Switching to an All-Natural Deodorant Stone
This is the eleventh change in my month-long pledge to give up plastics for Crunchy's Extreme Eco-Throwdown.
Yeah. Does the idea of a "natural deodorant crystal" just make you think of miracle supplements to enhance breast size and other quack remedies? Me too. In fact, I was so sure I was throwing money down the drain when I ordered my Thai Deodorant Stone that I also purchased a new Degree antiperspirant / deodorant stick the same week. Call it a leap of non-faith, if you will, but I wasn't ready to risk stinking all week long.
The stone arrived last Wednesday and I was all excited to try it out. So, of course, bright and early Thursday morning I forgot I had it and used my regular stick instead. Ooops. Well, I remembered to put it on Friday morning and gave it a full workout. We were heading out camping for the weekend and since hubby was working all day, that meant I had to pack everything up and load it all in the minivan, all while keeping the children amused and cleaning the house. Does anyone else out there HATE to come home from vacation to a messy house?
Anywhich, I packed the stone to bring with me on our trip too. Talk about putting it to the test! We hung out at the beach and went for long nature walks. We sat by the campfire at night and chased the kids around on their bikes during the day. By all accounts I should smell like a dirty jock strap. But I don't. In fact, I don't smell like anything. No body odor, no flowery deodorant smell, no nothing. It's like smelling my elbow. Just nothingness. I am amazed.
I have either spontaneously morphed into a non-sweat producing hominid, have developed an acute case of anosmia, or, and this would be the option that is most surprising to me - this shit actually works.
For those of you who aren't familiar with these magical stones or why we should consider using them, let me give you the low down on traditional deodorants and antiperspirants. This information is from a recent article on Green is Universal:
Thirty years ago researchers first detected significantly elevated aluminum levels in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, and subsequently proposed a link between the heavy metal and the disease. Though scientists still debate the connection, certainly aluminum is a toxic heavy metal that has no useful biological function, and which we don't want building up in our bodies, ever.
Manufacturers long discounted any such effect from aluminum salts in deodorants, which they claimed would not be absorbed through the skin. This assumption has proven wrong, and over time users of commercial deodorant do accumulate the stuff, sometimes in significant levels. A recent medical report described a woman who ended up with severe aluminum toxicity directly as a result of her deodorant use.
Most commercial deodorants also contain parabens, which act as preservatives and stabilizers, but which like aluminum can be absorbed with systemic effects. Parabens mimic estrogen, and though the amounts we absorb on a daily basis might be small, over time, the accumulation can be significant. A report from England in 2004 documented a relationship between parabens and breast cancer.
The deodorant stones, however, are made from potassium alum, which occurs naturally in such minerals as Alunite (alum stone), Bauxite and Kalinite. The alum that is used in the deodorant stone is in the salt form, not the metallic form, which is used in commercial deodorants. The alum is also too large (molecularly speaking) to be absorbed by the skin. Also, the stones contain no other ingredients, such as parabens, fragrances and what have you.
To use the stone, I simply wet it a bit and rub it on my underarms. It feels like a roll on and dries pretty quickly. The stone itself is oval shaped and fits in the palm of my hand. Supposedly, it will last me about a year, as opposed to my Degree deodorant, which lasts about three months.
Now the stone was NOT totally plastic free. As you can see from the picture, it came wrapped in a little plastic wrapper and included a small plastic tray. However, if you compare that small amount of plastic with four plastic deodorant holders, it's obvious that this change would dramatically reduce the waste associated with destinkifying my pits. I smell a miracle, folks!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Switching to an All-Natural Deodorant Stone