Regular deodorant contains an alarming array of toxins. A veritable witches brew.
You may not be all that worried. After all, the toxins are going on your skin. Not in your mouth.
But here’s a not so fun fact. About 60 percent of everything you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream.
Aluminum is one ingredient found in nearly every commercial deodorant brand. (Except for the more natural formulations.)
Deodorant may also contain parabens, phthalates and triclosan. (More on these nasty compounds later.)
Why Regular Deodorant Is Bad for You
People typically use deodorant every day. Without realizing they’re exposing themselves to potentially dangerous chemicals. Especially aluminum.
Aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. The potential connection between aluminum and breast cancer isn’t proven. At least not yet. But there’s enough evidence to make a convincing case that aluminum is something you don’t want to put anywhere near your breasts.
The evidence against aluminum is building. We need to take it seriously.
Aluminum in Deodorant Health Risks
One 2005 study published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry noted that a preponderance of breast cancer is located in the upper, outer part of the breast. This is the area directly exposed to deodorant.
The authors noted that aluminum damages the DNA. DNA disruption is a hallmark of cancer.
However, they also pointed out these findings didn’t prove an association between deodorants and breast cancer.
A more recent study should make us sit up and pay attention. A 2017 study in EBio Medicine found that “underarm cosmetic products” were associated with an increase in breast cancer. Also, concentrations of aluminum were higher in the breast tissue of cancer patients, compared with the control group.
Does Deodorant Contain Toxins?
Triclosan may also be carcinogenic. This compound is a wide-spectrum antibacterial agent. It’s added to cosmetics and personal care products to fight bacteria.
One study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health noted that, “Recent evidence suggests that triclosan may play a role in cancer development, perhaps through its estrogenicity or ability to inhibit fatty acid synthesis.”
However, the authors made it clear that this theory isn’t conclusive. But, apparently, there’s enough concern. Consequently, the FDA has banned it in certain products, such as liquid hand soaps. But you will still find triclosan in deodorant.
So buyer beware. Each of has to decide if the risk is worth the benefit. For me it’s not. Because safer alternatives exist.
Is Deodorant Bad for You?
Parabens are another problem. These controversial compounds are added to a wide range of products. Deodorants included. If a product doesn’t say “paraben free,” I assume it’s made with parabens.
Because they mimic estrogen, parabens are considered hormone disruptors. Whether they can fuel a hormone-driven cancer is a matter of debate.
But, to be safe, avoid parabens. The mainstream medical site WebMD says that even small amounts of parabens increase the growth of breast cancer cells. (In the lab.)
Parabens may not have the same effect in the human body. But I’m trying hard to avoid them.
After reading the WebMD article, I’m redoubling my efforts to avoid parabens. It’s impossible to totally avoid them. (Most people have detectable levels in their urine.) But I can try and limit exposure.
Parabens are widespread throughout the environment. People with the highest levels of parabens were found to use the most personal care products.
So get rid of your paraben-laden deodorants. Because much safer choices exist.
Other problematic chemicals found in deodorants include pthalates (they’re hormone disruptors), artificial fragrances, propylene glycol and petroleum byproducts. But if you’re buying a natural deodorant they won’t be added.
Deodorants That Aren’t Bad for You
The good news is that a growing selection of natural deodorants have hit the market. You can find them at your local health food store or at Whole Foods.
I don’t live near Whole Foods and my local health food store is really expensive. So I order my natural deodorant online. It works even on hot days. If you’re interested, the kind I use is Alvera Unscented natural deodorant. You can see it below.
Can You Make Your Own Deodorant?
Yes, it’s really easy to make your own deodorant. I used this almost entirely one summer and it worked great. All of the ingredients I already had on hand. So you can see how to make my DIY deodorant below.
2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (You can find it here)
2 Tablespoons of shea butter (You can find it here)
1 teaspoon of arrowroot powder (You can find them here)
1 teaspoon of beeswax pellets (It’s available here)
1 teaspoon of Bentonite clay (You can find it here)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
4 drops of lavender essential oil (You can find it here)
2 drops of tea tree essential oil (You can get it here)
DIY Non Toxic Deodorant Recipe
Melt the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax pellets in a sturdy sauce pan. Use low heat and watch closely to make sure this mixture doesn’t smoke. When the beeswax is fully melted, stir in the arrowroot powder, baking soda and clay.
When it’s almost cool, add the essential oils. Mix everything thoroughly. Transfer to a clean glass jar with a lid. Put it in the refrigerator until it solidifies.
Use as needed. I haven’t had a problem with my DIY staining my clothes. Even when I used it just before getting dressed. But you may want to let it dry a minute or two before putting on a shirt.
The essential oils make your DIY deodorant smell good. They also contain natural germ-fighting compounds.
For More Reading
Aluminum, Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Paper
Underarm Products and Risk of Breast Cancer Study