What’s Wrong with Conventional Antiperspirant and Deodorant?

We apply these products every day and leave them on for long periods of time. Also, more of the product’s ingredients can penetrate the skin thanks to little nicks left behind after shaving. Here are the common ingredients that I’m most worried about in conventional deodorants or antiperspirants:

  • Aluminum-based compounds prevent us from sweating by temporarily plugging our sweat glands. They may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, although evidence for both is contradictory.
  • Fragrance is the ingredient I’m most concerned about in deodorants. (This is the case with many other skincare products, too.) Fragrances generally contain hormone-disrupting phthalates, which you won’t see listed on the label. Even “phthalate-free” deodorants often contain synthetic fragrances, which have unknown phthalate replacements in them, some of which may be just as bad. Always opt for unscented products or those made with only 100% natural fragrances (essential oils).
  • Triclosan, the antibacterial agent that forms carcinogenic chloroform when it comes in contact with water that contains trace amounts of chlorine, is found in many deodorants.
  • Many deodorants contain parabens (preservatives that mimic estrogen) and artificial colors, which may be neurotoxins.

Just to give you a sense of how much aluminum is used in typical products – the FDA requires that all anti-perspirants decrease the average person’s sweat by 20 percent – so manufacturers usually use anywhere between a 10-25 percent concentration of aluminum in products. That is just crazy, isn’t it? Especially for an ingredient that is a potent neurotoxin.

So this is the ingredient that caused me to make the switch and should hopefully get you too (if you already haven’t) to run out and buy deodorant without Aluminum. (FYI – Some of the most toxic brands according to the Environmental Working Group include English Leather, Mitchum, Suave, Secret, Gillette, Right Guard, Soft & Dry, Tussy)

Let’s be honest though, knowing which personal care products to choose without toxins is tough and getting access can be even tougher. You can’t exactly just pop into an everyday drug store and always find a safe brand without aluminum and other harmful chemicals. I only wear deodorant 20% of the time, that is when I will be outside for a long period of time or when I will be doing a really hard workout and don’t have time to wash off afterwards. When I do wear deodorant, I wear natural brands my two current favorites are Piper Wai and Schmits, I ordered Piper Wai from Amazon and I picked up Schmits at my local Sprouts. I realize natural deodorant might not be your jam, but give it a try for 30 days or wear it on days when you know you won’t be working out or heavily sweating.

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