Deodorants and antiperspirants have long been thought to have negative effects on the body. The theories range from cancer-causing aluminum, fragrances filled with neurotoxins and pesticides. But what is really inside of your deodorant and antiperspirants and what effects do they actually have on your body?


1.) They contain aluminum

This may come as a surprise to most people, but if you have ever actually read the label on your deodorants and antiperspirants, you may not be as surprised. According to Web-MD, antiperspirants contain an aluminum-based agent that can subsequently block the armpit ducts in order to prevent perspiration. In most typical formulas, antiperspirants are combined with deodorant because they have the pleasant scents that help stop us from smelling. They are also mixed with a large number of inactive ingredients as well.

2.) The ill effects of aluminum and health concerns

Studies have suggested that the aluminum contained in deodorants and antiperspirants may be linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer and Neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s. There is no scientific evidence to support these findings.

 3.) Types of Aluminum Deodorants and antiperspirants can contain

The amount of chemicals used in deodorants and antiperspirants is vast, including several different forms of aluminum, such as:

  • Aluminum Chlorohydrate
  • Aluminum-Zirconium compound
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex-gly
  • Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex-gly

According to Wikipedia, there have been many possible ill effects of aluminum brought to light. Such as Aluminum toxicity, breast cancer, Renal dysfunction and skin irritation. Despite concerns involving aluminum base deodorant’s and antiperspirants, the FDA doesn’t feel that there is any scientific evidence concluding that the body absorbs enough aluminum for deodorants and antiperspirants to pose a real health risk.

4.) The fragrances contain neurotoxins

A very disturbing and relatively unknown fact about the fragrances used in our personal care products is that the FDA does not require fragrance companies to disclose the ingredients of their synthetic fragrances. That of which, can contain more unknown chemicals that you are likely to imagine.

According to care2, A healthy living website, studies have shown that a great deal of the ingredients in everyday fragrances are, in fact, neurotoxins and may have an ill effect on the nervous system and brain.

5.) Hormone distributors known as Phthalates

According to the FDA, Phthalates are a combination of chemicals used in the production of products, ranging from personal care items such as deodorants to flooring and toy manufacturing. They suggest that there have been no linked ill effects on the human body by using personal care products containing these chemicals. But do you really want to apply chemicals to your body every day that are also used in the production of flooring?

6.) Propylene Glycol

Of the many chemicals that are found in everyday deodorants and antiperspirants, Propylene Glycol, may be among the scariest to consumers. It is a clear and odorless liquid with a slightly sweet taste. Sounds familiar? That’s because Propylene Glycol is closely related to Ethylene Glycol, better known as anti-freeze, according to Wikipedia. According to research it does not appear to be harmful, but many still consider it a toxin. The FDA classifies Propylene Glycol as generally safe, despite beliefs that it could be harmful. The truth of the matter is we don’t currently have any proof that it is toxic to our bodies, but why use something that isn’t guaranteed safe rather than just generally safe?

7.) Pesticides

Many consumers are concerned that deodorants and antiperspirants contain pesticides, this is indeed true, Triclosan is classified as a pesticide by the FDA. It is also used in many personal care products as an anti-bacterial agent. The FDA feels that is not hazardous to humans, but does recognize that many studies regarding the use of Triclosan have taken place since the last time it was evaluated by the FDA for safety.

8.) Different types of Parabens

Parabens are another term for preservatives used in many cosmetic items, including deodorant and antiperspirants. They have been named in many scientific studies as possible contributors to both breast cancer and the mimicking of estrogen within the body. When looking for Parabens on the ingredient list, there are several different types:

  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Benzyl paraben

9.) Parabens acting as estrogen

Parabens used as preservative agents in deodorants and antiperspirants have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen within the body. According to the FDA, they are aware that parabens can mimic similar activity to estrogen, but studies suggest that parabens have a much smaller estrogenic activity than that of estrogen produced by the body.

10.) Possibly related to causing breast cancer

It is a possibility that Deodorants and antiperspirants may increase the risk of breast cancer. Both from the absorption of aluminum and parabens. The majority of breast cancer develops in the top area of the breast closest to that of which we apply deodorants and antiperspirants. The same such studies also suggest that when applied, the aluminum absorbs into the skin, most frequently when small nicks occur during the shaving process. These studies suggest that the chemicals absorbed into the body may then interact with DNA, causing cancerous changes in cells. The absorption of these chemicals may also lead to interference with the body’s estrogen, another suggested relation to breast cancer. Studies have also shown that traces of parabens have been found in breast tumors, but there is still no proof that parabens cause breast cancer.

11.) FDA monitoring

Yet another reason to stop using commercialized deodorants and antiperspirants, is that cosmetic products are not subject to FDA approval before going on the market. The assumption that if it’s in stores, it must be FDA approved and safe for our bodies is a myth. The FDA may only pull these items from the market with hard scientific evidence suggesting that they are harmful. Deodorant is considered in the list of unmonitored cosmetics while antiperspirants are considered an over the counter drug and are subject to approval by the FDA before going on the market.

12.) More Chemicals

Furthermore, on the ongoing list of chemicals, we are exposing our bodies by using deodorant is formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is used to help protect the deodorant and antiperspirants from contamination over time due to ongoing use. Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas also often used in the production of fertilizer and plywood. The FDA suggests that formaldehyde is safe as long as it isn’t in excessive quantities. But once again why would you want to put something on your body religiously, every single day that may or may not be safe?

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