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The Stinky Truth: What’s In Your Deodorant?

With October around the corner, breast cancer awareness month immediately comes to mind. It’s a sad fact that most of us have someone we love or know of someone that has been affected by cancer. The circle gets smaller with each passing day and the scary realization that cancer will continue to be a part of our future is daunting.

With this fear comes the topic of prevention. There are many conflicting studies and research that boast certain products and/or environmental factors make us more prone to cancer  and in result have many of us wondering, what should we do to be proactive?

This question is something I ask myself when I hear about new research or see first hand a miraculous recovery of someone who has battled the devastating disease.

While I try to keep a home clear of non-toxic products, follow a “clean” diet and incorporate antioxidants and regular exercise, there is still the question of what more can I be doing?

While I can’t answer that definitively, I can delve into something that has interested me for some time and is a hot topic on many of the cancer news circuits. Deodorant. Does it cause cancer and if so, what type is safe?

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First of all, if you haven’t heard the claims that deodorant is connected to cancer, there is significant research that supports its connection to breast cancer specifically.

What does deodorant have to do with breast cancer? Well it begins with what’s found inside most deodorants.

An active ingredient found in most brands of deodorant is an aluminum-based component. This component acts as a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. It’s great when trying to prevent unwanted body odor, not so great if you’re trying to prevent unnatural side affects to your body.

dsc_1841These “side affects” are what has many linking ingredients like these to cancer. Some studies suggest the regular use of these active ingredients on a sensitive area like the underarm (located near the breast) leave users susceptible to estrogen-like effects, or hormonal effects. Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists believe this may contribute to breast cancer.

Besides aluminum, there is another common component found in many deodorants that suggests a connection. Parabens. Parabens are a form of preservative used in many cosmetics, foods, and pharmaceutical products including, you guessed it, deodorant.

Aside from acting as a preservative, parabens mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells, which has raised concerns in the cancer community. In 2004 there was a study done that supported this connection to breast cancer when parabens were found in 18 to 20 samples of tissue from human breast tumors. While parabens have not been proven to directly cause cancer yet, there is strong evidence that it can contribute to cell build up (which is a major contributor to the spread of certain cancers).

The findings for me were enough to have me switch over to a natural non-aluminum, paraben-free deodorant a few years ago.

dsc_1842My Simply Fit does not focus solely on diet and exercise to live a simply fit life, rather a fit lifestyle which includes what products we use in our homes and on our bodies. I am a firm believer that it is just as important to look at what you are putting ON your body as what you’re putting in it. Our biggest organ, skin, absorbs and processes products just as much as our insides process the food we ingest.

The search to find a replacement for my baby powder-scented, popular-brand deodorant was a long process. I am very active and need something that can stand up to my activity level as well as provide me with that fresh scent that most natural deodorants just don’t deliver.

This is not a sponsored post, just my personal opinion on my journey to find a healthy alternative to common brand deodorants.

I tried various essential oil concoctions, tea tree oil based-sticks, lavender-infused mists-you name it. What always discouraged me were the texture, scent and short-term effectiveness of these “good for you” options. I thought it was impossible to find something that would give me the satisfaction that the chemical based ones did.

I finally came across La Vanila (found at Sephora) after a friend suggested it to me. It completely changed my perception of non-toxic, healthier versions of deodorant. For one, it looked different. Two, it smelled amazing. And three, it LASTED. While I like to re-apply after a strenuous activity or in the middle of a long day (regardless of the deodorant I’m using) La Vanila has been the only kind I’ve found that lasted me all day, has a pleasant texture/scent and does the trick with no nasty or controversial ingredients.

Everyone is different and I urge you to shop around and be confident that what you are putting on your body is safe and not contributing to any health concerns down the road. If you can’t pronounce it, think twice before purchasing it to consume regularly or apply daily.

dsc_1852Breast cancer awareness month is all about knowledge, support, and prevention. Three things you can do today to protect you and those you love against this horrific epidemic are:

Screening-do regular self-exams as well as medical screenings as recommended by your doctor

Knowledge-keep yourself in the know about current findings and up to date research on cancer, science is continual and always changing, never stop educating yourself

Prevention-do what you can to lead a healthier existence, decrease harmful toxins in your home and in/on your body by using more natural non-toxic alternatives

Spread the word, keep yourself informed and don’t leave what you can change or do today for tomorrow.

As a sign of support for breast cancer research this month I will be doing a plank-a-thon. This is something I’ve created as a way to pledge and contribute to the cause this month. I will attempt to hold a plank for as long as I can each day in October and donate $4/per minute (because 4 is my favorite #!) to breast cancer research. At work we wear pink on Wednesdays to show our support! What can you do this month? Join a walk, volunteer your time or grab a friend and get your screening this October!

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Side-plank to kick off the October plank-a-thon

Follow along on Snapchat and/or Instagram username: mysimplyfit as I document my plank each day for the month of October!

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Regular plank to kick-off October plank-a-thon

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Forearm plank to kick of October plank-a-thon

What do you know about cancer prevention? I would love to hear from you!

I wish you health and wellness as we head into October,

❤ Megan

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