Is Aluminum in Deodorant Bad for You? Exploring Health Concerns
Deodorant is used by many to ensure that they always smell good and remain confident about themselves.
While it has helped a lot in increasing personal hygiene, its many ingredients, particularly aluminum, have become a cause for concern.
You might wonder, "What are these health concerns related to aluminum, and is there research and evidence to prove if they are true or false?"
Here is everything you need to know about aluminum, if it is in deodorant, and if it is bad for you.
Does Deodorant Have Aluminum?
While it is a common misconception that aluminum in this product can elevate breast cancer risk, aluminum is actually not found in deodorant.
Where does this myth come from, then?
Aluminum is usually found in most antiperspirants, with the primary purpose being to block sweat from forming.
If you opt for a two-in-one product, meaning a deodorant and antiperspirant combination, it may include aluminum.
However, pure deodorant will not have aluminum in its formulation.
Deodorants vs. Antiperspirants
While it is typically defined as any hygiene product you swipe onto your underarms, deodorants work differently from antiperspirants.
Deodorant is formulated ONLY to mask odor. It does not block sweating, nor is it regulated as a drug.
They do this by using antibacterial compounds or fragrances to reduce body odor.
On the other hand, antiperspirants aim to limit or prevent sweating and perspiration. They use aluminum salts, which help clog pores and limit sweating while reducing body odor.
However, these aluminum compounds are regulated as over-the-counter drugs to ensure safety. For more intense perspiration and health conditions, people can get prescriptions for antiperspirants with 10 to 30 percent aluminum chlorohydrate.
Overall, deodorants and antiperspirants have different purposes that should be considered, especially if you are worried about ingredients like aluminum.
What are the Common Ingredients in "Clean" and "Natural" Deodorants?
More people are switching to a natural deodorant at the moment, given how harsh antiperspirants can be.
Many natural deodorants use ingredients to provide a healthier alternative that is just as effective at eliminating body odor.
Ingredients such as tapioca starch, baking soda, and arrowroot powder help absorb sweat. While they do not block sweating, they can help lessen wetness for some people by absorbing moisture.
Other clean and natural ingredients include coconut oil, sage, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and yeast ferments, which are great for masking odor without relying on aluminum.
Additionally, some products add shea butter, cocoa butter, and similar ingredients to help moisturize and nourish your skin with essential oils, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Why Do Antiperspirants Have Aluminum?
Despite being a metal, aluminum is used in antiperspirants to help fulfill its main purpose of preventing you from sweating.
Antiperspirants containing aluminum salts plug up the sweat glands in your skin. As soon as aluminum is exposed to sweat, it creates a gel-like substance that acts as an antimicrobial agent.
However, it does not entirely stop sweating. Instead, it is formulated to block sweat from your sweat ducts to reduce wetness on your underarms.
This may be vital for some health issues. Most antiperspirant use is highly accessible, especially since the aluminum salts in these cosmetic products are FDA-approved.
However, some patients would need antiperspirant products prescribed by a doctor.
You can identify aluminum in deodorants if they have one of the following listed in the product’s ingredients list.
- Aluminum salt
- Aluminum chlorohydrate
- Aluminum compounds
- Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly
Despite being a necessary product for some people, aluminum in antiperspirants has been linked to unsavory health effects.
While some may be myths, you would most likely encounter them being linked to kidney disease, breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and more.
Aluminum and the Cancerous Toxins
Aluminum has been associated with cancer-causing toxins for many years, especially concerning its use in antiperspirants.
However, there may be more to understand, especially since aluminum exposure through these products is heavily controlled.
Aluminum-based compounds are the primary active ingredients in many antiperspirants, working to block sweat ducts temporarily and reduce perspiration.
Some claims have surfaced suggesting that, in doing so, these compounds prevent the body from "purging toxins," which can then lead to breast cancer development.
Aluminum in antiperspirants has been linked to one or the other health condition listed below, whether true or not.
- Breast Cancer: Some believe that aluminum compounds contribute to the development of breast cancers within the breast tissue and lymph nodes, which swell at the upper outer quadrant of the breast to signal the development of breast cancer. What backed this up is its proximity to where deodorant or antiperspirant products are applied and how they are absorbed. However, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have confirmed that there is no evidence linking aluminum work in antiperspirants and getting a breast cancer diagnosis.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Early research has suggested a possible connection between this and antiperspirants with aluminum. However, recent studies show a lack of evidence, meaning it does not pose a significant risk.
- Kidney Disease: This stems from too much aluminum exposure, which can be harmful to people with weakened kidney function, which prevents them from effectively expelling aluminum from the body. Some believe the body has trouble absorbing aluminum in antiperspirants and secreting it through urine. However, the high risk, even for those with compromised kidneys, is not related to antiperspirant use.
Despite the studies, some may still opt for aluminum-free deodorant, especially if aluminum causes skin irritation.
Why is Aluminum in Deodorant and Antiperspirants Bad?
As stated, deodorant has often been associated with its effect on breast tissue and other body parts. However, that risk is frequently connected to certain ingredients, specifically aluminum.
The main concern is how the skin's surface may absorb these metals.
However, there is no strong evidence suggesting that aluminum in a deodorant or anti-perspirant is bad. The best it does is block up your sweat gland and prevent the build-up of bacteria that causes odor.
The only people discouraged from using deodorant with aluminum are those with severe kidney disease or those discouraged by their board-certified dermatologist.
Patients can consult their doctor on alternatives or switch to an aluminum-free one.
What are the Reasons for Choosing Natural Deodorants?
It has become common for many people to switch to natural deodorant. There are various reasons for this.
Some of the most common reasons for switching to aluminum-free deodorant are the following.
- Aluminum-free options are better for sensitive skin because they lessen irritation.
- Some fragrances can irritate armpits.
- The chemical reaction between aluminum and sweat can cause stains on clothing.
When switching to natural deodorant, it is essential to research and make informed decisions based on your personal preferences.
If you have family members who want to start using these products sooner, choosing an aluminum-free deodorant can be a good start.
A great example is the Fresh Monster deodorant, which is naturally formulated to be safe for kids and teens.
Aluminum-Free Deodorants and Antiperspirants
While it is easy to find an aluminum-free deodorant, it’s impossible for an antiperspirant. You would need aluminum to prevent you from sweating.
However, you can try alternatives. While they may not stop you from perspiring, they can help limit it.
Check out perfume-free or hypoallergenic deodorants or DIY options you can make at home.
Key Takeaways on Aluminum in Deodorants and Antiperspirants
Note the differences between antiperspirants and deodorants. One stops you from sweating, while the other does not include aluminum and only masks bad smells.
There are many things to consider when looking for deodorants for kids or adults, and one is how much aluminum can be absorbed by your body.
Generally speaking, though, aluminum antiperspirants are quite safe for most users.