I was a bit concerned once I learned that most commercial antiperspirants on the market effectively clog your pores to prevent perspiration. We need to sweat to flush out toxins and cool our bodies! Then couple that with the fact that most of these products contain aluminum! Yikes. And it is super confusing. You see, there isn’t exactly aluminum in regular deodorant. But there is aluminum in antiperspirants. AND, most deodorants on the market today contain antiperspirants, so they don’t just help your armpits smell good, but they also stop sweat making your armpits wet and soaked with bacteria.
I have the APOE4/4 gene SNP, which predisposes me to Alzheimer’s — as does aluminum accumulation in the brain. So I am very cautious of anything that would put aluminum onto or into my body! As really everyone should be.
But not everyone knows this, mamas. If you read the label carefully, you can see if your deodorant contains an antiperspirant, which contains aluminum. Let’s take a moment to look at why aluminum in deodorant is bad.
Is Aluminum Deodorant Safe?
Technically, yes. At least, that is what the big corporations will tell you.
Two massive health red flags come up for me regarding why aluminum in deodorant is bad. The first flag raises concerns that aluminum in deodorant can cause breast cancer. Due to the proximity of underarms to breast tissue, it should be no surprise that you don’t want aluminum particles resting on the skin. Compound that with aluminum’s sweat gland and pore-blocking capabilities, and you have toxins trapped in your armpits as your body tries to sweat them out.
Studies are still being done on the correlation between aluminum in deodorant and breast cancer, but I’d prefer not to take any chances as a woman.
The second health red flag comes from very early studies that suggest a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies were done back in the 60s and 70s and again in the 90s. The jury is still out on the exact correlation, but again, I’d prefer not to take any chances.
Aluminum has also been linked to bone disorders and kidney problems. No, thank you.
But That’s Not All
Let’s say you’ve found a deodorant that doesn’t contain aluminum in the antiperspirant. Cause for celebration, right? Uh, maybe not. Because you also have to check the ingredients list for things like parabens, which are used as a preservative to give cosmetics a longer shelf life. Parabens are toxic petrochemical derivatives if swallowed, inhaled, or come in prolonged contact with the skin.
Then there’s talc, an anti-caking agent classified as a carcinogen because it contains asbestiform fibers. Oh, and how can I forget propylene glycol? That stuff makes deodorant glide like my kids on a Slip N’ Slide, but it is not as fun as the waterslide. In fact, it is a neurotoxin and may cause kidney or liver damage.
Triclosan is in a lot of antibacterial products. It has been shown to possibly alter the way your hormones work in your body. And we all know how crucial hormonal regulation is. Keep an eye out for artificial fragrances, too, as while they are not inherently dangerous, they could cause mild irritation. If your armpits are irritated, you may be prone to scratching them, causing more irritation and possibly lesions where bacteria can enter and start an infection.
Let’s not forget all the things we crunchy mamas do to prevent harmful chemicals, UV light, and free radicals from taking over our lives. Add no aluminum in deodorant to that list of proactive measures.
Identifying Aluminum in Deodorant
It can be tricky to find products with no aluminum in deodorant. The first step is to determine if the deodorant contains an antiperspirant. That’s your first clue. Next, head on over to the ingredient section. If you see anything like aluminum chloralhydrate, aluminum salts, and aluminum compounds, stay away. Fortunately, the FDA mandates manufacturers to list aluminum as an ingredient.
When I learned just how toxic that deodorant was and that blocking my sweat glands was a bad thing, I had to figure something out. What’s a girl to do? When I was a nurse, somedays at work, I could put in up to 12 hours per shift, so I needed deodorant. I couldn’t be radiating my body odor at work.
I’ll be honest. I tried the “natural” deodorants from the health food store, and they didn’t work for me. I decided to try making my own. I’m super happy with how my non-toxic citrus homemade deodorant works for me. It’s easy to make, very inexpensive to make, and works great! But you do have to apply it using your fingers, and it does get pretty rock hard (thanks to the coconut oil) in the colder winter months.
Natural deodorants can be very hit or miss. They either smell great but don’t do anything for sweat or wear off within an hour or two. You may need to do a little product searching to find the deodorant that is right for you and your body type. Remember, no two bodies are alike. Some of us sweat buckets, and some barely sweat at all.
If you decide you don’t want to make your own, look for natural deodorants that contain natural oils like coconut or olive oil, Vitamin E, natural butters like cocoa butter, and natural extracts and essential oils. I love using Beautycounter’s The Clean Deo. For the ease of using it like a regular deodorant, and for the ease of travel I use Beautycounter’s deo more often that I use my homemade stuff. Plus the really cool thing about the packaging is that you guy the deodorant once, and then you just buy a refill pack moving forward! (see image below) If you want to give it a try, shoot me an email and I will get you a coupon code for a discount: firstname.lastname@example.org.