There are apparently 906 different varieties of deodorants available in India, and between 2009 and 2014 the market for deodorants went from Rs. 500 crores to Rs. 2300 crores! We’re not surprised. Bad BO is # 1 on the kill list of even the least body conscious men and women – and this was an market just waiting to explode. Interestingly, consuming 70% of all deodorants sold in India, men are the big buyers.
So India is on its way to every person smelling good – no matter what they eat, how much heat they bear, and how profusely they perspire. That’s good news.
What’s the problem? There are actually two. The first is that deodorants, like most cosmetics contain several chemical and toxins. The key ingredient of any deodorant is an anti-bacterial compound – and the most commonly used is Triclosan – the prolonged use of which can create a similar situation as the overuse of antibiotics (drug resistant bacteria). They also include Parabens which act as preservatives and increase shelf life, but create other issues. Antiperspirant deodorants in particular contain chemicals which alter the natural perspiration process, and for this reason in the US are antiperspirants are categorized as drugs instead of cosmetics. Finally, there’s the fragrance which too is chemically created. That’s a lot of chemicals to go into your body. Yes, these products are tested and in most cases don’t do any immediate harm but the long term effects of exposure to toxins are well known.
What’s bad for you is definitely bad for the environment. In the ’90s there was a lot of awareness generated around the harmful effects of CFCs which were found in Aerosol sprays on the Ozone layer. Technical innovation since then has improved this, but not replaced them entirely. So Aerosol spray cans are still bad for the environment.
But that’s not all. At an average of Rs. 150 per bottle of deodorant, Indians buy more than 15 crore bottles of deodorant every year. And unfortunately, these bottles cannot be used for anything else (unless they are recycled commercially). You can still re-use the jar of favorite body butter or bottle of shampoo in some way – but a bottle of deodorant goes straight into the solid waste we put out from our homes, and into a landfill. The top cause of pollution in any city is the improper disposal of solid waste.
So what’s the answer? Buy natural deodorants. Just like natural soaps and shampoos, there are options available. They’re also very easy to make at home. The key ingredient in most is baking soda – a natural anti-bacterial which is extremely effective in managing odor.
In fact, you can also use baking soda by itself! Just dust a little bit onto your underarms and you’ll be odor free! We had a few people try it, and they can vouch for its effectiveness (36 hours of no odor). You may perspire, but no odor. Just be careful, some people can have an allergic reaction to baking soda, and if you’re one of them, look for the other options. There are lots of recipes available.
Please go odor free, naturally!