In the world of natural and organic skin care, there are compromises that need to be made, unfortunately.  I am finding this more and more true as I learn more from fellow mixtresses.  One herbalist, Helena, gave a wonderful example of the dilemmas we face when deciding to go all-natural or all-organic, using the example of deodorants.  As most know, the chemical Aluminum Alum is responsible for suppressing the sweat glands in our bodies, and if/when we decide to use an all natural deodorant, the deodorant will not have this chemical.  Instead there will be other natural “approximators” or alternatives for this ingredient, such as baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot powder.  These ingredients, while somewhat effective, don’t prevent sweating in the same way the chemical-laden deodorants will.  They simply absorb some of the moisture, but not all of it, and can help keep you smelling fresher (in the case of baking soda).

Here is an example of a kind of compromise:

I currently use Aubrey Organics E Plus High-C Deodorant.  I use it because it is the best natural deodorant for me:

1) It eliminates 90%+ of underarm odor.

2) The calamine powder helps keeps me somewhat dry.

3) It smells good and is made with all natural essential oils.

However, the compromises that I am making are the following:

1) It doesn’t eliminate all odor, so I am faced with some minimal odor (does not work 100%, my pits don’t smell like roses, for instance). :O)

2) An ingredient used in this deodorant is a “Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base”.  All of the other ingredients are fine except for this mysterious coconut fatty acid blend, something that Terressentials has also questioned and discussed on their site.

3) Since the deodorant is liquid it doesn’t seem to last me as long as a solid, however, I am willing to settle for this considering that other natural deodorants with baking soda, cornstarch and other absorptive ingredients irritate my skin very badly after 1-2 days.

Likewise in other areas of our lives, we have to assess what we are willing to compromise to achieve the best state of health, safety and overall well-being.  I was inspired to do this posting from Karley’s post at kzmface.blogspot.com.  Here is one of my responses to her posting on “All-Natural Preservatives” (read her Feb. 4 blog posting for more context) and you can expect more postings from me on the area of “Compromises” in regards to bath and beauty product use.  I believe that compromises shouldn’t have to be made, but everything is not 100% perfect so we must do the best with what we have.

My comment:

“True, there are other things to be concerned about besides bacteria, and I also wonder if the cosmetic industry can be more precise about preservation needs and techniques. For instance, what difference is there if one uses floral or herb-infused water instead of distilled (or worse) tap water? What about using ingredients that are not pure water but have a natural high water content, such as aloe? What ratio of water to oils is ideal for minimal preservation needs? In what instances does herbalism knowledge trump scientific knowledge and vice versa? And, at what percentage does water become an *increasing* liability for bacteria, fungus, yeast and mold (i.e., 20% total water content vs. 70%, etc.)?

The Environmental Working Group has reported that 89% of ingredients used in personal care products have not been tested for safety by the FDA or other accountable institutions. This begs the question about the safety of many ingredients more generally, and not just preservatives. Again, the cumulative effect here is what we really need to be concerned about. Pinpointing singular ingredients helps, but is only part of the answer. I’m glad that your “What’s In It Wednesdays?” posts usually examine *all* of the ingredients in products, as does the website Skin Deep.

There are so many data gaps that need to be filled, and you’ve inspired me to do my own posting on a related topic. Thank you again for informing your blog readers about this very important issue.”

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