There are times in life when we need added protection against body odor. Whether at the gym or in an important meeting, it’s very likely that, without some type of deodorant, we’ll sweat and let out a little odor. Not a pleasant topic, but it can’t be ignored. Choosing the right deodorant is just as important as wearing it regularly. You need to find one that will not only provide lasting protection, but will also be free of toxins.
The Difference Between Antiperspirants and Deodorants
While most people use the terms antiperspirant and deodorant interchangeably, the two are not the same. Antiperspirants work by preventing perspiration from occurring. Deodorants allow perspiration but block odor. Deodorants accomplish this by killing the bacteria that cause odor. From a purely natural standpoint, it makes more sense for us to use deodorants, as it is a more natural process.
Of course none of us wants to emit an unpleasant, offensive odor, and some of us don’t particularly enjoy sweating. The fact is many personal care products that deal with these concerns contain aluminum as an active ingredient. Aluminum is also a known neurotoxin. Aluminum-free deodorants are perhaps the best alternative, and these products are growing considerably in both availability and number.
The Dangers of Using Products Containing Aluminum
Deodorants contain aluminum and synthetic fragrances, undesirable components many people are sensitive to.  If you find that your underarms are irritated, it may be an allergic reaction to the aluminum which is toxic to the body.
Aluminum has been associated with a variety of health issues,    including:
- Breast Cancer
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Bone Disorders
- Kidney Concerns
What to Look for in an Aluminum-Free Deodorant
Aluminum-free deodorants should consist of essential oils and all natural ingredients. Aluminum free alone may not be enough as some aluminum-free deodorants are still high risk, according to the Environmental Working Group, and can contain chemicals like triclosan and propylene glycol. Triclosan is perhaps a more fierce endocrine disruptor than propylene glycol, so try to avoid it. This article contains a recipe for making your own deodorant using natural ingredients like baking soda and coconut oil.
The Take Home
With new evidence and reports of adverse reactions staring us in the face, it is difficult to ignore the potential danger of so many health and beauty items on the market. What it boils down to, however, is that each of us has to take the initiative and actively seek out the products that are healthier for us.
- Matthew J. Zirwas, MD and Jessica Moennich, MD. Antiperspirant and Deodorant Allergy. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2008 Sep; 1(3): 38-43.
- Darbre PD. Aluminum, antiperspirants and breast cancer. J Inorg Biochem. 2005 Sep;99(9);1912-9.
- Tomljenovic L. Aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease: after a century of controversy, is there a plausible link? J Alzheimer’s Dis. 2011;23(4):567-98. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-101494.
- Malluche HH. Aluminum and bone disease in chronic renal failure. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2002;17 Suppl 2:21-4.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.