COLORADO SPRINGS — It's a product most people use every day without thinking twice, but over the years, claims have been made about a possible link in its ingredients to breast cancer. We're talking about deodorant, and two local women are bringing the conversation about its health effects to the table.
Brooke Pezdirtz created Natural Tones Co. in 2019 as a natural alternative to commonly used deodorant. She was on a mission to cut down the harsh chemicals, like aluminum and parabens, found in the product. The deodorant is homemade, and the two said sales are picking up as they've expanded to selling the product nationwide. They said their goal is to spread awareness about lowering the risk of cancer through an everyday product.
"Especially when you have breast cancer, you become super heightened to what you're putting on your body. And so we just want to show these women that they can have a natural product that's healthy and nourishing," said Amber Marek, business partner to Pezdirtz.
The National Cancer Institute says some research suggests antiperspirants with aluminum can be absorbed into the skin and have hormonal effects, causing more estrogen to be produced. It's confirmed that estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells. Most deodorants have aluminum as their number one active ingredient. Although there's no direct link between aluminum-containing deodorant to breast cancer, the hormonal effects stand true.
At the end of the day, the team of women says their goal is to provide a healthy alternative to all women while eliminating any risks.
"Your skin is the largest organ on your body. It absorbs everything you put onto it. We were just passionate about something clean, something nourishing something that is not going to cause our bodies harm," said Marek.
Natural Tones Co. deodorant is made from arrowroot powder, baking soda, cocoa butter, coconut oil, diatomaceous earth, volcanic ash, coco powder, vitamin E oil, and essential oils. The product also has one aspect that sets it apart from any other: there are different shades. The creation of the deodorant originally came from a conversation about inclusivity. Pezdirtz said her former college roommate and volleyball teammate had often brought up concerns about the white stains shown on her dark skin from common deodorant. Pezdirtz said that led her to the thought of creating a deodorant for people of color to use without worrying about residue showing up on their skin.
"At that point, I was like, 'I'm going to make black deodorant. This is crazy that you have to even worry about this,'" Pezdirtz said. "There's nothing out there that is designed in different tones to specially blend in and be matching to your skin tone."
Now, with business partner Amber Marek, the two women also see the need for more natural products, especially for women's health. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the pair is spreading awareness about lowering the risk of cancer through everyday products. They plan to donate the deodorant to women in the area recovering from breast cancer or currently being treated for it.
The American Cancer Society recommends women between the ages of 40 to 44 begin screening for breast cancer through mammograms at their discretion. Those who are 45 to 54 should receive a mammogram every year and women 55 and older should get a mammogram every two years. It's encouraged to self-examine for breast cancer at least once a month.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.