Let me share a quick story about misinformation on deodorant ingredients. Storebought deodorant is bad for you, but for fewer reasons than you may think.
Deodorant Ingredients Uncovered
I did some research on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Website. It’s a free, database about products, their ingredients, and how safe they are. I’d read that a long list of deodorant ingredients are bad for you. So I looked up each deodorant ingredient to avoid. I found a wide gap of misinformation.
I found a wide gap of misinformation. Here are some of the ingredients of concern for deodorant others caution you about.
Parabens mimic estrogen in the body and could contribute to cancer. It’s unlikely to come from your deodorant. Most deodorants sold in the US do not contain parabens. Your skin care products are another story (and most likely do contain parabens). Source: Cancer.gov
Trisocolan has been removed from almost every stick of deodorant. There were still a few out there, but pretty uncommon. I avoid triscolan in my hadsoap. But it doesn’t make the cut into the deodorant ingredients to avoid list.
I was hard pressed to find any deodorant the contained it. Although they do make imitation vanilla extract with propylene glycol. A known neurotoxin but ok to ingest in small quantities? No thanks.
Steareth-n is a compound known to cause cancer if it comes in contact with ethylene dioxide. It’s definitely an ingredient to avoid. The thing is I couldn’t find steareth-n as an ingredient in the deodorant list either. Making it fall short of the deodorant ingredients to avoid list.
Research Your Own Brand
I bet you’re frustrated! There was a lot of hype of deodorants harmful effects on your health and a long list of deodorant ingredients to avoid. Yet I lacked information to back up the ingredients of concern.
Cyclotetrailoxane was an ingredient I found in one type of degree deodorant. It messes with your hormones and is toxic to the body. But I found it in just one of Degrees deodorants, not Degree’s whole deodorant line.
Dove’s Soothing Camomile Deodorant contains Butane & Isobutane. It’s essentially petroleum and no good. Toxic for the body and a known allergen. Again, it’s only found in that specific Dove deodorant, not their whole line.
I recommend you research the specific brand of deodorant you use to see how it stacks up. It’s the quickest and easiest way to get the scoop of what you’re putting on our skin and in your body. Check out the EWG’s Skin Deep Database here. All you need to do is a quick search of your brand and you’ll instantly have the scoop.
Diane over at the Skincare Ox also has some great resources on truly natural deodorants without nasty ingredients.
The Important Deodorant Ingredients to Avoid
I make my own natural deodorant for a different reason (that’s very effective by the way). A big reason. And you should too.
What you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. Yet there is a lot of debate about how much is absorbed. Medicine like the birth control patch and pain patch work because our skin absorbs what we put on it.Just take a moment to think about that.
To keep you healthy – let’s look at the most important ingredient to avoid in deodorant.
Aluminum Compounds is the #1 Ingredient to Avoid in Deodorant
Aluminum compounds are the #1 deodorant ingredient to avoid! How do you know if your deodorant has aluminum compounds? Probably if you buy any store-bought deodorant (not the natural brands), it is almost guaranteed to contain aluminum compounds.
Clinical studies showing a disproportionately high incidence of breast cancer in the upper outer quadrant of the breast together with reports of genomic instability in outer quadrants of the breast provide supporting evidence for a role for locally applied cosmetic chemicals in the development of breast cancer. Aluminium is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer if such effects occurred in breast cells. Source US National Library of Medicine National Insitute of Health
What does that mean for your health?
It means that aluminum can cause DNA changes that may lead to cancer. It shows a much higher risk of developing breast cancer with long-term use of aluminum on the skin.
The breast cancer is starting in the outermost part of the breast – pretty much your armpit. Right, where you apply deodorant.
Women aren’t the only ones having a problem. The issue is happening in men too. Most breast cancer starts in the tissue directly by your armpit. You can read more about the alarming connection here.
If you research the topic, you’ll find conflicting information on the subject. I did too.
No studies to date have confirmed any substantial adverse effects of aluminum that could contribute to increased breast cancer risks. Source: Cancer.gov
There is considerable research to be done. Regardless, the information above was enough for me to kick my regular deodorant to the curb. With an alarmingly high rate of breast cancer, it’s not worth the risk to me. The clinical studies listed above as enough for me.
Why Do They Use Aluminum?
Aluminum is the ingredient that makes your deodorant an antiperspirant. It prevents sweat in the armpits.
Antiperspirants clog the pores so you don’t sweat. Sounds like a great idea, but not so much. Our bodies were designed to sweat.
Clogging the bodies natural detoxification process is bad news.
It would be awesome if you could buy just a deodorant without antiperspirant. I hope you have better luck than I did. When searching for a regular deodorant, I came up empty. They are all deodorant and antiperspirant now. Aluminum is found in almost every store-bought deodorant.
Skip the antiperspirant and opt for natural deodorant instead. Most natural deodorants are just deodorant, not antiperspirant. That takes a little adjustment for some people.
There is often a transition period from regular deodorant to a natural deodorant. Personally, I did not experience this. Other people report a problem with still experiencing body odor. All the bad stuff you kept inside your body by clogging though. It needs to come out. Sometimes it makes a stink – get it??? Haha.
Bonus Ingredient to Avoid – Fragrance
Fragrance is commonly found in skin care products. It’s what makes your favorite products smell the way the do.
Fragrance is bad news. It is considered toxic to humans. It causes allergies, dermatitis, and may affect the reproductive system.
As a society, we are addicted to our scents. From air fresheners to fabric softener to perfume. They smell so good.
Fragrance is a dirty little secret for manufacturers. Manufacturers can put anything into “fragrance” and get away with it. It could contain formaldehyde (and some do).
My asthma became uncontrollable.while using scented fabric softener. The correlation was astounding. I had an asthma attack every time I did laundry. But not on other days of the week. After switching to natural, unscented products I am free of my asthma and inhaler.
You can read more about fragrance from the Environmental Working Group. Fragrance is a big ingredient of concern in skincare products.
Find a Deodorant without Aluminum
- Use a Natural Handmade Deodorant – Here’s a simple DIY deodorant recipe to try
- Not into DIY? Grab an all-natural homemade deodorant in my Etsy shop. It’s super effective to keep you smelling fresh!
- Use an EWG approved natural deodorant from the store. Note: I found subpar results with the brands I tried. I’d check out reviews before buying.
Please share this information with others you care about to protect their health!