Perhaps you’ve already heard all the controversy surrounding deodorants and antiperspirants containing aluminum. Everything ranging from cancer to alzheimer’s disease has been pinned on this substance, but what is the truth? Is it merely “coincidence” that women are eight times more likely to develop breast cancer in the region of the breast closest to the armpit? And in that case, which deodorant’s are the best ones to use? There are a plethora of deodorants on the market that *claim* to be “aluminum free”, yet still contain other forms of aluminum that could be just as bad for your health. Moreover, aluminum isn’t the only ingredient to watch out for, there are a bunch of other ingredients lurking inside your deodorants and antiperspirants that could even be worse than the aluminum compounds you’re attempting to avoid. So firstly, here’s a brief overview on why aluminum is considered to be so dangerous and a few of the other nasty chemicals that are used to brew this concoction.
A common ingredient within antiperspirants and deodorants, present in many different forms, namely aluminum chloride, aluminum chloride hexahydrate and aluminum chlorohydrate. These have been shown to absorb through the skin and enter into the blood stream.
Deodorants and antiperspirants containing aluminum have been linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer within numerous scientific studies (see references). One particular study sampled 437 women diagnosed with breast cancer; they discovered that women were far more likely to develop breast cancer at an early age when using deodorants frequently over a long period of time, especially if they applied deodorants after shaving their armpits. Other studies have found significantly higher levels of aluminum present in the tissue of breast cancer patients.
Exposure to excessive quantities of aluminum has been proven to increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, though no long-term studies have been conducted on the effect that the relatively small quantities of aluminum absorbed from deodorants can have on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. While there still could be a link, the science proving this effect is not yet present.
Parabens are artificial preservatives that are used in a wide array of different personal care products including deodorants and antiperspirants. The main forms of parabens that are used in underarm sprays are methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben. Parabens have been scientifically linked to an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, since parabens mimic the effect of the hormone oestrogen (a hormone that in excess has been linked to higher incidence of breast cancer). In other studies, parabens have shown a potential link to lower sperm count and infertility in males.
An ingredient in a great many personal care products including toothpastes, triclosan was originally developed as a pesticide yet found its way into a great many different products. It has been scientifically linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease, heart failure, skeletal muscle contractility, impairment of muscle function and various forms of cancer especially breast cancer.
Found in many different personal care products, especially as a thickening or foaming agent in shampoos; Cocamide DEA is a substance banned in the state of California due to its carcinogenic effect on the body.
Which Aluminum Free Deodorant to Use?
The toxic effects of the chemicals used to formulate most deodorants and antiperspirants are undeniable; they could be responsible for severe health problems in the long term if not replaced with a real natural alternative. It is therefore important that you take the time select the safest possible option.
So many deodorants and antiperspirants that are labelled as natural and “aluminum free” contain a concoction of the other dangerous ingredients I listed above; moreover, the aluminum free label does not mean that deodorant that you buy contains absolutely no aluminum. Aluminum free deodorants are usually composed of a different form of aluminum known as ammonium alum. While there has been no research conducted on the safety of ammonium alum as a replacement for generic aluminum compounds, there is definitely aluminum present in a form that could potentially be worse. Although more research needs to be done in this area, there is a distinct possibility that you would just be replacing one toxic ingredient for another. For that reason I believe the best deodorant to use is one that contains 100% natural ingredients such as truly’s natural deodorant or alternatively to make your own deodorant from all natural ingredients.
Aluminum Free Deodorant Ingredients
Here is a formula for an all natural and aluminum free deodorant that has been demonstrated to prevent the bacteria responsible for the smell of body odour from breeding, rather than just “plugging up” the pores of your skin that secrete sweat. This formulation has been shown to keep your armpits smelling fresh for up to 3 days, and most importantly it is non-toxic!
1) 1 teaspoon of organic cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil.
2) ¼ teaspoon of aluminum free baking soda.
3) One drop of organic tea tree oil.(optional)
4) One drop of organic lavender oil. (optional)
If you wish you can scale it up and make a tub of this deodorant for convenience. It is best to leave it in an airtight container and in a relatively cool environment. While it can be placed in the fridge, the coconut oil will harden and would require you to warm it up in your hands before you can apply it to your skin. The tea tree oil and lavender oil, while not required will give your deodorant a nice smell, though if you like, there’s probably no harm in spraying some perfume or dabbing some aftershave on your clothes as opposed to applying it directly to your skin.
Aluminum in antiperspirants: More than just skin deep- http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2804%2900694-1/abstract
Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease: After a Century of Controversy, Is there a Plausible Link – http://iospress.metapress.com/content/vq1p78553222661m/
An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving – http://journals.lww.com/eurjcancerprev/Abstract/2003/12000/An_earlier_age_of_breast_cancer_diagnosis_related.6.aspx
Aluminium, antiperspirants and breast cancer – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013405001613
Underarm cosmetics are a cause of breast cancer – http://journals.lww.com/eurjcancerprev/Citation/2001/10000/Underarm_cosmetics_are_a_cause_of_breast_cancer.2.aspx
Aluminium in human breast tissue – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013407001304
Underarm antiperspirants/deodorants and breast cancer – http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/bcr2424.pdf
Concentration of aluminium in breast cyst fluids collected from women affected by gross cystic breast disease – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.1384/abstract
Aluminium and human breast diseases – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0162013411002078
Mammographically detected breast cancer: location in women under 50 years old – http://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/radiology.186.3.8381550
Environmental oestrogens, cosmetics and breast cancer – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1521690X05000746
Paraben esters: review of recent studies of endocrine toxicity, absorption, esterase and human exposure, and discussion of potential human health risks – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.1358/abstract
Parabens in male infertility—Is there a mitochondrial connection? – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623808002682
Combinations of parabens at concentrations measured in human breast tissue can increase proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jat.2850/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false
Antiandrogenic properties of parabens and other phenolic containing small molecules in personal care products – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X07001329
Triclosan impairs muscle function – http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/triclosan-a-chemical-used-in-antibacterial-soaps-is-found-to-impair-muscle-function-22127536/?no-ist=
Triclosan Exposure Modulates Estrogen-Dependent Responses – http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/117/1/45.abstract
The bactericidal agent triclosan modulates thyroid hormone-associated gene expression and disrupts postembryonic anuran development – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166445X06003407
EPA.gov Triclosan Facts – http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/triclosan_fs.htm
Triclosan in anti-bacterial soaps http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17683018
Urinary Concentrations of Triclosan in the U.S. Population – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2265044/
Triclosan Comes under Scrutiny – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898873/
Review of the carcinogenic activity of diethanolamine and evidence of choline deficiency as a plausible mode of action – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230005001418
Spermatotoxic effect of diethanolamine: An in vitro study – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2305050013601463