need to try to be a little bit more diligent –
Cindy: And more consistent because the thing is when you use an antiperspirant, all of your sweat is being blocked, and so you’re not allowing anything to really come through and to release, so if you’re going back and forth between blocking it all and releasing some of it, blocking it all and releasing it, your body doesn’t really know how to adjust, and so there’s typically an adjustment period when you go from an antiperspirant to a natural deodorant, and even if you were a heavy sweater beforehand, you may find that you significantly change as far as how much you sweat after you use a natural deodorant for a while because your body is no longer fighting itself to try to rid itself of toxins. It realizes, okay, I can have a normal amount of sweat and get out this amount of salt and toxins normally without trying to fight against this blockage that we’ve artificially created with that aluminum antiperspirant.
Alyssa: So I’m thinking – you know, my daughter’s only five, but when she starts going through puberty, what would that look like, starting her on a natural deodorant? Her body should just kind of be able to regulate itself from the get-go, right?
Cindy: Exactly, yeah, and teenagers tend to be – because their hormones are so in flux, it may have a little bit of an adjustment, but because they’re starting out right from the get-go without kind of fighting against this artificial blockage that we’re creating, in theory, that should make it a smoother transition because their bodies are learning how to sweat normally from the beginning instead of fighting against this barrier that we’ve created. And also just think of the years that you’re saving her from that constant aluminum build-up. So starting out teenagers and preteens right off the bat, giving them only this as an option – so your options are, scent A, B, or C; what do you want to use, vs. this plethora of all these antiperspirants over the counter. You’ve really got them started on the right foot, and it’s just one more way that you’re helping to keep chemicals out of their body and hopefully give our kids a healthier start than we all had, using all these conventional products when we were growing up.
Alyssa: Absolutely. I think, if only I had known! There’s so many things; every time we talk, it’s like, oh, if I would have only known this in my teens!
Cindy: I know, so true! But we only know what we know. So we can’t beat ourselves up for it, and we can now take the information that we have and use it for our families and our children and our friends and especially if you know anybody who’s a breast cancer survivor or anybody who has cancer in general, you want to just really shout out this aluminum-free option as much as you can because you want to try to get – you want to strip everything away that is a potential cancer irritant or that could potentially create any more problems with cancer in their system.
Alyssa: Yes. So tell people where do they find your deodorant?
Cindy: We only sell our deodorant online, so you can only get it at www.cindyssuds.com. The rest of our products typically are carried around the greater Grand Rapids area and Harvest Health and Kingma’s and a lot of other boutique stores, but our deodorant – we sell a handful of things just online, and our deodorant is one of them, so www.cindyssuds.com is where you find it.
Alyssa: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. I will definitely, starting tomorrow, when I take my shower, use your deodorant tomorrow!
Cindy: Yes, yes! And let me know – give us an update!
Alyssa: I will, I will. Thanks for listening, everybody. If you have questions for Cindy, you can email her or look on her website, and you can always email us at email@example.com. Check out our website, www.goldcoastdoulas.com. Find us on Facebook and Instagram, and remember to give us a rating on iTunes or SoundCloud, wherever you listen. Thanks, we’ll talk to Cindy again next time!
Cindy: Thank you!